Art makes a powerful statement. Slip a canvas on its hanger, and it transforms the room while your spirit soars. But since it has a big impact, you want to install it right. You don’t want smashed plaster or nail holes pockmarking your walls. It pays to measure the space, dream up a cool layout, and use the right tools. With this guide on how to hang canvas art, you’ll have your masterpiece up in no time.
Considerations When Hanging Canvas Art
How you arrange art says so much about you — your style and aesthetic. Do you obsess over frames marching in a ruler-straight line? You might have a formal style. Do you mix in mirrors for an eclectic look? You might be artsy. Do you stick to one large canvas, perfectly placed? You might be a minimalist. No matter your wall art preference, here are some things to consider when hanging a canvas.
Choose a Layout
If you’re at a loss for how to hang a large canvas, try centering it. You can choose to make it the focal point in the room or center it over furniture. This is true even if your sofa isn’t in the middle of a wall. Center it above the sofa, or it’ll look strangely off-kilter. You can also hang large “statement” art over fireplaces, desks, and beds.
If you have many canvases, there’s a beautiful symmetry when they’re hung in an orderly grid. But art is all about expressing yourself, so feel free to stagger them diagonally, hang horizontal art above vertical art, or compose a grouping of three. For inspiration on how to hang a canvas, try scrolling through trendy design blogs or websites like Pinterest.
Decide on Spacing
When you go to a museum, the art is at eye-level (remember how the Mona Lisa looks straight into your soul?) But at home, people tend to hang art the same height as a giraffe, creating a craned-neck syndrome. Avoid this rookie mistake by hanging art about 57 inches (140 cm) from the floor. It should be 6 to 10 inches above furniture.
If you have a collection, aim for 3 inches apart for larger pieces and 2 inches for smaller works.
Be Sure to Measure
Remember Goldilocks and her chair that was too hard or too soft? If you eyeball where to hang the art, it’ll be too high, and then too low, until your walls look like Swiss cheese. Instead, use a measuring tape to find a good mid-point on the wall. Measure the distance from side objects, leaving a foot of space next to dressers or chairs. Mark the spot with a pencil.
Hanging Framed vs. Unframed Canvas
A framed print or canvas exudes sophistication and often comes with a hanger on the back. An unframed canvas has a modern, streamlined look. So, how to hang an unframed canvas? If it’s not too big, just hammer two large-headed nails in the wall and hang, using a level to make sure it’s straight (more about that below). A bigger canvas needs a sawtooth hanger or eyehooks to keep it secure from the everyday bumps of life.
Try Mapping it Out
The best way to hang canvas art in a grouping is to lay it out on the floor first. Let your creativity soar by playing with the layout: try an oval, a grid, or free-form. Once your vision is complete, measure between the frames and write the measurements down. Then, trace each canvas on tissue paper and cut it out.
Now you can attach the tissue paper to the wall, using a measuring tape to space the canvases. Next, hammer nails into the tissue paper and hang each canvas on top. Finally, pull off the tissue paper like a magician. Abracadabra, you have perfectly-spaced art in your unique design.
You can also do this with painter’s tape. Outline where each canvas should go with tape on the wall, then hammer in the nail. Hang the picture, and pull off the tape.
Get it Straight with a Level
One key when wondering how to hang canvas art without frame is to make sure it’s straight on the wall. You’ll want to use a spirit level and make sure the bubble is centered. Most smartphones also have apps for leveling.
Image by @lifeofleiila
4 Canvas Art Hanging Methods
Sometimes an old-fashioned hammer and nail do the trick. But if you have fine art or a large canvas, go the extra mile with sawtooth or loop hangers. Or, stick to ultra-easy Command strips.
Method 1: Wire Hanging with Eye Hooks
This method isn’t just for galleries. You can adjust the wire for a perfect fit. If you use a Command adhesive hook, it won’t leave a mark on the wall.
- Canvas art
- Steel eye screws
- Wire cutters
- Nail or adhesive hook
Step 1: Measure 1/3 down on the stretcher bars (back of canvas) on each side. Mark with a pencil.
Step 2: Push a steel eye hooks into each mark and twist firmly until straight.
Step 3: Using wire cutters, cut a piece of wire the same width as the canvas plus 8 inches (20 cm). Thread the ends of the wires through the screws and knot tightly. Wrap the remaining wire around the center wire. Keep the wire slightly loose. Hang on a nail or adhesive hook.
Method 2: Sawtooth Hanger
Even if you have a rowdy house, your art will stay firmly in place with a sawtooth grip. You’ll find an array of sizes at the hardware store. If you use an adhesive hook on the wall, there’s no wall damage with this method.
- Canvas art
- Measuring tape
- Sawtooth hanger
- Hammer and nails
- Nail or adhesive hook for hanging
Step 1: Mark the center of the canvas using a pencil and measuring tape.
Step 2: Place the middle of the sawtooth hanger on this mark (the middle has a telltale notch.)
Step 3: Place two nails in the holes in the hanger and hammer in place, making sure it’s straight. Tap gently so you don’t damage the canvas.
Step 4: Hang the canvas on a nail or adhesive hook.
Method 3: Nails
Your basic hammer and nail are perfect for smaller canvases. Don’t get too enthusiastic with the hammer, or you’ll crater the drywall. Here’s how to hang a canvas painting without wire or a sawtooth hanger:
- Canvas art
- Broad-headed nail
Step 1: Mark the spot for the nail with a pencil or chalk.
Step 2: Hammer the nail with a few vigorous taps, but leave it sticking out 1/3 inch.
Step 3: Hang the canvas on the nail.
Method 4: Adhesive Strips
There’s a simple answer to how to hang a canvas print with Command strips. First, pick the right product, because each type has a weight limit. The Velcro-and-adhesive formula clings fiercely to the wall and removes without damage, so it’s perfect for dorm rooms.
- Canvas art
- Measuring tape and pencil
- Command strips
Step 1: Measure the canvas and mark the four corners with a pencil on the wall.
Step 2: Place adhesive strips on the back of the canvas at all four corners.
Step 3: Press the canvas firmly to the wall, using pencil markings as a guide.
Check out our awesome wall art ideas for more tips, and don’t forget our huge selection of canvas prints that range from soaring nature scenes to anime. When learning how to hang canvas art, think of your walls as the ultimate blank canvas: you’re the designer, and the best look is whatever pleases your inner artist.