How to Hang a Painting with Wire and D-Rings

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Why Use Wire and D-Rings?

Hanging a picture frame
Back of painting with picture wire strung between two D-rings. Photo © 2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

Advantages of Wire

If you've ever been awakened in the middle of the night by a painting that has fallen off the wall because the piece of string hanging it has broken, then you won't need persuading to use picture wire instead. Wire is stronger than string, and the knots won't come undone.

Another advantage of using wire over string to hang a painting is that it doesn't relax or stretch, causing the picture to hang lower or skew.

Advantages of D-Rings

D-rings, which get fastened onto the canvas stretchers or frame with a screw, are designed to lie flat. The advantage of this is that when propping the painting up against another painting, the D-rings won't poke holes into the painting's canvas (although a D-ring can still scratch an adjacent surface). Art galleries like this feature of D-rings as it helps protect paintings stacked in a rack.

You Will Need:

D-Rings (Buy from Amazon)
• Picture Wire: Ook Framers Hanging Wire Supports Up to 50 lbs (Buy from Amazon)
• Mini Long Nose Pliers and Wire Cutters
• Screw driver
• Ruler or Tape Measure
• Pencil

Let's get started, first step is to attach the D-Rings...

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How to Screw D-Rings onto the Painting Frame

Installaling D-Ring on frame
Take the time to measure carefully for both D-rings to ensure they're at the same height. Photo ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

Decide how far from the top you want to position the D-rings. You don't want them so high that the wire will show above the top edge of the painting, nor so low that the painting will lean away from the wall when hung. Aim for about a quarter or third of the way down from the top of the painting. Measure the distance, mark it with a pencil, then repeat on the other side.

Angle the D-rings so they're pointing upwards at about 45 degrees, don't screw them in pointing directly towards one another. Obviously you want to be sure you attach the D-rings at the same distance from the top edge. But if you make a mistake, simply unscrew it and reposition it. You certainly won't be the first person to have done it!

Now it's time to tie on the wire...

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Tie a Knot to Hang a Painting

D-Ring knot
How to tie the knot to hang a picture with wire. ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

When tying a knot to hang a painting, you want a knot that's secure and tight. It's not the time to be making granny knots, but time for a secure mounting knot.

If you click on the photo, you will get a larger version. Don't be intimidated, it's one of those things that's easier to do than read about. Start by feeding a small length of the wire through the D-ring from below (photo top left). Once through the D-ring, pull this end underneath the wire that will go across the picture (photo top right), then put it through the D-ring again from above (photo bottom left). Pull the wire up through the loop (photo bottom right), and that is the finished knot.

Let's take another look at the knot...

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Another Photo of the Knot

Tying knot on D ring
How to tie the knot to hang a picture with wire. ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

Here's another photo of the knot used to tie the wire for hanging a picture. Follow with your eye how the wire is looped around. Practice it more and soon it will become instinctive. Don't worry that it's a very loose knot at the moment, it tightens quickly and easily...

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Tighten the Picture Wire Knot

Tightening the knot of D ring
Tighten the knot in the wire so it doesn't slip when you hang the picture. ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

Tightening the picture wire knot is easiest using a pair of pliers. Grip the ends of the wire with the pliers, then pull and the knot will tighten. Cut the short end if needed, then twist it around the other length of wire. Flatten the end with the pliers to ensure that there is no sharp end of wire to catch a finger on.

That's it, the wire tied onto the first D-ring. Now for the knot on the second D-ring...

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How Long Should the Picture Wire Be?

Hanging picture frame
Give the picture wire a little slack before tying the knot and wrapping the end. ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

Pull the wire across to the second D-ring so that there is a little slack in it, add a little more length of wire for tying the knot, then cut the wire with the pliers. Tie the knot as before, then tighten it and wrap the end. That's your picture ready to hang!

Updated by Lisa Marder 8/17/16