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How to hang a picture frame, the old school way

Theres more than one way to skin a cat as they say (yikes), we say there’s more than one way to hang a picture frame. But for today we’re going to go through the traditional tried and tested way, you know, with a drill and a screw, and a prayer.

We’ll call this the old school way, where you drill a hole in the wall then use a wall plug and screw and hang the frame from the screw, hey presto.

I generally use 5mm screws and then depending on how heavy the frame is I’ll use longer screws. For anything lighter than 10kg I’ll use 5 x 30mm screws with plugs – they look like this.

For anything between 10 and 20kg, 5x60mm should do the trick, for heavier frames (say less than 30kg) I would use 7x100mm, which may be overkill but you want to be sure. (This obviously does not apply to dry wall, for this you’ll need to wait for my article on dry wall picture frame hanging. )

I will then use the required width drill bit, ensuring that the diameter of the drill bit matches the width of the plug and no wider since the screw would not fit snugly which is no good.

Before I drill I like to get someone to hold the frame against the wall, so I can stand back and get a good look of where it should be placed on the wall in terms of height and horizontal position. This is open to subjective interpretation, but I like to put the artwork at about eye level for the average person, but its also important to consider its position relative to other objects (if its above a couch or a bed). I also like to use a door frame as a point of reference, where I’ll ensure that the top of the frame is below the top of the door frame.

On the other hand sometimes I like frames hung at odd heights, this sometimes works if you’re going for a more quirky alternative look for your space. Again get someone to hold it up and see how it ‘feels’.

Mark the position of the top of the frame with a pencil, then mark where you need to drill the hole to correspond to the string or hanging attachment on the frame with a piece of masking tape on the wall. The masking tape will also allow the drill bit to grip to ensure that the drill bit doesn’t move against the wall when you start your drilling.

When drilling ensure the following:

  • The drill bit must be tight in the drill, using the key to tighten it properly.

  • Check the length of the wall plug and mark this length on the drill bit using a piece of masking tape to ensure that the hole you drill in the wall is the correct depth for the screw.

  • Double check that you’re not drilling into any water pipes or through electrical wires – these would generally run in line with taps or electrical sockets.

  • Use the piece of masking tape on the wall and indent it with a sharp pointed object at the exact point where you wish to drill.

  • Line up the drill against this mark ensuring that the drill is perpendicular to the wall in both dimensions, left to right and up and down (you don’t want a skew hole after all).

  • Since you’re drilling into brick/concrete ensure that drill is on hammer mode.

Once the hole is drilled, blow into the hole to remove the excess dust still inside and wipe down the wall with a wet cloth to clean off all the dust. Insert the plug into the hole, if it doesnt fit have another go with the drill quickly moving it in and out to remove any excess remaining debrit and dust. Once the plug is in use a screw driver and screw the screw into the plug in the wall.

And voila! There you have it aspiring framer, you've got your screw in wall to hang a picture frame! All you need to do now is get the frame to look staight...Good luck with that.

If this is all just too much for you I would also recommend finding a local handy man on or Facebook marketplace, I’m sure they could use the support and you can be pretty sure they’ll do a decent job (as a rule of thumb) check they have the right tools for the job.

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