How to Secure Unframed Canvas to a Wall to Prevent Theft

By Jessica Geesley

Things Needed

  • Eye hooks
  • Awl
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Bent wire snap hook
  • 2-inch wall screws and washers, or 2-inch bolt and nut
  • Hand drill
  • Number 6 braided picture wire

Any building that displays paintings and is open to the public or that has many people passing through every day risks artwork being stolen. Many public buildings, such as museums, use special canvas and picture hangers to prevent easy theft. Security hangers are typically made of some sort of hook that the hanging wire is attached to. Hanging wire can be installed on any unframed stretched canvas and then hung on the hook. Any person who attempts to steal the canvas quickly will be prevented by the hook and will need to get behind the piece to unhook the wire, giving the owner or guard time to catch the thief.

Turn the canvas upside down on a flat, clean surface, such as a table covered with craft paper. Measure one-third of the way down on each side of the canvas and make a pencil mark, making sure the marks are level with each other.

Install eye hooks directly into the canvas’s stretcher bars; the size depends on the canvas size, but the length of the eye hook should be slightly less than the thickness of the stretcher; otherwise it will puncture the canvas. Place the awl on the pencil marks from Step 1 and tap with a hammer to start a hole, then twist in the eye hooks.

Tie wire between the two eye hooks.

Attach 1 or 2 small bent wire snap hooks, depending on the size of the canvas, to the wall. Place a washer on the screw to secure the snap hook and drill the screw into the wall, or drill a bolt into the wall and use the nut to hold the snap hook in place. Make sure the round part of the snap hook is small enough to sit securely on the screw or bolt.

Hang the canvas wire on the snap hooks.

Tip

Making a suspension hook is another simple anti-theft system. Get a piece of aluminum 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide and 1/8-inch thick and drill two holes at the top two inches of the piece for screws. Use pliers to turn the remaining two inches of the aluminum strip up and over into a circle or O shape that is nearly closed to prevent a thief from easily lifting the piece off the hook. Use two screws to secure the hook to the wall and hang the wire onto the hook.