Pictures and artwork, in general, are truly awesome, and they can bring any home to life. That said, there’s nothing worse than a crooked frame that is not level, and even worse is if you have multiple frames that are not level in relation to each other.
For this reason, many people use levels to hang pictures. Sure, you can use an old school bubble level, but a laser level will be much easier to use. Let’s get to it and teach you how to use a laser level to hang pictures.
What Is the Best Type of Laser Level for Picture Hanging?
Generally speaking, there are two types of laser levels that you can use for this task, and which one you choose depends on your purpose. In other words, if you are hanging just one picture on one wall (or multiple pictures on the same wall), then a simple line laser level that shoots one straight laser line will do just fine.
However, if you plan on hanging multiple pictures on multiple walls in the same room, and you want them all to be the same height, then a rotary laser level that shoots out a 360 degree laser line in all directions is best, as it will hit all of the walls at once, thus allowing you to level all pictures in one feel swoop without having to do much measuring.
How to Use a Laser Level to Hang Pictures
Now that we know what type of laser level to use for hanging and levelling a picture, we can get to actually hanging that picture up. For the purposes of this article, we are going to talk about how to use a line laser level to hang a single or multiple pictures on the same wall.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
The first thing that needs to be done is for you to gather all of the tools you need for the job, which in this case include the laser level itself (with a line laser level being best), as well as a measuring tape, a hammer, a drill, drill bits, screws, a pencil, and some tape.
You may not necessarily need a drill, as you could use a screwdriver instead, but of course, this is going to be much more difficult. Depending on whether or not you can manage to hit the wall studs, you may also need to have drywall anchors.
Step 2: Determine Roughly Where You Want the Picture to Hang
Of course, before you can get to hanging your picture and using that laser level, you do first need to decide the location of the picture frame. If you prefer to just eye it out, you can also stand back from the wall, take a good look, and figure out where you want to hang the picture.
You need to figure out where the top of the picture frame will go. If eyeing it out is not precise enough for you, you can always measure the width and height of the wall to get exact figures (for instance, if you want the picture to be exactly halfway along the width of the wall).
Keep in mind that measuring is also crucial if you are planning to hang more than one picture, particularly if you want even spacing between the edge of the walls and the pictures, as well as for even spacing between the pictures.
Create a mark where the top of the picture frame will go, and if necessary, mark both the left and the right edge of the picture frame, so you can accurately level it both vertically and horizontally.
Step 3: Turn on, Level, and Mount the Laser Level
OK, so now that you have decided roughly where the picture will hang, it is time to turn on the laser level and hold it against the wall. At this point, you need to ensure that the beam of light coming from the laser level passes through the mark that you made in the previous step, the horizontal mark that indicates where the top of the picture will hang.
With the line of the laser level passing through that mark, you now need to level the laser level. Yes, it’s a mouth full, but think about it, simply having a straight line going across your wall does not mean that it is level from one side to the other, so you do still need to level the laser level first.
To do this, you need to rotate the laser level up or down along the wall until the little bubble (laser levels have small bubble levels incorporated into them to make sure that they themselves are level) rests right on the center of the black line of the bubble level.
Make sure that while you do this, the line from the laser level stays in contact with the mark on the wall. The laser level needs to be level at the same time as the line passes through the mark on the wall. This will ensure that your picture is perfectly level.
If you have a self-levelling laser level, you will not need to go through this levelling process, as the mechanism will do it all on its own.
You now need to use either a special putty or the suction cups on your line laser level to mount it to the wall, so you can then work with the picture frame.
Step 4: Mount the Picture
Now you should have a perfect straight and level laser line running along the wall. You can now hang the picture. To do this, start by drilling pilot holes for the specific hanging setup that you have (some picture frames may only require a single mounting screw in the middle, whereas others may require two mounts, one on each side at the top of the frame).
Once you have this figured out, you can then drill pilot holes for the screws, and if possible, to make your life easier, you do want to hang the picture on a wall stud.
That said, if you either don’t have studs, cannot find them, or just want the picture to hang in a very specific location that doesn’t happen to have a stud behind it, then you will need to use drywall anchors so that the picture frame does not rip out of the wall. Whether you are just using screws, drywall anchors, or other picture frame specific mounting hardware, now is the time to hang it.
Now is also the time to measure the distance between the picture and the wall on either side (just in case you want the picture to be right in the middle, or in case you are hanging two or more pictures).
For instance, if you are hanging two pictures on the same wall, and you want even spacing, then the first picture should be one-third of the way along the wall, and the second one two-thirds of the way. Simply insert the mounting hardware as needed and mount the picture.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
While the above should give you the idea of how to get the job done, below are some additional tips to make the process smoother:
- If your picture frame has two hangers (left and right), instead of just one in the center, it is wise to measure the distance between the center and the edges of the picture.
- In terms of height, if the exact height is important to you, measuring the center point of the picture frame is recommended.
- You may also want to measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hanging mechanism.
- If you are hanging multiple pictures on more than one wall, you are best off using a rotary laser level as opposed to a line laser level.
- Remember that houses generally are not 100% straight and level. In other words, even if your laser level is 100% level with the earth below, if your walls or floors are crooked, then your picture will hang crooked too (or at least look like it is crooked in relation to the rest of your house). Therefore, if your floors, walls, and ceilings themselves are not level, you need to decide whether you want the pictures to line up with the rest of your home, or if you want them to be truly level in relation to the earth below. Generally speaking, in terms of appearances, you want the pictures to be level with your floors, walls, and ceilings, or else it will look odd.
Now that you know exactly how to hang a picture using a laser level, you should never have another crooked picture in your home again!
If you are hanging your picture on a brick wall, you might also want to read this article.