Design & DIY

How to hang heavy objects on the wall

The last time you hung a few frames, did you woodpecker the wall with misplaced holes? Instead, cut paper templates and tape them up to test your positioning. A good rule of thumb is to hang a picture with its centre 60″ (150 cm) above the floor. Then choose your hardware carefully; there are many ways to secure your hang-ups.

Picture hooks and wires can only support so much weight when it comes to hanging objects on walls. That’s where French cleats can help. Rip a 3″- or 4″-wide strip of plywood in half lengthwise, with the cut edges at a 45º angle. Fasten the narrow face of one strip to the object, with the angled edge facing down. Anchor the other strip’s narrow face to the wall, with the angled edge facing up.

I prefer 3/4″ plywood for French cleats because it’s strong in all directions and won’t split. If you don’t have a table saw, a hand-held circular saw works too: Clamp a straightedge to guide the circ saw, and make the angled cut on a larger piece of plywood before making a final 90° cut to remove the second strip from the sheet. That’s much safer than holding a narrow strip while cutting. Anchor your wall strip with screws long enough to get at least 3/4″ of threads into the studs or wood framing underneath wall coverings.

Lift up the art installation, mounted moose head, or kitchen cabinet, then lower it in place so the angled edges interlock. The wall strips provide lots of support, and the angled edges draw the object into the wall tightly. That old dogsled that great-grandpa used before the war to haul supplies to the cottage (or the flat-screen TV he watches now) isn’t going anywhere.