A question of screws
November 23, 2013 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I've got some heavy things mounted on the wall (mirrors, mostly) that are mounted (and can only be mounted) by hanging them onto two screws inside their top corners. There are no screws at the bottom, and there is no way for them to be: but I'd like them not to fall down if they are hit from the base and pushed upwards, lifting them off the screws.

My idea was something that can attach from the screws at the top and clamp on to the tops of the frame of the mirror somehow. Does this exist, and what is it called?
posted by gorcha to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
Have you tried museum putty? It will keep things gently stuck to the wall and prevent the kind of catastrophes an accidental bump can cause.
posted by ambrosia at 2:26 PM on November 23, 2013

You should be able to find an angle bracket which will work. Drive the screw through one of the holes so that the bracket protrudes on top.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:39 PM on November 23, 2013

Mirror plates are what I've used. You screw a couple onto the back of the frame, and then use the holes in the curved section (which protrude from behind the mirror) to screw the frame to the wall.
posted by pipeski at 2:50 PM on November 23, 2013

Response by poster: Museum putty looks interesting, but how do you get it off again?

Angle brackets: I don't see how I can mount the mirror (or get the mirror off the wall again), how does it work?
posted by gorcha at 3:18 PM on November 23, 2013

I'd like them not to fall down if they are hit from the base and pushed upwards, lifting them off the screws.

FWIW in 25 years of hanging mirrors and art, I've never had this happen.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:22 PM on November 23, 2013

Are you talking about screws in the walls and holes in the objects that the screw heads fit into? Usually you adjust the screws into the wall tight enough so that the object will just fit on there snugly. You have to play with the depth a little to get it just right.
posted by bongo_x at 3:23 PM on November 23, 2013

Response by poster: These mirrors tend to have a metal ridge inside the frame, and the mirror hangs on that ridge which rests on the screw.

DarlingBri: kids?
posted by gorcha at 3:43 PM on November 23, 2013

Safety picture hangers. There are various versions.
posted by bongo_x at 3:46 PM on November 23, 2013

Here's how I envision Johnny Wallflower's L-brackets working: The screw that holds the picture passes through a hole in the long leg of the L, and another screw through a lower hole fastens the L-bracket to the wall. The short leg of the L points out from the wall above the screws, and is spaced off from the upper screw so that the picture will just slide under it to engage that screw. The picture can still move upward slightly, but not enough to fall off unless you deliberately pull it away from the wall while lifting it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 PM on November 23, 2013

Museum putty is just that, a putty. Think silly putty or a gum eraser. It keeps things from shifting around, but it comes right off paint without damaging it. It is certainly easy and fairly low-cost, and it is standard here in earthquake country to keep breakables from falling off shelves or toddlers from pulling full length mirrors off walls.
posted by ambrosia at 4:37 PM on November 23, 2013

I think the mechanism we used is called a "cleat." Super super sturdy.

Sorry, no link. It's a system where ridgey metal thing on object locks into similar metal things mounted on the wall.

They're specifically made for Earthquakes.
posted by jbenben at 4:52 PM on November 23, 2013


Google just told me what you might be looking for is called a French Cleat.

Good luck!!
posted by jbenben at 4:54 PM on November 23, 2013

I use foam tape for this purpose. Along the same lines as museum putty. Museum putty is almost certainly easier to remove, though.
posted by BlueJae at 7:51 PM on November 23, 2013

Depending on the thickness of the mirror + frame you can use mirror clips to clamp the base and the sides. they are pretty standard for frameless mirrors and should work in your situation if you can find the right size.
posted by TDIpod at 8:06 PM on November 23, 2013

Seconding the french cleats. There are huge advantages, not the least of which is that, by attaching a long cleat to the wall, you can screw directly into multiple studs, providing a lot of support. Also, if the cleat is level, the mirror will be level.

It would take quite a blow from the bottom to lift a mirror off the cleats.
posted by dinger at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2013

Short version use magnets.

OK if the top is held solid using the screws/mount then consider this: Place a layer of paper behind the lower portion of the mirror attaching it with tape to the wall so you can draw the exact outline of the lower frame on the sheet, get a couple fender washers and mount those where your outline shows the corners will be when the mirror is replaced, then glue a pair of rare earth magnets, one in each lower corner of the mirror backside where your outline shows the location of the wall mounted washers. The strength of the magnets will hold the lower section tight to the washers and still be easy to change, the mirror will be hung by starting above the upper mounts and then the lower part can be allowed to hang and the magnets will secure the bottom tight to the wall. Practice with the "pull" of the magnets without the mirror in play so you are not surprised by the grip they will present. If the strength seems too much then mask off a part of the washer so less metal is exposed reducing the grip. I blind mounted a soffit around a kitchen above the cabinets to avoid the nail holes and having to fill them risking a poor appearance, the magnets clicked the lumber tight and remained for years, still there I suppose, we left it place when we moved.
posted by Freedomboy at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2013

I use 3M command adhesive picture hanging strips for this. They are like Velcro strips for the wall and the back of the picture. They remove cleanly and keep me from worrying about kids (or earthquakes) knocking down the frames.
posted by saradarlin at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2013

« Older Christmas Sweater Question   |   Help me improve my dismal musical ability! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.