How to Hang a Picture Frame without a Stud

man hanging artwork on a wallpapered wall
What You'll Need
Drill bit
Wall fasteners
Measuring tape
Carpenter's level
Stud finder

Hanging a picture frame on a wall by driving a nail into a wall stud is one option to hang a picture, but it can bring problems. Why? For one thing, once the nail is in the stud, in removing the nail you risk making dents or holes in your drywall. Instead, another option is to hang your picture without the nail in the stud. But not everyone knows how to do this. For information about using this method and the materials and tools you'll need, refer to the steps below.

Step 1 - Choose Your Location

Before making holes in your wall, even if they are small, you should know exactly where you want your picture to hang. As for height, the center of your picture should be at eye level. If you are planning to include your picture in a group of pictures, plan the design of the group and where in the group you'll want your new picture placed. Designers usually recommend that the group form a triangle, but you could go with a square, rectangle, or circle. Once you've decided on your tentative position, have someone hold the picture there for you, while you view it with the other pictures.

Step 2 - Consider the Weight of Your Picture

artwork hanging above a bed

If your picture—or mirror—is heavy, you won't want to hang it on a single, small nail or fastener that's driven into your drywall. Chances are, the weight of your picture will pull your fastener out of the wall. If this happens, you'll not only find yourself with a hole in the wall, but a broken picture frame or broken glass. Even with two nails placed side-by-side, it won't work. If you insert your fastener into the wall at a downward angle, it will hold better. Better yet, use a picture hook that will be attached to the wall with a nail inserted at a downward angle. So, find a place where you'll be able to insert your fastener or picture hook at a downward angle.

Step 3 - Consider the Picture Support

double mirrors above double bathroom sinks

If your picture or mirror will be hanging from a picture wire, find the center of the wire, hold it against the wall where you wish to place your picture hook, and place a light pencil mark there. Since your picture will sag on the wire, you'll need to make allowance for this sag when you mark your fastener spot. If you picture hanger is the type that's fastened to the picture frame and has teeth on it to keep it from sliding on the picture hook, you won't need to adjust for sag.

Step 4 - Hang Your Picture

To hang your picture straight on your picture hanger or fastener, attach your fastener into the wall, place a step ladder near the fastener . Get into position on the ladder, close enough to the wall that you can see down onto the fastener, have someone hand you the picture, then as you're looking downward behind the picture and can see the picture hanger wire, hook the picture wire on the fastener.