How to Hang Pictures Without Nails

Updated: Aug. 09, 2023

If you rent and don't want to repair holes in the walls, hanging pictures can be tricky. Here's how to do it without leaving a mark.

Next Project

A few minutes




Less than $10


With the right tools, it is simple and straightforward to hang a picture without nails.

Tools Required

  • Bathroom scale
  • Level

Materials Required

  • 3M Command Hanger or Velcro Strips
  • Framed pitcures / art

Hanging pictures don’t seem that difficult a task. Grab a hammer and a nail, hammer in the nail, then hang the picture. Boom, you’re done.

But it can be tricky, especially if you’re renting and don’t want to deal with patching drywall holes when you leave, or cracking or loosening the plaster in plaster walls. Adhesive picture hooks or Command strips are going to be your new best friend!

I once lived in a house built in 1880. The first floor had been updated with drywall in the 1990s — you could tell by the bluish bathtub and garish mirrors outlined with crystal flowers — but the second floor was still plaster and lathe. I knew how to hang artwork on drywall, easy. But on the second floor, I had no idea what I was up against.

Who knew plaster could loosen when hammering a nail into the wall? Or that some nails can’t penetrate plaster and bend upon impact? I quickly realized I should have done my research.

That’s when I discovered Command strips, which were easy to stick and level. My pictures stayed put for a year-and-a-half. Then, when dismantling and packing for a move, the strips pulled off with ease and without damage.

Read on to learn how to hang your pictures without nails, mess or fuss.

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

Estimate the weight of the picture

Different adhesive hooks and strips have different weight limits. To figure out which work best, start by weighing your picture.

Pull out your bathroom scale and take note of your weight. Step off, grab the picture and get back on. Take the new total and subtract your weight. The outcome is the weight of the picture. Easy as pie.

Fhmvs23 Pk 06 15 Hangheavypicture2Family Handyman

Step 2

Choose the hanging method

Command hooks

There are a few versions of Command hooks available, which can hold pictures ranging from a half-pound to eight pounds. In any case, Command hooks can be used for D rings, wires, saw-toothed or even keyhole hangers. These stick to multiple surfaces.

3m Command White Utility Hooks Ecomm Acehardware.comvia merchant

Command hanging strips

Command picture hanging strips come in varying sizes as well, from four to 20-lb. hanging capacity. They don’t require a hanger since you’re attaching the strips to the frame, then sticking the frame to the wall. They come right off the wall by pulling down and toward the wall.

3m Command White Large Picture Hanging Strips Ecomm Acehardware.comvia merchant

Step 3

Mark the spot

Once you’ve purchased hanger or strip, mark the spot where you want the picture. Position it about 57 to 62 inches from the floor, or around eye level.

Have a partner hold the picture where you want it while you stand back and get a feel for it. Adjust it to your liking, then mark the location on the wall.

For Command hanging strips, use a laser level or traditional bubble level and draw a line to guide you when attaching the frame to the wall. Once you’ve stuck the frame to the wall, you can adjust it a little, but it’s easier if you get it right the first time.

Fhmvs23 Pk 06 15 Hangpicturewithoutnails3Family Handyman

Step 4

Attach the hangers

Clean the wall where you want to hang the picture. Follow the instructions on the package to attach the hanger to the wall.

For Command picture hanging strips, attach the strips to the frame first, then press to the wall. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for letting the strips settle on the wall before hanging the picture.

Fhmvs23 Pk 06 15 Hangpicturewithoutnails4Family Handyman

Step 5

Level the picture

Once you’ve hung the picture, check the top of the frame to make sure it’s level.

Fhmvs23 Pk 06 15 Hangheavypicture7Family Handyman

Fantastic work! Now when you’re ready to move on from that space, or just want to change it up, it’s easy removal and requires little if any clean up.