Hanging paintings: Dos and donts
It is easy to send off a painting to a framer to get it ready for an exhibition, but not so easy to make sure that you don’t drive the hanging committe crazy. Or worse, have your painting rejected because it has been wired up on the back with inappropriate and unsafe materials.
When you talk to your framer it is important to make sure they understand what you needs are. Often they only frame photographs or similar and do not know the requirements of exhibitions.
Case in point. We were recently hanging the paintings for the Malvern Art Society exhibition. Several of the works were strung with very thin wire, others used weak rings, other had the wire far too loose, and others used materials that would stretch and break considering the weight of the painting.
So, what should you use and how should you wire up a painting?
First. Never use the fabric-based string. It stretches and breaks and for this point I am speaking from experience, which cost me a frame as it broke when it hit the floor of the gallery. I was lucky that it didn’t hit anyone.
Second. Do not allow the wire to be too loosely strung. Galleries do not use picture rails so there is no need to allow for them
Third. Always make sure that the wire is for a painting heavier than yours. Go stronger, thicker and stainless steel – never thin copper or gold wire. This, again, will stretch and break.
Fourth. If you decide not to use clamps on your wire (which ensure it nevercomes undone), make sure that you tie and wind it on sufficiently and then put tape over it to protect the hands of the hanging team from cuts and scrapes.
Below are examples of what I am talking about.
There are a variety of D-rings and wires on the market for hanging paintings. These are available at most hardward stores. They have hanging weights on them so choose a weight limit ABOVE that of your painting.
Putting your own D-rings and wires on is an easy job so why not make sure that your painting will make it to the wall of the next exhibition you enter. If you don’t think you can do it yourself, take some samples to your framer so that they know what is required. It will make your hanging committee happy, and in the long run, it will keep your hard creative work safer.