Pictures and artwork on the walls are ways to help make a house a home. They offer interesting visuals that add to the beauty of and project your personality to a home. It doesn’t matter if you are living in an apartment or a large single-family house, pictures and artwork gives a home a personal touch.
Everyone has memories of moving into a new apartment for the first time and hanging pictures and artwork on the walls. You probably didn’t give it much thought and took a hammer and nails, knocked the nails into the wall, and hung the picture or artwork over the nail. It seemed like an easy thing to do. However, the simple process of just hammering a nail into a wall damages the wall. Moreover, if the frame containing the picture or artwork is very heavy, then the shear weight can present problems. If you hang several pictures from the same wall, then the combined weight of all those frames can multiply the problem. So what can you do? We’re here to help you explore your best options for hanging pictures from picture rail molding, whether you install a picture rail system piece-by-piece or use an all-in-one kit, we will help!
Hanging from Picture Rail Molding: An Overview
One method of hanging pictures that prevents this from being an issue is using picture rails or crown molding between the wall and ceiling. If you live in a home that was constructed prior to the 1930s, then there is a good chance that it is already trimmed with crown molding. If not, you can acquire the molding from a hardware store or lumberyard. Rails are also available from hardware stores as an option. However, you are then obligated to install the molding or the rails yourself or hire a professional to perform the work.
Moreover, selecting this method of hanging pictures means that you will have to consider the questions of how to hang pictures on picture rail molding or how to hang pictures from crown molding. Getting involved in such a project means independently buying necessary accessories needed to perform the task. That would include the proper hooks, wires or cord needed for hanging pictures on a picture rail or molding.
An alternative to the piecemeal method of collecting the necessary equipment yourself is to purchase a system that includes the pieces essential for a proper installation. Shades Picture Hanging Systems offers an assortment of STAS designed and manufactured picture-hanging solutions that include everything you will need — picture rail, the picture rail hooks, and the wiring.
It is not surprising that enthusiastic do-it-yourselfers may want to get involved in how to hang pictures on picture rail molding or how to hang pictures from crown molding themselves.
If your house is not already equipped with crown molding, then the first thing you need to consider is using picture rails or crown molding.
Picture rails are strips of molding that attach to the walls just below the ceiling. They were very popular in New England and often used in southern townhouses during the Victorian era.
Today they can be found at hardware stores including The Home Depot. Moreover, they are affordable. For example, you can purchase a 1-3/4-inch rail for about $1.00 per linear foot.
The items you will need to place the rails include:
✓ Tape measure
✓ Pencil or marker
✓ Construction adhesive
✓ Miter saw
✓ Pneumatic nailer
✓ 2-1/2-inch brads
✓ Paintable caulk
✓ Stud finder
✓ Duct tape
✓ Wall trim molding
Installation of a rail can be performed in four steps.
- Use the tape measure to measure from the ceiling 12-inches to 18-inches down onto the wall and about 1-inch from each end of the wall and mark the spots with the pencil or marker. Use the chalk to draw a line connecting the marks.
- Measure the wall and cut out the pieces of rail to length. If the wall is longer than the rail, use the miter saw to miter the pieces together. Create a 45-degree cut on the rail to accommodate the miter. Or you can glue strips of rails together using wood glue on the edges and duct tape as a clamp before starting the installation. Allow one hour for the glue to dry.
- Place a bead of construction adhesive to the back of the rail, and then align the bottom of the rail with the chalk line or level.
- Use the pneumatic nailer and brads to attach the rail into the studs behind the wall. Snap in one nail every 6-inches and be sure that the rail stays in alignment with the chalk line. Fill the nail holes with a bit of paintable caulk and apply a bead of chalk where the rail meets the wall.
It is suggested that you cut the rail a little bit longer than you need to avoid cutting it too short and make adjustments as you place on the wall. Keep in mind that the 45-degree cut described in step 2 works when the wall is a 90-degree angle or square. As you do the project, you may discover that your walls aren’t square. So a 45-degree cut to accommodate the miter may not present the proper angle. You may have to do some re-cutting.
Finally, when tweaking the angle of cuts to permit the rail to fit in corners, make certain that rail pieces that are joined together are cut to the same angle.
How to Install Crown Molding
If you decide to use crown molding instead of rails, then you first have to decide what type of crown molding to use. Wood molding may be too expensive. A possible alternative is medium density fiberboard (MDF), which is a combination of wood and resins and comes pre-primed and ready to paint. Crown molding is also made of softwoods including poplar, pine, and spruce or high-density polyurethane foam.
Items you will need to install crown molding include:
✓ Tape measure
✓ 4-foot level
✓ Miter saw
✓ Stud finder
✓ Finishing nailer
✓ Chalk gun
✓ Wood putty
Some things to keep in mind before you start the installation of crown molding include:
⚠ Outside corners are mitered, but inside corners are coped. A coped joint is one piece of molding cut to layer against the profile of another piece of molding.
⚠ Wear appropriate hearing and eye protection when cutting the molding.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to install crown molding.
- Measure the walls just below the ceiling and mark the locations of the studs behind the wall with a stud finder and pencil. Put the markings at a location that will not be covered with the molding.
- Cut the molding to fit each wall and draw layout lines on the wall and ceiling.
Place the molding using the markings that identify where the studs are transfer these markings onto the molding.
- Drill holes at each mark on the molding and nail in place.
- As you add molding be sure to lay out the cope joint on its edge. Draw a line in the general direction you plan to cut the molding, which is about a 45-degree angle.
- Set up the miter saw.
- Position the molding so that the ceiling edge is flat on the bottom of the miter box and the wall edge is tight against the fence.
- Cut a 45-degree angle in the general direction of the line you drew in step 5.
- Undercut along the profile with a coping saw.
- Tilt the coping saw at a 45-degree angle to create a razor-thin edge where the two pieces will meet.
- Test fit the cut. You may find that you will have to do some more minor cutting to ensure a perfect fit.
- Sand and file high spots to ensure a tight fit.
- Use a square cut on the uncoped end of the molding that is 1/8-inch longer than the wall.
- Flex the molding in place.
- Secure the molding to the wall and ceiling with nails when the molding lies on the wall without any gaps.
- Putty the nail holes.
- Rub a bead of calk in the seams, wipe it smooth with a wet finger, and then paint the molding.
Hanging Pictures On A Picture Rail Or Crown Molding
Items you will need to hang a picture on a picture rail or crown molding include:
✓ Pencil or marker
✓ Heavy-duty wire cutter or pliers that can cut wire
✓ Painters’ or masking tape
✓ Drill and bit
✓ Picture rail hooks
✓ Picture rail hangers
✓ Picture molding hooks
✓ Braided cord or wire
✓ Eyelet screws with D- ring
Picture rail hooks and picture molding hooks come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. Brass hooks are suggested when hanging very heavy pictures or artwork and stamped hooks are ideal for hanging lighter pictures.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to hang pictures on picture rail molding and how to hang pictures from crown molding.
How to Hang Pictures from Rail Molding and Crown Molding
Install eyelet screws with a D-ring on top of the right and left side of the frame. The higher you install the screws, the flatter the picture will hang on the wall. On the other hand, the lower on the picture frame you place the screws, the more the frame will tilt forward. Drill a pilot hole in the frame, but make sure you don’t drill all the way through the frame.
- Screw in the eyelet screws.
- Hold the picture against the wall at the height you want it to hang. Mark the spot on the wall above the center of the frame.
- Place a hook on the rail or molding directly above the center mark.
- Lay the picture frame face down on a table and place a strip of painters’ tape or masking tape across the frame just above the eyelet screws.
- Mark the position of the screws as well as the center spot of the frame onto the tape. Measure how far the screws are from the top of the frame and transfer to the wall by measuring that distance below the center mark on the wall.
- Take the tape off of the back of the frame and place it on the wall at the marks you made.
- Hang a cord or wire over the hook on the rail or molding and line up with the marks you made that represent the locations of the eyelet screws. Make a bend in the cord or wire where it meets the tape and make sure that a mark is made in the cord or wire after the bend.
- Thread the cord or wire through the rings of the eyelet screws and stop when you get to the mark made by the bending of the wire or cord.
- Wrap the cord or wire tightly around the screws so that it is secure and then tie the ends together securely so there is no slack in the middle of the frame. Make sure you make a strong knot.
- Drape the cord or wire over the hook.
- Slide the cord or wire back and forth over the hook until the picture hangs straight.