How to Keep Pictures from Falling off the Wall

Hanging pictures seems to be an easy DIY job that any homeowner can do. But you might have also encountered frustrations in keeping pictures from falling off the wall. It’s frustrating to pick up the photos you’ve hung and eventually fell on the ground.

So, how do you keep pictures from falling off the wall? Continue reading to find out tricks and tips in keeping those photos and artworks stuck on the wall for many years to come.

Learn When to Use Nails

Learn When to Use Nails

Nails are perhaps the first thing that comes into the mind of people whenever asked what they should use in hanging pictures on the wall. While nails may be relied upon in hanging lightweight pictures, these common hardware items aren’t strong enough to hold larger and heavier photo frames, artworks, and other objects.

But you may wonder– how would you know that a photo frame or artwork is too heavy for a nail to hold? A good rule of thumb to follow is the size of the frame. If it is large and you can’t hang it without getting help from another person, then it would be wise not to use nails to hold it.

If you have a weighing scale at home, you can measure the weight of the picture you are trying to hang on the wall. If it weighs less than 10 pounds, then a nail may be able to hold it. But if it is heavier than that, then a nail may not be the best option.

Simple finish nails can hold lightweight pictures and objects on a wall. You don’t even need the nail to go into a stud for small pictures. Putting it through the drywall should be enough for a nail to support a small and lightweight picture.

Drive it through the drywall so that it would stick out at an upward angle of at least 30 degrees. This should make the nail strong enough to hold the frame and unlikely to slip off.

You can also drive a nail into a stud, which is the strongest part of the wall. This is recommended if you are hanging medium to heavyweight frames. This may also be a good option if the stud is in the right position or angle to support or hold the heavyweight picture frame.

But a simple finish nail may not be strong enough to hold large and heavy frames. Moreover, a stronger drywall system is also needed if you are to hang larger photo frames. Even bigger nails won’t prevent a photo from crashing down if it is driven to a less than sturdy drywall.

When you need to hang a heavy or large photo frame on the wall, a nail may not be the best option for you. Instead, you might have to consider other hanging options enumerated below.

Use Hanging or Adhesive Strips

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Adhesive strips are quite popular among DIYers because they are easy to use. Others love them because these strips won’t damage the paint of the wall, unlike nails and screws. It should also be noted that adhesive strips are quite cheap and readily available in many hardware stores.

Using adhesive strips is recommended if you rent a house because you won’t be damaging the smooth wall surface of the property. This is also something you’d want to consider when you are not yet sure about the position of the pictures you want to hang. When you need to remove the strips from the wall surface, you can do so in a matter of seconds.

Most people also think that adhesive strips are only good in hanging lightweight pictures. But there are also hanging strips capable of holding up to 16 pounds. If you are not sure which strip to use, then you’d rather buy strips that can hold weight more than the picture you’ll be hanging on the wall.

Little preparatory work, however, is recommended if you want the strips to adhere properly to the wall. First, you should remove any protruding hardware on the back of the picture, such as nails, screws, wires, or fasteners.

Next, get a clean cloth and isopropyl alcohol to clean the frame as well as the wall area. Let the surface dry before proceeding to the next step.

Get the adhesive strip and remove the paper liner. If the photo frame is lightweight or less than 10 pounds, you must place a single set of strips at the top center. Medium-weight photos would need two sets at each top corner, while heavier photos (or those heavier than 12 pounds) will require four sets of strips at the top corners and on each side.

Attach the adhesive side to the back of the photo frame. Hold it for 30 to 60 seconds. Pull on the bottom corners of the adhesive side and gently lift to expose the wall strips. Then press and hold it against the wall for at least 30 seconds.

Adhesive strips work on most surfaces, including plasterboard and painted wallboard. They can also adhere well to stained or varnished wood and even other surfaces like glass and tile. But they don’t stick well to brick and wallpaper.

Use Adhesive Hooks

Adhesive Hooks

If the picture frame you are hanging has a hanger on its back, you can use adhesive hooks instead. Adhesive hooks can hold lighter frames between one and eight pounds. If you are to hang a heavier frame, it is advisable to use multiple hooks.

As you may deduce, adhesive hooks work like adhesive strips. These can be easily removed from wall surfaces without damaging the paint. These are also easy to use. And some prep work is also needed to ensure that the adhesive hooks would not fall off the wall.

Start by cleaning the wall with a clean piece of cloth and isopropyl alcohol. Remove any protruding hardware that may be on the back of the picture frame. Then remove the paper liner from the back of the adhesive hook and press it firmly against the wall for at least 30 seconds. Wait for an hour before you hang the photo frame.

Finally, it’s best to use at least two hooks when hanging pictures on the wall. Having a photo frame supported by two hooks distributes the weight and prevents it from falling off. It can also keep the picture straight and secure.

Use Wall Anchors

Use Wall Anchors

You can also keep pictures from falling off the wall by using wall anchors. This is very much true if you are to hang pictures on drywall sans a stud and would use a screw instead of a nail. Drywall anchors can provide extra stability to the screw and prevent it from coming loose. This type of hardware can prevent photos from crashing to the ground.

Drywall anchors come in different types. Some are made of plastic, while others are metal. Those made of plastic can hold or support pictures weighing less than 20 pounds. On the other hand, metal drywall anchors can support heavier frames or those which weigh more than 20 pounds.

It is fairly easy to use wall anchors. Simply screw it into the wall using a Phillips screwdriver. You can also do so with a cordless drill fit that is fitted with a Phillips bit. Then attach the frame by driving a screw into the anchor hole.

Use Heavy-Duty Hanging Hardware

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If the tips mentioned above still won’t prevent pictures from falling off the wall, you might have to use heavy-duty hanging hardware. This is designed to hold large or heavy photo frames. Made of metal, heavy-duty hanging hardware usually has two to three screw holes.

With heavy-duty hanging hardware, there’s no chain or wire that might drop out from the back of the frame. This limits the likelihood of the picture falling off the wall. Moreover, the weight of the photo is equally distributed, which makes it less likely for the frame to fall to the ground.

Heavy-duty hanging hardware usually has two complementary pieces. The first is a heavy-duty steel plate often plated in brass. It has a hanging loop at one end and is fixed to either side of the back of the photo. It also has two to three holes for more secure fixing in the event that a screw gets loose. A heavy-duty steel plate can range from 50 to 90mm in length.

The other complementary hardware is a heavy-duty J hook fixed to the wall. It is partnered with the heavy-duty hanger that is fixed to the frame of the photo. It gives a secure structure for the D-ring or loop.


As you can see, there are numerous techniques that you can employ to prevent photos and artwork from falling off the wall. From using the right hardware to locating the area where to drill a nail, these tips and tricks can go a long way towards ensuring that your precious photos won’t crash to the ground.