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How to Hang a Shadow Box (or Heavy Picture Frame)

Learn how to hang a shadow box or heavy picture frame securely every time. We’ll show you how to use a combination of 2 inexpensive picture hanging kits to hang almost any heavy wall decor!

Have you ever bought wall decor without a plan for how to hang it? Guilty! We bought letterpress drawers to display our son’s rock collection and had to figure out how to hang such a heavy shadow box.

This is an especially common predicament if you shop thrifted or salvaged home goods. Typically, new products are lightweight because it is made with pressed wood. In contrast, antique and vintage home decor is much more likely to be made with heavy solid wood (after all, isn’t that partly why we thrift?!).

How to Hang Heavy Wall Decor

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Plus, depending on the item, a hanging mechanism may not be included (such as the letterpress drawers which were not originally designed to be hung).

Hanging Heavy Wall Decor

It can be intimidating to hang heavy wall decor. After all, no one wants to ruin the product they just purchased or the walls in their home.

Before we jump into the tutorial, let’s discuss a few picture hanging products to have on hand. Once you have these kits in your toolbox, you’ll be able to hang most any heavy item.

Tools to Hang Shadow Boxes and Heavy Wall Decor

Picture Hanging Kit with Wire

This picture hanging kit includes the necessities for mounting hanging hardware to heavy, large frames and shadow boxes. I like this kit because it includes 65′ of wire which is enough wire to hang several pieces of wall decor.

Picture Hanging Kit with Hooks

If you’d like to hang the shadow box on the wall with nails, this is a great hanging kit. Nails are a great hanging option because they cause the least amount of damage to drywall. However, it the nail and hook combo must meet weight requirements. This kit includes nail-installed wall hooks that can hold up to 100lbs.

Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors

If you’d like to hang the shadow box on the wall with screws, this is my favorite hanging solution. Plus, you don’t need a drill! These self-drilling anchors are installed with a screwdriver.

Anchors are typically the strongest and most-secure hanging option, but they do cause more damage to drywall. Typically, I select an anchor when people might apply force to the object (such as curtain rods, shelves, coat hooks, command centers, letterpress drawers, message boards, etc.)

How to Hang a Shadow Box (or Heavy Picture Frame)

How to Hang a Shadow Box (or Heavy Picture Frame)

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Learn how to hang a shadow box or heavy picture frame securely every time. We'll show you how to use a combination of 2 inexpensive picture hanging kits to hang almost any heavy wall decor!

Materials

Instructions

    1. Place the shadow box facedown on the floor.
    2. Measure a minimum of 3 inches from the top edge (on each side of the frame) to determine where to attach the D-Ring hanger (from the hanging kit with wire). Measure for the d-ring hangers
    3. Mark the location identified in step #2 with a pencil.
    4. Place the hanger at the pencil mark.
    5. Use a screwdriver to secure the D-Ring hangers to the frame (screws included in the hanging kit with wire).
    6. Thread the picture hanging wire through the D-Ring hangers.
    7. Cut the wire at approximately 2.5 times the distance between the D-Rings (enough wire to create a loop and overlap the ends).
    8. Thread the ends of the wires through the crimper (included in the hanging kit with wire). Slide a crimper over the picture hanging wire
    9. Have someone else pull the ends of the wire tight, while you use pliers to compress the crimper. Use pliers to crimp the picture hanging wire
    10. Test the tautness of the wire by lifting the frame with the wire. If the wire does not loosen, the crimper is secure. If not, repeat step #9.
    11. Hammer 2 or 3 hooks into the wall (included in the hanging kit with hooks) using the correct hook, based on weight (see hook weights here).
    12. OR, as an alternative to step #11*, screw in 2 self-drilling wall anchors. Leave the screw slightly unscrewed in order to slide the hanging wire behind it.
    13. Have someone else hold the shadow box or frame up to the wall, while you loop the wire over each hook or screw.

Notes

*Select options 11 or 12 based on the overall weight of the frame or shadow box. Compare the weight to the max weights for hooks and drywall anchors.

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