Methods For Hanging Framed Pictures, Part 3: Hanging Metal Frames
By Sheila Gallien
In Part 1 of this series, we acknowledged how framed art can bring out the beauty in any space, personal or professional. But novice decorators might feel intimidated by or be unfamiliar with the hardware for metal frames. Here we outline the most popular metal technologies.
Metal frames demand their own technology for hanging devices, though the principals behind wall installation are the same as for wood frames.
Hanging devices for metal frames snap or screw into a 3/8” wide "universal channel" on the back side of metal frame moulding. Nearly every good quality American-made metal frame manufactured in the 1980s or beyond has this universal channel.
There are a number of hanging devices available for metal frames. Here we’ll discuss the six most popular. Of these, three use picture wire exclusively, one can be used either with wire or hung directly on a hook, one is used at the top rail of the metal frame like a wood frame sawtooth hanger, and the last is a two bracket hanging solution.
Snap-in Metal Frame Hangers. These hangers, for use with picture wire, have three prongs, two of which snap into the universal channel, the third being a receptacle for picture wire, which, when pulled taut, holds the hangers in place. These hangers are simple to install and adjust, and are a good choice for smaller metal frames.
Solid Metal Frame Hangers. With these L-shaped hangers, one side slides into the frame; the other contains a hole for picture wire. They are held in place in the metal frame universal channel with a screw. Combined with high-quality picture wire, this is a very strong hanger.
European (Euro) Metal Frame Hangers. This is a one-piece hanger with large teardrop shaped wire holes to facilitate wire framing. Like the Solid Hanger, Euro Hangers attach with a set screw and are almost as strong.
Three-Part Metal Frame Hangers. This tri-prong hanger is designed for hanging with or without picture wire, and allows the arm section to pivot to the optimal position before tightening it down with the screw. For wire installation, you would pivot the triangle rings inward. For direct hanging, place the hangers at the top of the side rails and pivot them vertically.
Notched Metal Frame Hangers. This hanger is similar to a sawtooth hanger for a wood frame hanger. It snaps into place in the metal frame's top rail universal channel. Once in place in the rail you can slide the hanger from side to side to position it. Larger frames require two notched hangers. When using notched hangers, frames are hung directly on ordinary nails placed in the wall. One pitfall of notched hangers is it can be difficult to get the picture to hang straight on a single nail.
Hangman Products Aluminum Frame Hanger. This is an all aluminum, two bracket hanger. One bracket snaps into the frame’s channel and the other attaches to the wall with screws. The two brackets then fit together to hang the picture. Additionally, it uses a built-in, removable bubble level so the frame can be easily leveled.
A Couple of Extra Tips:
Rust: No matter what system you choose, always use materials which will not rust: nickel-plated screws, brass or nickel-plated screw eyes and D-rings, and non-rusting multi-strand wire if you are using wire. Rust will weaken any system and may allow your picture to fall.
Very Heavy Pictures: For very heavy pieces, you might want to use a well-secured picture rail. Or, you might consider using a shelf to distribute some of the weight.
About the Author: Sheila Gallien is a noted screenplay consultant who also writes picture hanging articles. For more information on framing go to The Hangman Store
or Hangman Products.
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