How to Hang a Picture (In Three Nail Holes Or Less)
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Dan Van Oss Complete Columns, How To 0 Comments

Adding beauty and attractiveness to your home and apartment with new artwork is easy when you know how. Unfortunately, we only know the hard way, so here we go. First, you will, of course, need something to hang on your wall. If you don’t already own a picture, you are probably a guy, in which case we suggest obtaining Dogs Playing Poker or Albert Einstein Sticking His Tongue Out. If you are married, the picture has already been sitting in the den for three weeks waiting for you to put it up, so get to it already.

Choosing the best place to hang your picture is your first challenge, unless this picture hanging project was precipitated by an “Accidentally Put A Hole In The Wall With The End Of The Ladder While Trying To Put Up A Different Picture” project.
Choosing the best place to hang your picture is your first challenge, unless this picture hanging project was precipitated by an “Accidentally Put A Hole In The Wall With The End Of The Ladder While Trying To Put Up A Different Picture” project, in which case you know exactly where to hang it. Having a helper, such as a wife or husband, will help immensely, as they will be well-practiced in telling you exactly where to go. Most experts recommend hanging the picture about 60 inches from the floor, but since most experts usually have a tape measure handy, you’ll probably have to just guess. Just figure that 60 inches is about as tall as that torn place on the wall where someone tried to remove one of those totally nonremovable Removable Plastic Sticky Picture Hangers (As Seen On TV). Mark this spot with a sharpened pencil or piece of masking tape, making sure to spend at least 5 minutes rummaging in your junk drawer to find either of them.

If you are hanging a group of pictures, congratulations! Your work frustrations are about to quadruple. Now may be a good time to retake that physics class you bombed out of in high school. Using a laser level for this type of project is a great idea, because it comes with these cool glasses that make you look like Cyclops from the X-men. Laser levels create a perfect horizontal line (or vertical if you live in Australia) which you can use to align the tops of all your pictures. The most fool-proof method for arranging your pictures is to make perfect paper cutouts of your pictures and arrange them using low-adhesive masking tape, but who really has time for that?

Once you have chosen the position for your new picture or pictures, it might be time for a break, because when you were looking for your low adhesive tape, which you didn’t have anyway, you noticed your junk drawer was really messy, and had all kinds of bent paper clips, old coupons and dried-out bank pens cluttering it up, and you were about to straighten it out when you found one of those old games where you try to roll the BBs into the holes on the clown’s body, and you spent 20 minutes trying to get the hard one that goes into his hat before you realized you totally forgot what you were originally doing. (Note: You were hanging a picture.)

Now comes the part where you actually have to pound something into the wall. If your picture has just one hook holder on the back, breathe a sigh of relief, because you are now 50% less likely to screw this up. Pound in a picture hanger holder into one of the spots you marked previously, making sure not to mistake that smashed gnat for your pencil mark. (We’re assuming you have drywall walls; if you have plaster walls, your house is Old and may be worth a lot of money. Consider selling it.) Make sure you use the only hammer you could find, the one with the huge head on it in the garage so that you can smash at least one of your fingers while pounding in the hanger. If your picture has two hooks on the back, you are in for a treat of perpetual OCD-inducing exasperation, as it is physically impossible for anyone short of Stephen Hawking to place two picture holders perfectly level with each other. You’ll need a measuring tape, a level, a calculator with the cosine function and the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland in order to calculate exactly where to place the two holes so the picture will hang level. Proceed to hang your picture. Take extra precautions on where you decide to hang something heavy, such as a mirror, because it can cause depression and anxiety when you walk past it every day and realize you really need to get back on the treadmill.

Now you can step back and enjoy your new picture with a mixed sense of accomplishment and unease, as you’re still not sure if that Dogs Playing Poker With Einstein painting is the best choice for the bathroom.

This column is featured in the book Home Improvement Survival Guide for Men
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