Using the Brown Paper Method
Hanging images in straight lines is relatively simple, using a laser level and low tack tape to mark the height of the fixings. But how do you arrange pictures on the wall of all the different sizes?
I like to use the brown paper method.
The brown paper method for hanging pictures
Measure the wall space where you want the arrangement to hang.
Make a template the same size using brown paper or a large sheet of cardboard. Lay out your frames on the brown paper on the floor and move them around to create a balanced composition.
Look for colours, subjects, or frame sizes that align. They don’t all have to be the same spacing or style, but even having the same style frames can tie them together.
Draw around the frames; I’m using a white chalk marker from Chakola.
Match your hanging system to the area
Different frames will have other hanging systems. Two ‘D’ rings usually have a cord between them, but you can hang them from a single point for smaller pieces. It will be more liable to swing and move, depending on whether it’s a high-traffic area or out of the way. For more secure fixings, I’ll use mirror plates and paint them the same colour as the wall.
Double-check the distance of the hanging from the top of the frame to the fixing. Sometimes there are slightly different positions.
Mark the central position on the brown paper or where the D ring is.
Make a hole through your paper with a sharp point. I’m using a long pencil called a Tracer which is handy for marking when hanging mirror plates.
Tape the guide to the wall
Tape the sheet of brown paper on the wall; I’m using low tack tape, so it doesn’t pull on the paintwork. Mark all of the holes with a pencil. You can move the guide around to check how the composition is looking before committing to drilling any holes.
Tools needed for hanging pictures
For these fixings, I will be drilling and using wall plugs on the plasterboard.
I love these Duopower from Fischer. These wall plugs can be used on solid walls or plasterboard – my go-to fixing.
When tapping the fixing flush to the wall, tap gently because if you tap too hard, it can pop out the plaster around the drywall fixings (not speaking from experience)
If you’re hanging a corded picture, you could also use something like these – from 3M. Less wall damage, easy installation and are removable, just more cost per unit in comparison to wall plugs.
To get super precise, you can use a laser level. You can now get affordable laser levels (green laser is easier to read than red) for under £50. They can be great for hanging pictures, aligning still lives, painting sight-size etc.
Add a screw to the fixing and then hang your paintings. Stand back and admire your work, tweaking the levels with a pocket spirit level. Grab yourself a brew!
Here are where you can find the lessons shown in the arrangement:
G – Featured in ‘The Immersive Power of Painting (a Painting Truth you can Learn too Late)’ article