How to Correctly Handle, Transport and Hang an Original Painting

By Krystal Kovacs in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

Whether you purchase or create the original paintings in your home, it is very important to properly care for your paintings in order to maximize their longevity.

How to handle and transport a painting

Great care needs to be taken when moving paintings, especially if they are large panels or canvases—in many cases, a painting should be moved by more than one person to minimize the chance of damaging it.

Keep in mind the following tips:

Always make sure that your hands are clean before handling a painting, since your natural oils can easily rub onto the painting’s surface. Alternatively, you can wear cotton gloves to keep the paintings pristine.

Be mindful of any accessories you’re wearing, such as watches or jewellery, to ensure that they don’t scratch or snag the paint surface. Better yet, take them off.

Do not carry a painting by the top of the frame or stretcher; rather, support the painting with two hands from the sides of the frame.

Lastly, be very careful when laying your painting down or leaning it against a wall—ensure that only its frame leans against a surface, since sharp or protruding objects can easily damage the canvas.

How to hang a painting

Generally most paintings come ready to hang, secured with hanging wire or a hook on the back. If not, you can purchase picture hanging hooks and wire from your local hardware or homewares store.

All you will need to hang your painting correctly is a picture hanging hook for your wall and a few tools (a pencil, a measuring tape, a hammer and level). It is best to avoid using nails, since a painting can slip off of a nail quite easily.

Step 1: Find the point on your wall where you want the center of the painting to be, and mark the spot lightly with a small pencil mark or piece of masking tape. Usually this is at eye level.

Step 2: Measure the length of the painting that you’re hanging (from top to bottom) and find the midpoint by dividing the length by 2.

For example, if your painting is 30” high, the midpoint would be 15”. Your goal is to place this midpoint at eye level when the painting is hung on the wall.

Step 3: Measure the slack in your painting’s hanging wire by pulling upward on it as though the painting were hanging on the wall already. Find the distance from the top of the wire to the midpoint which you already calculated in step 2.

Step 4: Raise the original mark you made on the wall in step 1, to account for the slack in the hanging wire which you determined in step 3.

In other words, if your slack is 10 inches, then raise your original mark 10 inches.

Step 5: Hammer the hook into the mark on your wall. If you have measured correctly, when you hang the painting by its wire on the hook, the center of the painting should be exactly at eye level.

Step 6: Use a level to make sure the painting hangs straight.

For very wide and heavy paintings, it is recommended to use 2 picture hanging hooks for additional support. Either way, use quality picture hanging hooks which can be purchased at any hardware store.

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