Many artists opt not to frame their paintings; instead, they wrap the painting completely around the edges of the canvas. If you buy a painting with no frame, you may wonder how you're going to hang it on the wall. Some watercolor or printed art mounts under glass without a frame, with a hard wood or fiberboard backing and little clips that keep the glass against the art and backing. Regardless of the type of frameless art you have, you can still hang the art on the wall safely.
Materials and Supplies
The weight of the art you plan to hang determines the hangers used and the method of hanging it. A simple saw-toothed clip nailed to the back of the wood frame over which the canvas is stretched allows you to hang small paintings on a special hanger; one small nail is rated for weight up to 25 pounds. A two-nail hanger can hold up to 50 pounds. But, for heavy items, you will need a stud finder, metal tape measure, hangers, screws, molly or toggle bolts, a ruler, pencil, level, hammer and screwdriver for hanging art. Use two hangers on the wall to better level the art when hanging it on wire or D-rings.
For glass-covered art, you will need metal or plastic clips that fit over the edge of the glass with D-rings that allow you to string a wire between them; base the gauge of the wire on the overall weight of the piece. For art canvases without frames, screw in two eye hooks at equal locations marked on the back of the wood frame beneath the canvas on the top third of the painting. String a wire between them, wrapping the wire over itself to prevent it from unraveling after passing it through each hook three times. You can also nail or screw D-ring hangers on the back of the artwork on either side to hang the painting on wall hangers.
The best position for hanging art is at about eye level -- or an average of 60 inches above the floor, unless you are arranging a gallery of paintings on the wall. Space grouped paintings at least 2 inches apart, treating two or three paintings in a series as one large painting instead of three, placing them 60 inches above the floor. Have a helper hold up your art against the wall, so you can step back and view it to choose a pleasing arrangement. Once you’ve decided the position, lightly mark the location of the top of the artwork on the wall with a pencil.
Measure the mount location on the back of the artwork from the top back of the artwork and transfer that measurement to the wall based on your pencil mark. For molly bolts, punch a hole in the wall the size of the molly, and tap it into the wall with a hammer. Set the fastener on the screw and use the screwdriver to adhere it to the molly inside the wall.
Once you’ve chosen the mounts that go on the back of the artwork, install the proper hangers on the wall. For large weighted paintings, locate a stud in the wall with a stud finder to secure the hanger directly into the stud with screws or nails. If that position doesn’t work, add a molly or toggle bolt to the wall. Molly bolts work better than toggle bolts because you can remove the screw as many times as needed without having to reinstall. Toggle bolts work best for one-time applications. Hang the art and step back to check for level. Re-level it as needed.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.