How to Hang a Painting Over a Fireplace Mantel

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When decorating, the wall above the fireplace should never be ignored. Because most fireplaces create an automatic focal point for a room, it can be to a homeowner’s advantage to hang artwork above the fireplace mantle where it is sure to be noticed by guests. Not only will the artwork be noticeable, but the proper painting can tie together the décor of an entire room. A painting that is hung improperly, however, will draw attention for the wrong reasons and may even be in danger of falling.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Picture hangers
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Picture wire
  • Wall hook

Step 1

Position the piece of art where you want it on the wall. Measure the amount of space left between the artwork and the mantle.

Step 2

Measure the length of the fireplace mantle using a tape measure and then measure the length of the painting. Divide the length of the fireplace mantle by two. This will give you the central point of the mantle.

Divide the length of the painting by two. Add the number of inches of wall space you measured that will separate the art from the fireplace mantle. This is the “spacer number.”

Step 3

Find the central point between the two numbers. Starting from the central point of the mantle, move a pencil up the number of inches that equals half the length of the painting plus the spacer number. For example, if your painting is 18 inches high, half of 18 inches is 9 inches. If your spacer number is six, this would leave you with a sum of 15 inches--which is how high the central point of the painting should be on the wall.

Step 4

Mark the central point for the painting on the wall with the pencil. Also mark where the bottom corners of the painting should rest.

Step 5

Install picture hangers on the back of your painting frame if it did not come pre-set. This can be done by using screws and a screwdriver to attach hangers into the sides of the frame 1/3 of the way down from the top. Loop picture wire through the hangers.

Step 6

Attach a wall hook to the wall behind the painting. A standard wall hook should be nailed into the wall several inches above the central point of the painting. How high the wall hook needs to be is determined by the size of the artwork. For the previous example, an 18 inch high painting would require a wall hook to be installed roughly 4 inches above the marked central point on the wall.

Step 7

Hang the painting over the mantle by looping the picture wire on the back of the painting over the wall hook. The bottom corners of the painting should line up with the marks on the wall. If they do not, adjusting the length of the picture wire should remedy the problem.

Step 8

Examine the painting at a distance. It should hang perfectly above the center of the fireplace mantle with several inches of free space. The painting should also sit flush with the wall. If the painting is crooked, you should be able to adjust the frame on the wall to straighten it without removing the art from the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • When hanging a picture, make all marks on the wall tiny and with a pencil. Never mark a wall with a substance that cannot easily be removed.
  • For a very heavy piece of art, two hooks will be necessary rather than one. This will prevent the weight of the painting from pulling the hook out of the wall and damaging it.

References

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