Build Your Own Artwork Hanging System

Jul 15 / Dan Schultz







When I began making plans to open my art gallery in 2011, I knew I would need to figure out a method for hanging paintings. The walls in my gallery are plaster, which led me to think about some kind of artwork hanging system rather than just nails in the walls.

Professional artwork hanging systems can be very expensive, so I began to look for alternative materials. The system I adopted (with a few later modifications) was courtesy of my friend Brett Andrus. He showed me his hanging system at his Modbo Gallery in Colorado Springs. It’s a simple and relatively cheap solution, built with parts that can be found at a hardware store.

However, you think of color, it's important to remember

The parts that mount to the wall:

1. Blocks of wood to mount system to wall (4” L x 1-1/2” W x 3/4” D) (in hindsight I wish I had used 1/2” D blocks to bring the cables and paintings slightly closer to the wall)
2. Electrical conduit (1” diameter)
3. 2-Hole Pipe Straps (1” diameter) (for mounting the conduit to the wood blocks)
4. Coarse Thread Drywall Screws (1-5/8”)
5. Steel Suspension Clamps (1” diameter) (flexible hardware that wrap around conduit and hold carabiner)
6. Locking Carabiners (1-1/2”)

The parts that hold the paintings:

1. Looped stainless steel cable (1/16” x 48”)
2. Self-gripping hooks (for cable diameter 0.06” – 0.08”)
These last two items I found online from MBS Standoffs based in Tampa, FL. They sell the cables (SHC-48) in various lengths to work with different wall heights. One end of each cable is already looped securely and the self-tightening hooks (SGH100) slip onto the un-looped end.

The hooks can be easily moved up or down the cable by pressing the release mechanism. I believe they are stated to hold up to 25 lbs., but for heavy paintings I use two cables with a hook on each just to be safe. There are several types of hooks available.

The cost of my system came out to around $200. My 18 cables allow me to hang 20 – 30 paintings since I sometimes double up smaller works on one cable. (I bought two self-gripping hooks for each cable.) Obviously you can tailor the number of cables and hooks you use to the wall space you have available.

So if you’re always moving artwork around and want to save your walls from nail holes, give this artwork hanging system a try. Happy hanging!
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So if you’re always moving artwork around and want to save your walls from nail holes, give this artwork hanging system a try. Happy hanging!

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