Metal artwork is not as difficult to hang as you may think. The trick is to first weigh the piece to get an idea of the type of hanger you need; hangers are gauged based on how much weight they can support.
The second step is to locate a stud in the wall behind the drywall to attach it to or to use the correct anchor or toggle bolts to secure it through the drywall when you cannot find a stud.
Metal artwork hung on brick, masonry or plaster requires a slightly different approach.
Hang It on Drywall
Select a wall that allows you to make the artwork a focal point if the art is large enough. Gather the supplies needed for hanging on drywall.
Things You'll Need:
Wood screw 1 to 1 3/4 inches long
Toggle or anchor bolts
Weigh the Artwork
Weigh the artwork to choose the hanger strong enough to hold your piece. For instance, if your artwork weighs 30 pounds, opt for a hanger that holds at least 120 pounds.
Run the stud finder horizontally across the wall – they only work for drywall, not plaster. The finder locates studs by the nails in it, making a beep or noise when it finds one.
Make a mark on the wall where you find each stud.
Mark the Wall
Hold the piece up to the wall and make a mark along the stud where you want to hang it. Examine the back of the metal artwork as some have places for hanging the item on the wall.
Secure to the Wall
Secure the hanger directly to a stud through the drywall using a wood screw. The screw must be long enough to penetrate the depth of the drywall and embed into the stud from 1/2 to 1 inch.
Drywall generally runs 1/2- to 5/8-inch thick, so you’ll need a long enough screw to pierce the drywall and go into the stud. A screwdriver or a drill with a screwdriver bit secures the screw to the stud.
Brick or Masonry Hangers
The steps for hanging metal artwork on brick or masonry walls are the same as for drywall, without the need to locate studs. The difference is you need special brick or masonry hangers based on the weight you need to support.
For hanging metal artwork on masonry walls, you’ll need a drill and masonry drill bits, screwdrivers or a hammer.
- Wear safety goggles and a dust mask if you have to drill into the wall.
Using Masonry Hangers
After locating where you want to hang the artwork and marking the wall accordingly, secure the hanger to the wall based on the type you purchased.
- You can use a hammer-in anchor, lead screw anchors or sleeve anchors.
- Some bricks or cement blocks are hollow, requiring a pilot hole and a toggle bolt-type anchor that opens up inside the brick, similar to those for drywall, but marked for masonry applications.
Hang It on Plaster
Plaster walls are found in older homes that use a lath and plaster construction for the wall laid over studs. Stud finders won’t work on plaster because of all the metal in the wall already – the wire that supports that plaster over the lathing.
Locating a Stud in Plaster
- Measure from one corner of the room 16 inches across the wall.
- Plunge the end of a stiff cut-off coat hanger into the wall to locate a stud.
- If the coat hanger hits lathe, it bounces back; if it hits a stud, it won’t.
You may need to repeat these steps in a trial-and-error method until you find a stud to attach the art hanger to, unless you drill through lathing and secure the hanger with a toggle bolt – all weighted for the piece of artwork.
For safety, assume a hanger can only support at least 25 percent of the suggested weight. Use more hangers as needed to fully support the artwork. For example, use four hangers rated at 100 pounds to hang a 100-pound item.
- Don't hammer through lathing, as this can send vibrations and cracks across the wall.
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.