Hanging Heavy Objects on Walls

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You find a beautiful antique mirror in a yard sale, but it is made of solid oak. Your best friend gives you a handmade metal sculpture. You decide to paint a sofa-sized mural from a photo you took of your boyfriend. You live in a postwar frame house with drywall walls, and you're pretty sure they're thin. Can you hang this stuff? Of course you can.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • 1 by 4 stock
  • Rip saw
  • Wallboard nails and screws
  • Wall anchors, molly bolts and toggles
  • Locate the studs in your walls using a stud finder. If you do not want to purchase one, you can make a simple stud finder using a strong magnet on a string.

  • Weigh the item you want to hang. If you don't have a scale, place a long board on a pivot point to make a seesaw style scale. On one end, place your object, and on the other side, place something with a known weight. Keep adding known weights until the board is nearly level. That will give you the object's approximate weight.

  • Use the wall fastener that will bear the weight of your object without ruining the walls. Cleats will bear the heaviest weight, followed by toggle bolts, molly bolts, plastic wall anchors, double-screw picture hangers, double-nail hangers, single-screw hangers and single-nail hangers. To make a cleat, use a rip saw to cut 1 by 4 stock lengthwise at a 45 degree angle. Cut the two resulting cleats to the correct length for the object you plan to hang. Nail one cleat to the back of the object you intend to hang, angle edge down. Screw the other cleat to the wall after finding the studs, angle edge up, using molly bolts or toggles. When you slide the cleat from the object over the cleat from the wall, you have a strong support.

  • Create an additional support--such as a ledge, shelf, hook or wall mount--if your object is too heavy for any of the fasteners listed.

  • Hang your object. Have a partner support the object while you test the fastener's ability to hold. Use the next strongest method if your original method is likely to fail.

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