5 Ways To Keep Pictures From Falling Off The Wall

Hanging pictures is about the simplest DIY out there, the one any homeowner can manage. Or can they? If you can't keep your pictures from falling off the wall, have no fear. There are a few common mistakes that many people make when hanging pictures. Once we clue you in to the right way to hang your pictures, you'll be ready to tackle this project yourself with ease, according to professional handymen.
If your pictures keep falling off the wall, you can try the following:
  • Don't use nails - use the correct anchors or screws.
  • Use the right hanger - whether your frame is small and light or heavy and bulky, use the best hanger for the job.
  • Be sure to have the right length of wire - too much leaves room for unhelpful movement.
  • Try adding a second hook instead of just one.
  • Add wall bumpers to the back of the frame.

Keep reading to learn more about each of these tips - particularly how to find the right hanger and what hangers are most effective. Don't want to put a hole in your wall? We'll also cover Command Strips - do they work, and how much weight can they hold? Finally, we'll end with the superstitions associated with a falling picture, just in case you need one more reason to make sure your photos stay up where they belong!

Photo frames hanging on wall in room. 5 Ways To Keep Pictures From Falling Off The Wall

5 Ways To Keep Pictures From Falling Off The Wall

1. Use the Correct Anchors Or Screws

Nails just aren't meant to hold a lot of weight. If you're inserting directly into the stud instead of just drywall, you can avoid using a special anchor if the picture isn't too heavy. But you're still further ahead using a screw rather than a nail. Screws have the necessary grip to stay in place and keep your picture off the ground.

Do Picture Hangers Need A Stud?

You have two options for hanging your picture securely. The first is to use a stud. If you put the picture hanger directly into the stud, it should stay in place. However, if you don't have a stud, be sure that the picture hanger is rated to support the weight required. For example, a toggle picture hanger can hold as much as 30 pounds in drywall.

How Much Weight Can You Hang On Drywall Without Anchors?

Safely, you really shouldn't count on your drywall to support much of anything without being properly anchored. Technically, drywall can support about 10 pounds. However, drywall is brittle and tends to flake. It may hold that picture, for now - but sooner or later, whatever you're hanging it on is going to pull out of the drywall. Keep your pictures intact by hanging them correctly from the start, with a stud or anchor.

2. Use The Right Hanger

There's a variety of hardware available to hang a picture. Commonly, this is already a part of the frame when you buy it. But if you have to pick your own hardware, be sure to choose the right one for the job. Not every hanger is created equal.

For example, a sawtooth hook works for light frames but will fail to hold up anything too hefty. Eye hooks are equally prone to high rates of failure. On the other hand, D-rings can support a lot of weight - but be sure you get the right size, as they come in a wide range for a variety of frames. You can read more about some different kinds of hangers here.

A kit with assorted hangers and sizes like this one ensures that you'll always be able to find the perfect fit.

Click here to see this picture hanging kit on Amazon.

3. Use The Right Length Of Wire

If a wire supports your picture, use the right length. Excess material or "slack" leaves extra room for movement. Movement leads to - you guessed it - moving right off the wall. Remove any unnecessary wire to keep the frame snug and tight against the wall.

4. Use Two Hooks Instead Of One

Like the previous point, using two hooks reduces the movement and sway of the picture. The better the fit and the snugger it stays to the wall, the less chance of unwanted motion causing a fall. Plus, if one hanger should fail, the second hook may be enough to keep it off the ground.

5. Add Wall Bumpers

Wall bumpers are small pieces of rubber that go on the back of the frame. They serve a couple of functions. First, they protect the wall from scuffing or scratch marks. Secondly, they keep the frames from sliding around on the wall. This is yet another way that movement can be reduced, which is one of the most common reasons that frames fall off the wall in the first place. This ensures that the frame stays steady won't slip and slide back and forth until it falls altogether.

Click here to see these bumpers on Amazon.

Do Command Strips Work For Heavy Pictures?

If you're a renter or living in a dorm, then Command Strips are practically heaven-sent. You don't have to give up decorating and hanging pictures and can still avoid any damage to the walls. But just how much weight can a Command Strip hold?

The heaviest Command Strips can support up to 8 pounds. Or, you can use as many as four pairs of strips for a maximum weight of 16 pounds. For comparison, 8 pounds is roughly as heavy as a gallon of milk. But it's essential to use them correctly to get the maximum effectiveness. Some key points to keep in mind include:

  • They are designed for use on a flat, smooth surface - not textures like brick or fabric.
  • Don't use the regular Strips in wet or humid areas such as the bathroom - water-resistant versions are available for those conditions.
  • Clean the surface well first, with rubbing alcohol.
  • Recently painted? Wait seven days before trying to hang a Command Strip.
  • Press strip firmly for at least 30 seconds, which allows the adhesive a chance to really grip.

Click here to see these Command Strips on Amazon.

What Does It Mean When A Picture Falls Off The Wall?

If you're the superstitious type, it might mean more than just a cracked frame if a picture falls off the wall. Legend says that some sort of misfortune will come to at least one of the people in the picture. If it's a couple, then a split is thought to be impending. It can even be interpreted to foreshadow death. 

Most versions of this tale specify that bad luck only exists if the picture fell unprompted - a fall caused by a slamming door, for example, doesn't count. Other variations include whether or not the glass in the frame breaks. According to some accounts, it's only a prediction of death when the glass breaks. If the glass is intact, it means an end, but not a fatal one.

In Closing

If you can't seem to keep your pictures hanging on your wall, there are easy solutions. Consider, first, whether you are using the right anchor or hanger for the job. Nails tend to be unreliable, while screws support weight better. Hangers such as sawtooth or eye hooks are common but prone to high rates of failure. Trading for a D-ring hook is generally more successful. 

Be sure that you install directly into a stud or use the correct anchor. You can also prevent falls by limiting movement in a frame, slipping, and sliding on the wall. For example, leave less slack in a wire hanger, or use wall bumpers on the back of the frame for added friction and stability. Similarly, using two hooks instead of one cuts back on the unrestricted movement of the frame. These tips can help you keep your pictures on the wall- and level - where they belong.

Enjoyed this article? Check out these next:

Should Picture Frames All Be The Same Color?

11 Framed Wall Art Ideas For The Living Room

How To Hang A Frameless Mirror [2 Different Techniques] 

One comment

  1. Hi, I had a question.

    I have a huge, framed picture on my wall (it’s a few feet by a few feet, I think I was told it was 13 pounds, although it seems really heavy. The frame is a little more than an inch thick). It’s being held by what you suggested in this article. My aunt made a miscalculation with the first stud she tried (the picture hung too low.) The first stud is still behind the picture while the correctly placed stud has the picture hanging with wire.

    The stud holds 55 pounds, but I’m paranoid it might fall on my cat, who keeps pawing at the picture. I was told that the stud is fine and the picture will stay (the stud looks sturdy and doesn’t move) but it looks like the picture is protruding away from the wall. Should I do anything?

    Thanks, advice would help!

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