Please help me hang three large format pieces of art so it is straight and evenly spaced.
October 13, 2011 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Please help me hang three large format pieces of art so it is straight and evenly spaced.

I've uploaded a few photos, front and back, to give a sense as to what I'm dealing with. I have three identically sized pieces of art that I'd like to hang next to each other, evenly spaced, with their tops (and bottoms) aligning. Each piece is 23" (width) x 49" (length). The art is mounted on 1/2" foam core, with several 4" square pieces of 1/2" foam core mounted at the top, middle and bottom.

The first photo reveals four different hanging strategies in this art's history. I'm not the original owner. Velcro directly on the back, velcro on the mounts, string between the mounts, and 3M Command Strips. The velcro worked decently but it leaves a sticky mess. I found getting the 3M Command Strips tabs lined up just so near impossible.

Because there's long, adjacent parallel lines, the precision in getting it just right in both horizontal and vertical directions may call for a more easily adjustable solution. Anyone have any ideas?
posted by funkiwan to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you limited to surface adhesives, or can you put holes in the wall/floor/ceiling?
posted by JohnFredra at 6:23 PM on October 13, 2011

Response by poster:
"Are you limited to surface adhesives, or can you put holes in the wall/floor/ceiling?"
Sorry, good question. I'm renting but was told that I should move in and use the space so I'm comfortable with small holes. There's no molding or picture rail. Also, I'd prefer to avoid any solution that will be visible once the art is hung.
posted by funkiwan at 6:33 PM on October 13, 2011

I would say use string and screw the little eyelets for the string into the backs of the each piece, taking care not to go too deep and pierce the front. Hold the eyelet against the side of the piece first so you have a good idea of how deep you can go.

This will also mean that the pieces will hang flat on the wall, which should look better.

Ditch the existing string and eyelets and start from scratch. Make sure that the height from the top of each piece to the eyelets is exactly equal for each of the 3 pieces. Ditto the distance in from the side in each case. Come down about say 6 inches from the top in each case and a couple of inches in from the sides. This will make your life much easier. Also make sure that the string is knotted to pretty much the same degree of tautness for each piece.

Decide what height you want to hang them at. You may need to experiment a bit with this to see what feels comfortable. Getting someone to hold one of the pieces by the wall is probably the best way to do this. When you're happy mark where the top of the piece goes on the wall lightly with a pencil.

Now measure down the same distance that you measured down from the top of each piece to the eyelets/string. Make a faint pencil line going across the wall with a ruler/piece of word and a spirit level. This needs to be straight (this is assuming your house is pretty much straight, if not, you may have to adjust by eye).

Decide what gap you want between the pieces. Best to stand them against a wall and experiment with this. Go with whatever feels most comfortable. The rest is arithmetic.

Mark the centre of your wall on the pencil line. Put in 1 hook or screw for now. You can add more later once you’re happy with the hang. Now measure the width of the piece plus your gap left and right, and add single screws there too. Make sure you get them on the line accurately.

Hang them and fine adjust, add more screws/hooks on the pencil line if you want to make it more secure.

Job done!
posted by Chairboy at 8:27 PM on October 13, 2011

My suggestion would be to remove the 1/2" thick extra foam core pieces at the top, and replace them with a new strip of 1/2" foam core that is aligned on all three panels (read the same distance from the top). The bottom edge of this strip should be cut inward with a 45 degree bevel to provide a lip.
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Take three more strips of 1/2" foam core, cut matching 45 degree bevels, and hang them on the wall making sure they are straight and level. You can put these up with tape, glue, screws, whatever. Any fasteners will be hidden by the work. The three photos will then hook onto this rail.

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posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 9:07 PM on October 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for puzzling this out with me.

The problem I see with line hanging is that it doesn't seem to provide much in the way of vertical adjustability. The nice thing about the velcro was with a 4 square inch target area I could tweak the positioning just so. No matter how much measuring I do, it seems like variability in the slightest detail (string taughtness, nail/eyelet positioning) will really affect the alignment.

As far as making a foam core rail, that seems to solve the problem of adjusting left/right without an attendant lean right/left. Which leaves vertical adjustment, which I suppose I could do with makeshift shims.

Still, I'm wondering if there's a simpler solution I'm not thinking of. Any other ideas?
posted by funkiwan at 10:55 PM on October 13, 2011

A little more bold: you could put small eyelet screws in the floor and ceiling and hang two thin, vertical stainless steel cables between them. You could affix the pieces to that somehow (TBD). You'd have good adjustability on the vertical spacing, and the horizontal would mostly take care of itself. Does that make sense?
posted by JohnFredra at 8:55 AM on October 14, 2011

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