How I Hang Wall Art and Mirrors Instantly

How to make a picture hanging gadget so you will be able to hang wall art, mirrors and more perfectly level and in minutes. Yes, it can be done when you make a picture hanging gadget. 

When making over the small powder room in my home I wanted to hang a decorative mirror over the sink vanity.


How to Hang Art and Mirrors on a Wall Instantly

It is kind of glam, kind of cottage…just my style.  It is a little unexpected with the mix of silver and gold as well as with the industrial light above it, but I love it!  The best part – no need to buy something new.

To hang it on the wall I got my trusty picture hanging gadget from my tool box.


What is my picture hanging gadget?  It is the white paint stick in the photo above.


It lets me instantly hang art or in this case a mirror perfectly level without the need of another person’s help.


I could not get a photo of me actually using the gadget, but there it is above the top right hand side of the mirror. It has a nail  on the bottom that is hooked to the hook on the back of the frame.

How To Make A Picture Hanging Gadget

Here are the steps to make and use a picture hanging gadget.

I made mine using 3 paint stirring sticks that I duct taped together.

Picture Hanging Trick using an easy to make gadget

supplies needed:

  • 3 paint stirring sticks
  • Duct Tape
  • Nail or Screw
  • Hammer

Step 1. Hammer the nail about 1-inch from the bottom of the taped-together paint stirring sticks so that half of the nail is on one side and the tip is halfway out the other side.  You want to make sure the nail is straight and snug in the wood.

An option: A reader, Pat commented that using a screw works better It stays more firmly in the stick, where the nail will eventually loosen and “screw up” your attempts to make everything level.

How To Use The Picture Hanging Gadget

When hanging a piece of art or a mirror on the wall that has one center hook on the back.

Picture Hanging Trick using an easy to make gadget

Step 1 – Hook the nail head end on the gadget onto the hook or picture hanging wire on the back of the frame.


Step 2 – Hold the top of the picture hanging gadget with the frame hanging from it and position the frame on the wall where you want it.


Step 3 –  Tap the center upper portion of the frame. This will press the tip of the nail into the wall leaving a mark on the wall exactly where you need it.

Step 4 – Remove the gadget, hammer a nail into your marked hole, and hang your frame or artwork.

Works perfectly – every time.

NOTE: The gadget stays intact with the nail – you never remove the nail from it.

The nail that is in the gadget when you make it stays in the gadget. It is not the nail used to hang the frame, it is used to mark a hole for exact placement.  You tap to make a hole exactly where you need it.

The nail on the gadget makes the hole in the wall, once it is removed you will see a nail hole in the wall.  That hole is where you put a nail or picture hanger to hang the frame.

  • If you are using a hook style hanger, (shown in second photo of this post) place the bottom of the hook where the hole is, then hammer it into the wall.  If you don’t, your item will be lower than you want it because of the length of the hook.

How to hang and level art and mirrors that have two hooks on the back:

When hanging an item with two hooks, if it is large and heavy, you may need a second set of hands to help.

Step 1 – Figure out where you want to hang the frame or item.

Step 2 – Hook the gadget to the back hook on one side of your frame and attach it in the same way as shown above.

Step 3 – Once one side is attached to the wall, hook up opposite side with the gadget and then place a bubble level along the top of the frame.

Step 4 – Move the gadget with the frame attached up and down along the wall until the the bubble is centered on the level, then tap the front of the frame with the hammer.

Step 5 – Have someone else hold the frame while you hammer in the nail or hook into the hole the gadget made in the wall. Hang the art or mirror.

Picture Hanging Trick using an easy to make gadget

How to hang larger pieces of wall art:

I made a larger picture hanging gadget using a 5 gallon paint bucket stirring stick.  It is the perfect thickness and length for hanging items that are bigger in scale. It is the one I used to hang the mirror.

I have tried many other picture hanging methods – tape, pencil marks, paper transfer, but none work as well and as quickly as this little picture hanging gadget does.  It is one tool that will always be in my toolbox.

Do you have any tricks to hang wall art, photos, and other stuff on your walls?

More Wall Hanging Ideas

Have you seen how I hang and layer frames to create a 3D gallery wall?


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  1. Hi Diane, I love this idea for hanging things (and have used it for many years.) But I would recommend using a screw in the sticks rather than a nail. It stays more firmly in the stick, where the nail will eventually loosen and “screw up” your attempts to make everything level. Thanks for sharing this great tip for your readers who didn’t know how easy hanging thins could be!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Excellent idea Pat. Thanks for taking the time to share it. I will update the post to include using a screw.

  2. I was wondering if there was and easier way to hang small objects in varying shapes in a line low on the wall?

    Thanks for the tool, can’t wait to try this.

    Thanks Diane!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rosie – I would use the hanging tool to hang everything exactly where you want each item. To get them in a line, I would use a bubble level and painter’s tape ( buy in the paint dept at paint or home improvement stores). To make sure your line is straight, use the bubble level and then run the painter’s tape along the top of the level. You may have to repeat this a few times if you have a long wall. Once the tape is level on the wall, use it as your guide to hang the various shaped items as you envision. Once all are hung, remove the tape. No damage or pencil marks on the wall. I hope this helps you out. Thanks for reading.

  3. Julie Caso says:

    Let me just say you have TOTALLY gotten me out of my creative & decorating funk today!
    I came across your blog (website) after looking ways to hack decorating supplies/ideas …(ie: magazine file folder ideas cheap with some creative panache!).
    ANYWHO – you have an ingenious way and skill of “dumbing things dwn” for people like me who are either very Visual Learners that need images & instructions to start – finish a project ANY PROJECT or creative outlet, idea rather, for same.
    AND you provide most short, simple, & easiest explanations for all your projects, crafts, tutorials, et al.
    * THAT IS BY FAR ONE OF BIGGEST & HEART FELT COMPLIMENTS I have given to few so deserving people.
    You, my friend, have really made a tremendous difference in a way you may not understand, but I applaude you with the new found God-given (Diane provided ;-) ) abition & renewed zest fr me…I was in quite the funk these last 2 days…
    I am soooo pleased to find your site and EVERYTHING you have to share / offer. It renewed my creative juices.

  4. This is a fantastic idea, After I read this , I acquired some paint sticks . I had a new mirror to hang by the front door… With the help of my husband , we used your idea. With a modification….. The mirror had the kind of side hooks that takes two hangers to be placed in the wall , so…. We used two. , long paint stirrer ‘s with a screw ( instead of nail ). Then , We TAPPED the sticks to the back. ( to stabilize the sticks )

  5. We just moved into our new home and luckily, I found this fabulous gadget prior to hanging my pictures. I love it! My husband thinks it is pretty cool and encouraged me to thank you for your idea.
    My sister helped me hang some of my art and she is a believer too – I will help her make one when she moves into her new home at the end of the summer.

  6. Laura | Zurleys says:

    Absolute genius – We’ve got so many little dents in the wall from failing to put things up in the right place the first time around!

  7. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I really, really needed this! I felt like an idiot trying to hang a few things. And I am at the point that I want, been trying to decide about framing my bathroom mirror finally….. but decided to do with your second floor bathroom make over way. I don’t really have what I need, but still thinking about using some furring strips.

    Do you think that will work?

  8. Christine says:

    Oh, this is nice.

    I can hang single things just fine, but things with double hooks, or those little loop/rings you’re supposed to use two nails in? I’ve fought with them.
    One of the tricks that HAS made my life a bit easier, is to put painters tape across the back, from loop to loop. Mark the tape. Then put the tape on the wall where you want it to be and put your nails into the marks.
    The thing is, if it has two loops or needs two hooks, studs are probably a good idea. This is where I struggle. Got a lot of heavy things!
    I’m adding this to my arsenal of brilliant ideas.

  9. Pam Fulford says:

    Here you go again with those brilliant ideas…so so creative. I have got to make me one of these..hanging pictures is one thing most people hate to do…You have come to the rescue once again. If you could put all your knowledge in a would blow the market up. Thanks for sharing my creative friend..

  10. Charlotte says:

    WOW!! You have just made my life so much easier…I have a few pics I need to hang and your method might save my marriage. My husband hates to hang pictures for me…..Thanks.

  11. This is huge – incredible idea. And LOVE the mirror with everything else. It’s perfect! Love your blog too.

  12. This is so smart! Congrats on winning the vote!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Debbie – Thanks XO

      1. "E" Bonavire says:

        CLEVER CLEVER CLEVER…..Love how simple & easy it is to use & make….can you say SHARK TANK!!! Get a patten on this….

  13. This is wonderful. Now people won’t think I hung my pictures while drunk! Now matter how much time and thought I put into the project, my pictures are still off kilter. This should do the trick. Thanks so much for rescuing me:)

  14. you have one of the most reader friendly, informative and inspiring blogs I have read in a long time..thank you thank you thank you

  15. Wow, what a great tip! Thanks, Diane!

  16. AARGH…I just purchased some picture hanging gizmo I saw on HSN. I wish I had seen your post first. It’s still in the box, unopened…I should send it back.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Denise –

      It probably works well, but the paint stick gadget is practically free and works great. Your gadget may have its own level on it or a laser line. Sometimes simple is better to get the job done.

  17. Genius!!! I am making one today! Love your blog :)

  18. I have the same thing! I have used if for about 8 years. I saw it on some old HGTV show with Sabrina. But I used a screw through one paint stirrer, but works the same. It was fun to see someone else using the same thing – it is a total life saver when hanging pictures.

  19. Very nice makeover, love the mirror with the clock knobs, I have two of those will have to look around to see where I have them I also love the light and the color is just adorable!

  20. Cindy Lyon says:

    So clever! I am definitely stealing this idea!

  21. Oh my goodness…this is ingenious! Truly one of the best darn ideas I have seen in a while – I Love it! Thanks for sharing this great little tip!