How to Hang Things on Glass Block Walls

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Glass block walls make a distinctive decorating feature.
Glass block walls make a distinctive decorating feature. (Image: woman and glass blocks image by cullenphotos from Fotolia.com)

The warm glow of glass block walls adds light, depth and richness to any decor, but it can present decorating challenges. You can hang decorative items, artwork or shelves on glass block if you are careful and use common sense. Before doing so, be sure the items you are hanging will not detract from the bold statement the glass block makes. Remember, any drilling cannot be undone or repaired, and if done incorrectly can even crack or shatter the blocks. However, with a thoughtful approach and a little caution you can achieve professional decorating results.

Things You'll Need

  • Level
  • Steel tape measure
  • Felt-tip marker
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Clean cloth pad (no lint)
  • Command picture hangers or hooks
  • Electric drill
  • Diamond drill bits and hole saws
  • Lubricant (such as sewing machine oil)
  • Clean rags
  • Molly or toggle bolts
  • Rubber washers
  • Screwdriver or pliers

Hanging Objects Weighing Less than 10 lbs.

Command brand hooks and picture hangers are self-adhesive and can be used without marring the glass block. First, clean surface where you are going to mount the hanger or hook with isopropyl rubbing alcohol and let dry.

Using a level and tape measure, determine the proper point to hang the hook or hangers and mark the glass with a small dot using the felt-tip pen.

Remove the red liner and position it squarely on the back of the picture frame or hook, adhesive side down. Press firmly into place.

Remove the black wall side liner and position the picture frame or hook on the wall. Press firmly into place, maintaining pressure for 30 seconds to allow maximum adhesion.

Allow to set up, undisturbed, for a minimum of one hour for adhesive to successfully bond with the surface.

Hanging Heavier Objects

Measure and mark the location where you want to install the molly bolt or toggle bolt.

Drill the appropriate size hole for the bolt you are installing, using a diamond drill bit. Do not use carbide bits. If the hole is 1/4 inch or larger in diameter, use a diamond hole saw so the glass will not crack. Keep the glass lubricated so the drill tip will run cool and create a clean hole. Use less pressure than you think you need and let the drill work at its own pace. Use plenty of lubrication/coolant to keep your drill tip cool and the hole clean.Start diamond hole saws at 600-900 RPM and diamond drill bits at 2500-5000 RPM for best results.

Wipe away excess lubricating oil with clean rag. Install bolt according to directions. Place a rubber washer between the surface of the glass block and the bolt itself. Tighten the bolt with the pliers or screwdriver, using extreme care not to overtighten and crack the glass.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to use a level when marking two or more hanging points so the objects will line up visually and hang level.
  • Follow the manufacturer's suggestions regarding maximum weight. If you are hanging a 20 lb. mirror, for example, you cannot use two packages of hangers even though each can support 10 lbs. The maximum weight is still 10 lbs.
  • If you decide to drill into a glass block to install anchors for hanging heavier objects, keep in mind that this will create dust inside the block, which will be virtually impossible to clean out. This will be hidden by the object but will be unsightly if you remove the item later.
  • Use common sense. You can hang mirrors, large paintings and some shelving on glass block walls but don't try attaching your vintage Mustang convertible or refrigerator. If you are in doubt about how much weight the wall can support, contact a contractor specializing in glass block construction and repair and follow his advice.

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