How To Hang Art from Picture-Rail Molding

Picture frame molding provides a versatile way to hang artwork that you intend to change out often.
Picture frame molding provides a versatile way to hang artwork that you intend to change out often. (Image: picture frame corner image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

Picture rail molding is an attractive and relatively inexpensive way to feature various types of hanging art pieces. An advantage of hanging art from picture rail molding is that you can easily switch pieces out to fit a particular season, dinner-party theme or mood. Furthermore, there will be no leftover nail holes, anchors or paint damage to deal with after switching out art pieces. With a little foresight, this gallery trick can be brought into your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine gauge chain
  • Ribbon
  • S hooks
  • Pliers
  • Picture frame hanging kit
  • Picture rail hooks
  • Measuring tape
  • Metal ring

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Purchase or select the rail hooks. Rail hooks can be found at a variety of online retailers and possibly at local antique shops. You may choose to purchase matching rail hooks or mix and match colors and textures for a unique style. Slip rail hooks onto your picture rail molding where you’d like your artwork to hang.

Select the art piece you’d like to hang. Lay the framed art on a flat surface on its face. Most commercially and professionally framed art will come with brackets attached for hanging. However, if your artwork does not have hanging brackets or you wish to move the brackets, use a picture frame hanging kit to do so. If you wish to hang your art in an inverted V formation from the rail hook, you need a bracket on either side. If you simply want it to hang straight, you will just need one bracket centered on the back of the frame.

Hold the artwork against the wall approximately where you’d like it to hang. Measure the distance from the top of the art frame to the rail hook. With the artwork lying face down on a flat surface again, measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hanging bracket. If you want to hang your art by a single chain that’s centered down the middle, this is how long to make your chain or ribbon. If you’d like to hang in an inverted V formation, double this distance and add a few inches extra to account for side placement of the brackets.

Cut your ribbon to the desired length for hanging or use a pliers to separate the chain links to the desired length. If using ribbon, you should be able to thread either side through the existing brackets and tie into a secure knot for an inverted V formation. If using ribbon for a straight hang, secure one side to the bracket and the other side to a metal ring to loop over the rail hook. If using chain, slip an S hook through both sides of the chain and attach to the brackets for a V formation. If using a straight formation, attach one side of the chain to the bracket with the S hook and the other side to a metal ring with another S hook.

Hang your art on the rail hook. Loop the middle of the ribbon or chain over the rail hook for an inverted V formation or hook the metal ring over the rail hook for a straight hanging formation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase rail hooks that are specifically designed to hold the weight of framed art.
  • Test the strength of the ribbon or chain to hold the weight of the artwork close to the ground before hanging on the wall.
  • A heavy necklace chain also works well for hanging art on picture rail molding.
  • For a more polished look, cover visible metal rings and S hooks with adornments or decoration when using a straight hanging approach.

References

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