In Part Two of my series on how to hang fine art photography prints from Dean McLeod Photography, this tutorial focuses specifically on Charity Edition Framed Lumachrome® TruLife® acrylic prints. The hanging system is different than a frameless print, so we'll tackle this one separately here.
This tutorial may also be helpful for anyone wishing to hang art work on drywall utilizing the D-ring and hook mounting system.
A framed Lumachrome® print can be quite large and heavy depending on the size you ordered, so if you are not completely comfortable using a tape measure, level, stud-finder, hammer, drill, installing drywall anchors or if your wall is tiled or made of stone or concrete, this job may be best handed over to a professional.
But if you are a handy do-it-yourselfer, this job should be well within your capabilities. Once you arrive at the final stages of installation, it is highly recommended to have a helper assist in lifting the print onto the wall. But up to that point, most of the job can be done with one person.
Tools You Will Need
Installing your framed print will require the following:
- Tape measure
- Pencil, note pad
- Masking / painter's tape
- Level (four-footer if possible. The plastic ones at Home Depot are priced reasonably. This job can be done without a level, but you must measure very accurately)
- Stud finder
- Small hammer
- Small ladder (optional if needed)
- Drill (optional if needed)
How High Do I Hang My Print?
Once you have safely removed your framed print from the custom crate, you will become accustomed to its size and can begin to visualize its positioning on your wall. There are a number of variables depending on whether you have a blank wall or intend to hang the print over furniture or a mantle.
If you are hanging your print on a blank wall, a good rule of thumb is to place it so the very center of the picture is at eye height while you are standing. For an average height person, this is usually between 62 to 66 inches. If you are hanging your print over furniture or a mantle, the bottom edge of the frame should be approximately six to twelve inches above the furniture. Remember that these are general guidelines and may not always apply in every case. At the end of the day, it is your wall so hang it in a position that is pleasing to you.
The following is a series of photographs that explain in detail how to hang your framed Lumachrome® print. Your measurements will be different than mine of course, but the general steps will always apply.
Your print will be covered with a sheet of special plastic which helps to prevent scratching during shipping. You may want to leave it on for now to prevent damage while you are working. It can be removed later just before you are ready to lift it onto the wall.
In my case I am hanging my print above a chair rail. Because there is already another art piece on the wall beside it, which is eight inches above the rail, I will also hang the new print at the same height because they are similar in size.
In the left photo above I measure eight inches above the rail, mark the wall with a pencil and place a piece of painter's tape above and aligned with my mark. This marks the bottom edge of the frame. I prefer painter's tape over regular masking tape because the adhesive is very light and it will peel off easily later. I like to use it because it is highly visible and makes the installation easier to visualize as you proceed with each step. Plus, you can draw arrows and numbers on the tape to denote which edge represents your measurements.
Of course it is possible to do your installation without any tape, but the pencil marks can be hard to distinguish later on. If you use a lot of pencil marks, they are easily removed later with a wet eraser sponge.
In the right photo above, I measure the width of the entire space from the left corner all the way to the art piece on the right. It measures 80 inches, so I know that the left / right center of the space is at 40 inches. I place some tape at the 40 inch mark.
You can turn the print around to familiarize yourself with the backside. It will be covered with fabric along with the D-ring hanging system. You will be attaching hooks to the wall, and the D-rings will hang on the hooks.
Above, I measure the exact distance between the centers of the tips of the D-rings. It may be helpful to draw a rough sketch on a piece of paper and record your own measurements as you go. In this case it was 34 inches.
In the photo above, the blue tape in the center is my 40 inch mark. Remember to make a mark with a pencil directly on the tape so that you remember which edge of the tape you are referencing. In this case it was the left edge of the tape.
Because my D-rings are 34 inches apart, I take 34 divided by two which is 17 inches. I carefully measure exactly 17 inches to the left of my center tape and make a pencil mark. Then I align a new piece of tape exactly on that point and mark it with my pencil. I used the right edge of the tape this time.
Finally, I measure exactly 17 inches to the right of my center mark, apply a third piece of tape and mark it's left edge. To be sure your measurements are accurate, measure the distance between the marked edges of the left and right pieces of tape. It should be exactly 34 inches.
I decided earlier that I wanted the bottom edge of the print to hang eight inches above the chair rail. Now that we have the left/right referencing of the hook positions taped on the wall, the next step is in measuring to figure out how high to place the hooks.
Above, I measure from the floor (or bottom edge of frame) to the top of a D-ring. It measures 36 inches. Write down your own measurement.
Because the D-ring is 36 inches above the bottom edge of the picture frame, and we want the bottom edge of the frame eight inches above the chair rail, we have to add the two measurements together (36 plus 8 equals 44 inches.) In the left photo above, I measure up 44 inches from the chair rail and make a horizontal pencil mark. Then do the same on the right side.
Finally, in the right photo above, I rest my level on the rail and align it with the marked edge of my blue tape. Holding the level gently on the tape, shimmy the bottom of your level left or right until the bubble in your level reads exactly on center. Now you know that you are holding the level perfectly vertical. Make a vertical pencil line right through the horizontal line at the 44 inch mark to create an ' + ' mark. Repeat this step on the right side tape.
At this point it is important to re-measure between your new left and right ' + ' marks to be sure that they are still 34 inches apart. Then hold your level horizontally across your ' + ' marks and check your bubble to be sure that the marks are level with each other. This is critical or your print will not hang straight.
This next step is optional but a good idea to check. Try using a stud-finder and scan the areas around your ' + ' marks to see if there is a wall stud beneath the drywall. If you get really lucky and find a stud behind one or both of your hook locations, you can attach the hook with a screw into the stud instead of using drywall nails. Because the D-rings on the back of your print are quite narrow, it is unlikely that you will find a wall stud exactly where you marked, but it's worth checking anyway. Sometimes we get lucky!
Here are the wall hooks that I normally use. They are available at box stores like Home Depot and also come in 2-packs. Because framed prints can be quite heavy, I always err on the side of caution and use a hook with a weight rating higher than I'll need so the print will hang securely. These are rated to hold 50 pounds each, so two of them should hold 100 pounds. They also make a heavier hook that is rated for 75 pounds each.
See the triangular hole in the hook? If you get lucky enough to find a wall stud directly beneath your marked hook position, use a strong screw through this hole at least two inches long and drill it into your stud instead of using the drywall nails.
Note that these hooks are not shipped with your print. I will ship them to you along with your Certificate of Authenticity.
Out of the box, the tips of these hooks sticks out a little further than necessary. The way they are designed, your print will not hang as flush with your wall, so I always grab a pair of pliers and crimp the tip of the hook inwards as shown in the photo above. I will do this for you before they are shipped, but in case you decide to use different hooks of your own, this is something to be aware of.
If you look closely you can see my ' + ' pencil marks under the bottom edge of the hook. I like to align the vertical indentation in the hook directly over the vertical pencil mark, and align the bottom edge with my horizontal pencil mark.
Hold the hook firmly with your finger so it doesn't shift then tap the nails in with a small hammer. It is easier if you remove one nail first then do them one at a time. Remember that if you were lucky enough to find a wall stud directly behind your hook position, I would recommend drilling a screw (at least 2 inches long) through the triangular hole in the hook instead of using the nails. It will be much stronger that way.
If the head of your screw is smaller than the triangular hole, you will need to place a washer over the screw before drilling it in so there is no chance of the hook falling off of the screw. Obviously it is critical that the hooks must be very secure.
Here is a final diagram with the measurements I used on this particular installation. Note that I searched for wall studs and the red lines show where I found them. Obviously, they are not anywhere near my intended hook locations, so I went ahead and used the drywall nails to secure the hooks to the wall.
After removing the plastic protective sheeting from the print and your painter's tape from the wall, you will need a helper to lift the print up onto the hooks. I do not recommend attempting this alone, as it can be very awkward especially with a big, heavy print. With one person on each side, you can easily lift the print, swivel the D-rings down slightly with your finger and lower them down gently over the hooks.
A Final Note
Of course, the installation in this tutorial was for a specific space and yours will most likely be very different. Even so, the fundamentals remain the same. If you are hanging your print on an otherwise blank wall, remember that the very center of the picture should be roughly 62 to 66 inches above the floor.
Also know that my method of measuring shown in this tutorial can be achieved in a variety of ways. For example, for the top-left hook position, you could measure up 44 inches from the rail then 23 inches from the left corner to arrive at the same position. And it doesn't matter if you measure the D-ring positioning on your print from the bottom of the frame (like I did here) or from the top of the frame. Do whatever you feel is easiest.
My most important piece of advice is to take your time, measure accurately and check to be sure that your hooks are level with one another and spaced apart at the same distance as the D-rings on your print.
Remember that if you are having any issues at all with your installation, feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions. Best of luck!