Framing And Hanging Oil Paintings
Oil paintings aren’t put behind glass like watercolor paintings, but oftentimes they are framed before being
Some artists choose to paint all sides of visible canvas so that the painting is meant to be hung without a
frame, but most paintings have raw white edges that can have paint drips and/or staples on them.
Thus, most times it makes sense to frame an oil painting (unless you purposely want that raw, fresh from the
artist’s studio look). Also, sometimes hanging a painting without a frame will eventually do damage to the painting
if the stretcher bars are not sturdy enough.
Usually though, the choice to frame an oil painting is made as a way to make the painting seem more finished.
The frame makes an enormous difference in how a person views and interprets the painting.
A thin, understated white frame (if the painting is against a white wall, especially) will make the painting
seem finished without drawing attention away from the artwork itself. If you don’t think the painting needs any
additional features and want the viewer to only focus on the art, this is a good choice.
But sometimes a larger, more prominent frame will add a lot to the overall appearance of the painting. Sometimes
the color of the frame will bring out similar colors in the painting and make the whole thing seems brighter.
Additionally, a large, extravagant frame will make the painting seem more important and significant (especially
for small paintings, which may get lost on the wall without a frame). The right frame can really compliment and
reinforce what you want your painting to say.
Once you choose the right frame for your painting, you’ll want to hang it. Hanging a painting properly is
important because if you don’t, the painting could fall off the wall and get damaged.
To hang, you’ll need two eye hooks, picture wire, and a hook. Sometimes everything comes together in one set,
specifically for the purposes of hanging art. The wire and the hook should be sturdy enough to handle something
twice the weight of your painting and will say so on the packaging, so make sure you know the weight of your
painting before going to buy them.
Screw each of the eyehooks into the left and right vertical stretcher bars about one fourth of the way down.
Don’t screw them in all the way; half an inch is good enough. Screwing them in too far might weaken the stretcher
bar. Next, cut a piece of wire that is the width of the painting plus about eight inches extra.
Thread the wire through one eye hook, with about three inches (almost half the extra length) hanging out, and
wrap those three inches back around the wire in a tight corkscrew. Do the same on the other side but make sure the
wire isn’t too taut. Leave about an inch or so of slack.
Once that’s done, all you need to do is put the hook in the wall and hang the picture so that it’s centered and
feels sturdy. If the painting is especially big or has a center stretcher bar, you may want to use more than one
hook. And you’re done!