How to Hang (Almost) Anything

Other than adding a fresh coat of paint, hanging pictures and decorations can be the easiest way to make your house feel like home. But knowing how to hang those items can be a different story. From plaster to drywall, there are different tools, methods, and best practices depending on the type of walls you’re working with.

 

 


Don’t worry! We’ve curated a list of the most common wall types and the materials and tips you’ll need to get started. Here’s to happy hanging!

Drywall
Materials for Light Items:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Level

Additional Materials for Heavy Items:

  • Stud finder
  • Drill bit
  • Drill
  • Wall anchor
  • Screwdriver
  • Screw

Best Practices: 
Before you start hammering or drilling, be sure to measure where you want the object to hang, and mark the area with a pencil. Once you’ve marked your spot, hammer the nail at a 45° angle, hang the item, and check that it is level. For heavier items, you’ll need to use a stud finder so you can hammer directly into a stud and an anchor for added support. Once you’ve marked your spot, using the drill bit, drill a guide hole in the wall slightly smaller than the anchor. Hammer in the wall anchor, and then use the screwdriver to insert the screw—then you’re all set to hang.

Tile
Materials:

  • Measuring tape
  • Painter’s tape
  • Pencil
  • Coolant such as mineral oil or water
  • Drill
  • Carbide- or diamond-tipped drill bit
  • Hammer wall anchor
  • Screw

Best Practices:
As with all wall types, measure where you want the object to hang, and then use a pencil to mark it on painter’s tape. The tape will help protect the tile later in the process. Next, dip the drill bit in the coolant for ten seconds, and then slowly begin drilling. Apply light pressure, and then gradually increase the drill speed until you have reached the desired depth. If the drill bit begins to overheat at any point, simply take it out and dip it in the coolant again. Finally, using a hammer, drive the wall anchor into the wall, then drill in the screw and you’re ready to hang.

Plaster
Materials for Light Items:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drill bit
  • Drill
    Hammer
  • Nail

Additional Materials for Heavy Items:

  • Wall anchor
  • Screw
  • Screwdriver

Best Practices:
Measure where you want the object to hang, and then mark with a pencil. With plaster walls, you’ll want to put a piece of tape under your hole on the wall, like a basket, to catch any discarded plaster. Use another piece of tape to mark the spot where you want to drill. Drill a pilot hole through the tape (to help prevent your plaster from cracking), and hammer in your nail. For heavier items, drill a larger hole for the wall anchor, and then drive in the screw. Finally, hang your item and check that it’s level.

Stone or Brick

Materials:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drill with masonry bit
  • Wall anchor
  • Screw
  • Hammer
  • Screw
  • Level

Best Practices: 
Before you get started, measure where you want the object to hang, and mark the spot with a pencil. Next, use painter’s tape to mark an inch from the tip of the drill bit so you don’t drill too far. Drill the spot you marked, making sure to stop once you reach the tape on the drill bit. Using a hammer, insert the wall anchor into the hole, and then drive in the screw. Hang the object and then make sure it is level.

Wood
Materials:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Drill or hammer
  • Wall anchor
  • Screw or nail

Best Practices:
Before you start hammering away, measure where you want the object to hang, and then mark it with pencil. Using your drill, start a small pilot hole first to help minimize splitting. A nail will suffice for wooden walls, but a screw provides great holding power. Use your selected material, hammer or drill, and then hang your object—checking to ensure it’s level. For thinner wooden walls, such as paneling, follow this same process, but use a wall anchor that will spread out behind the wall.