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A Step-by-Step Guide to Hanging Pictures on Brick


May 17, 2020 by Barbara Zito

An exposed brick wall is attractive enough on its own, but you may still want to hang pictures and other wall art to get the aesthetic you want. Before you get started, hold off on that hammer and nails. Hanging pictures on a brick wall takes a different approach than drywall.

While hanging art on a brick wall will take a bit more work, it's not as difficult as you might think. According to BobVila.com, this is one DIY project that you can truly do yourself -- though we do suggest having a helper for a second opinion to make sure you hang your art evenly. Check out this five-step process to see if you're up for the task.

How to hang pictures on brick walls

You don't need a full toolbox to hang pictures on brick walls. But you will require a few key items to make this DIY project happen. Here's what you'll need:

  • Chalk.
  • A power drill and masonry bit.
  • Wall anchors.
  • Flush-mount picture hooks or screws.
  • A screwdriver.

Optional:

  • A level.
  • An assistant.

Step 1. Assemble your tools and prepare the area for work. This project could get a bit dusty, so move things away from the wall or at least cover them with a dropcloth. Get one for the floor, too -- it will be easier to clean up any brick dust that falls.

Step 2. Mark the area on the wall (on the mortar, not the brick itself) with chalk where you want to hang the picture. You could use a pencil or marker, but chalk will wipe off more easily.

Step 3. Hold the picture frame over the spot you've marked. Be sure to hold it in the way it will eventually be hung. For example, is the hanger at the top of the frame, or is there a wire hanger in the middle? This is where an assistant will come in handy to help you decide how high or low to hang your wall art. If you're hanging multiple frames and want them to be even, you'll need to use the level to keep things looking tidy.

Step 4. Choose a masonry bit appropriate for the size of your wall anchor. (Wall anchors usually range in size according to weight, so be sure you also have the right anchor for the size of your wall art.) Drill a hole at the mark you made on the wall -- again, drill into the mortar, not the brick itself. The hole should be able to hold the wall anchor securely but not be so deep as to damage any pipes or wiring in the wall. If the picture is heavy or has a glass plate in its frame, use two wall anchors for security; bring out the level again to make sure you drill the two holes evenly.

Step 5. Insert the wall anchor into your newly drilled hole. Then, take a picture hook and screw it into the anchor. Place the picture frame gently over the hook and adjust it until it's straight and hangs securely.

Repeat steps 2 through 5 for each frame you want to hang on the brick wall.

An easy way to hang multiple frames on brick

If you don't want to keep drilling holes into your brick wall to hang each picture, there is an easier way to hang multiple frames: a picture rail.

A picture rail is a type of molding made out of wood or metal about two inches thick that hangs horizontally on a wall. The picture rail provides an edge for you to attach a hooked clip to and then attach frames with wire hangers. You'll need to hang the picture rail securely by drilling holes using the five-step guide above. However, you can then simply add more clips or move them around as much as you need to until all of your artwork is in place.

Unlike when hanging a frame directly on the wall so the hardware is covered, you will likely see the rest of the picture rail, depending on the size of your art. However, if you opt for a metal rail instead of a wooden one, you might like how it looks against the brick.

How to hang things on brick without drilling holes

If you're clumsy with power tools or don't have a drill, all is not lost. Here are two ways to hang art on brick walls without drilling holes:

Option 1: Brick clips

Brick clips, sometimes called clamps, have an edge with little pointy teeth that cling to the top edge of bricks peeking out from the mortar. That's not a lot of surface area to work with, but these sharp edges can get a grip on the brick. The bottom of the clip holds on to the underside of the brick for stability. Once you've got it securely on the wall, you can hang a frame with a wire hanger.

These are ideal for hanging holiday lights on exposed brick, and they can hold up to 30 pounds per clip -- be sure to check the packaging to see if they can accommodate your wall decor. Brick clips are a good option for lighter or inexpensive artwork, but don't use them for anything too heavy or valuable.

Option 2: Adhesive strips

Unless you're hanging something truly light like a poster, those adhesive strips won't really work on an uneven surface like brick. Painted brick, on the other hand, offers a bit of a smoother surface, so you could give it a try. Again, this is not an option for heavy or valuable art, but it might be fine for smaller, lighter pictures.

An exposed brick wall can be attractive on its own, but wall art can create an even more beautiful aesthetic for your home. Use these tips to hang your picture frames on brick walls securely, without damaging the wall or your decor.

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