Homemade Picture Hanging System

By Chris Nickson ; Updated September 15, 2017
A picture rail offers different options for displaying artwork.

A picture hanging system is essentially a railing used to hang pictures that runs along a wall, or walls, of a room. Picture hangers are hooked over the rail and the pictures themselves hang from wires. Such a system allows you to rearrange pictures easily. Picture hanging systems are common in offices, but you can make one at home.

Dado Rail

A dado rail, often found in older homes, is the most traditional form of a picture hanging system. To make your own, first buy moulding strips and install them along the full length of a wall or walls. Attach the dado rail to the wall about 12 inches down from the ceiling and secure it with wall anchors or screws. Paint it the same color as the wall or stain it. This type of rail looks best when displaying pictures wih wood frames, and in rooms with more traditional d├ęcor.

Metal Rail

A metal rail has a more contemporary look than a dado rail. Buy a chrome picture rail with pre-drilled holes for screws at a hardware store. Attach the metal rail to the wall with screws or wall anchors, about 12 inches from the ceiling. Use a chrome rail to display pictures and photographs with metal frames.

Picture Hangers

To hang your pictures from a dado rail or metal rail use picture hangers, such as "S" hangers, that will hook over the rail, Select hangers that are strong enough to hold your pictures' weights and that complement the rail.

Hanging Pictures

Hang each picture by tying stainless steel picture wire to a hook on a picture hanger. Loop one end of the wire over the hook on the hanger and twist it tightly around itself several times. Make the wire as long or as short as you wish. Wrap the other end of the picture wire around the wire on the back of the picture and twist the wire around itself several times to tighten. Straighten the picture. Repeat the steps for all your pictures.

About the Author

Chris Nickson has been a writer since 1994. He is the author of more than 30 books, including biographies and novels, and has written extensively on topics from music to DIY.