How to Hang Things on Drywall
You can do this! And we’re here to help.
Once you know the fundamentals of how to hang things on drywall, you can do everything from personalize your space with artwork, add entertainment like dart boards or a TV mount, or even get a better night’s sleep with blinds and curtains. To give yourself every option, check out our other page on how to fix drywall — that way you can move things around whenever you want to!
How to Hang Things on Drywall
How to Use Drywall Anchors
Most of the time if you want to know how to screw into drywall, you’re going to need to know how to install drywall anchors. Drywall is very sturdy on its surface, but not so much when you introduce weight on a small pinpointed area. There are two types we like to use at Fixer: The plastic anchor and the toggle bolt / molly bolt.
How to use a drywall anchor made of plastic: This is the kind that comes included with light- and mid-weight items that hang on the wall. It works by creating tension against the sides of the hole, and opening up in the back when the screw is inserted, so that it can’t fit back out of the hole. Simply drill a hole the size of the widest part of the anchor before its lip; you want to slide the anchor into the hole and have the lip keep it flush to the wall. Then screw your screw into the anchor, but leave the screw sticking out a tad further so you can still hang something on it.
That’s how to use plastic drywall anchors, but if you need a little more strength you’ll want to use a toggle bolt or molly bolt. These work on hollow surfaces like drywall or behind plaster lathe by opening up behind the wall like wings. Toggle bolts are the answer for how to hang plants from the ceiling, how to hang heavy shelves on drywall, or anything that is heavy or will get tugged on like a towel bar — but they’re a little trickier.
- Start by squeezing your toggle bolt closed, and find a drill bit that is the same size as that widest part. It will be much bigger than the screw, but you need it to fit all the way into the wall to do its job.
- Once you have the hole drilled, thread your bolt through the item you’re hanging (don’t forget this piece!) and then through the toggle. The flat part of the toggle should be facing the item/bolt. Screw just far enough so the bolt pokes past the toggle by half an inch or so.
- Fold the toggle onto the bolt and put it into the wall. Press it all the way back and wiggle it a bit so you know it’s all the way through and expanded.
- Now pull forward towards yourself while you tighten the screw. It won’t feel tight against the wall until the very end, when you’re creating tension between the toggle and the head of the bolt.
There are lots of types of anchors, but now you know how to put in drywall anchors that can get you almost anything you need. Next we’ll show you how to remove drywall anchors!
How to Remove Drywall Anchors
We’ve shown you how to insert drywall anchors, but there comes a time when you’ll want to know how to remove wall anchors from drywall. Start by identifying what kind of anchor it is.
How to remove plastic drywall anchors: If it can’t be removed with pliers alone, try screwing in the screw just a few turns. You want it to grip the anchor, but not expand it in the wall. Then take your pliers and try tugging out the anchor. If that still doesn’t work, you can trim the lip of the plastic off with a utility knife and either push the anchor into the wall or simply trim enough off to spackle over it.
How to remove metal drywall anchors: If it has a philips head, you may be able to simply unscrew it from the wall. If it looks like a normal screw head, it may be a toggle bolt. In that case pull the head of the screw towards you while you turn it counterclockwise and eventually the toggle should fall off and into the wall cavity.
If you’ve tried these tricks, and you still can’t figure out how to remove a drywall anchor, don’t be afraid to just create a bigger hole by digging it out or trying to tap it through in the wall; either way you’ve got a hole to patch, right? Oh! And if you need it, here are some tips on how to fix small holes in drywall.
How to Hang Art
The first step to knowing how to hang art is to start with the lightweight stuff. Let’s talk about how to hang canvas art as a starting point; this assumes that the piece in question is under, say, 3 pounds — but that’s a rough number. Most items can be hung on drywall with just a 1-2 inch nail, as long as it gets hammered in at a 45 degree angle (pointing up). For a little added reassurance, you can use a typical picture hook, which will keep that angle intact, and provide some protection against tearing out of the drywall.
Pick the perfect spot for your piece in whatever way you can. There is advice in every direction across the internet, but all that matters is where you think it looks best! Mark the top or bottom edge of the art when you have it in the right spot with painter’s tape, so you can measure the distance to the nail placement.
Now, measure on the art between where the hook will go (either under the mounting bracket, or at the highest stretched point of the hanging wire) and whichever edge you marked on the wall. You’re going to transfer that measurement to the wall that you marked with painter’s tape. Remember that this is the hanging point, so if you’re using a hook, be sure to line up the bottom of the hook and not the point where the nail goes in.
Hammer in your nail, and enjoy your new masterpiece. Now that you know how to hang artwork of any kind, we can move on to the bigger stuff.
How to Hang Heavy Objects on Drywall
OK, earlier we explained how to use drywall anchors and how to hang art that’s lightweight; combine those two skills and you know how to hang something heavy on drywall! The only new addition is a piece of mounting hardware called the French cleat.
The French cleat helps distribute the weight of the piece being hung. If you want to know how to hang heavy wall art, maybe how to hang metal wall art or how to hang wood art on walls, they’re a great option.
The top of the cleat gets attached to your artwork, parallel to and a few inches below the top edge. Set the bottom piece of the cleat in place, and measure the distance between the holes and the top edge of the artwork, so you know where to drill your holes.
Head over to the wall where you plan to mount the item; this assumes you already marked your desired placement. Measure the distance to where your screws will go and pick the appropriate anchor for the weight of your object. Start with pilot holes to check for studs (or use a stud finder, depending on how precise your placement preferences are). If you’re on a stud you can use wood screws, but for any other holes you’ll want a good anchor. Check out how to use drywall anchors above for more details, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll want to use toggle bolts to hold your French cleat in place.
Once the wall side is anchored and level, simply place the piece on top and check that it’s level too. If you came here searching for how to hang a dartboard cabinet: Is it cheesy to call bullseye now?
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How to Hang Curtains
When you’re hanging curtains, the easiest way to ensure straight and even placement is to create a template for yourself out of something you have around the house, like cardboard. Using this method, you can then figure out how to hang curtains on a ceiling, around a closet opening or window, or really anywhere.
Mark your template so you know which way is up, left, and right, and put holes in it where you will place the screws. Use this to mark your wall and then check with a level that the marks are plumb so you only have to drill once. Drill your pilot holes to find out the material of the wall you’re drilling into, and select your fasteners accordingly. Attach your brackets, thread the rod through the curtain, and place it on the brackets. Well done!
Now, a lot of people want to know how to hang curtains without drilling, and there are two reasons for that:
- If you don’t own a drill, you can cheat a little and make a pilot hole with a hammer and nail
- If you want to know how to hang curtains in rental apartments, you have 2 options–
- Drill the holes anyway but learn how to patch small holes in drywall for when you move out! Go out there and live your best curtain life.
- Use a tension rod to hang your curtains — note this only works if you have an inner edge like a window frame where you can create the tension.
Now you know how to hang curtains in an apartment, in a house, on a wall or with a mouse. Dr. Seuss would be proud!
How to Install Blinds
First you want to decide where you’d like your blinds to sit — this helps determine how to install window blinds. They often sit inside the window frame, but they can also be mounted on the wall directly above or to the sides of the window or door you’re facing. The brackets that come with the blinds can be used in any of these positions.
A note on the brackets that come with the blinds: These are fairly universal for horizontal blinds, or at least they tend to follow the same rough shape. So this should also tell you how to install cordless blinds, how to install mini blinds, and even how to install faux wood blinds.
Position your brackets so that they’re about an inch inside the blinds themselves, and mark the location of the holes on the wall or window frame where you’re going to screw them in. If you’re mounting them on the wall, make sure that you check that they’re level. Measure twice, drill once! These brackets come with several holes, and you won’t need them all. Pick the holes that suit the surface you’re working with.
Using the appropriate size drill bit, drill your pilot holes, and then screw the brackets into place. Once they’re secured, all you have to do is snap them into place with a slight rotation, and clip in the wand if applicable.
How to Fix Blinds
Learning how to fix broken blinds could save you a security deposit, or help you forgive a furry friend — either way, within 15 minutes they’ll be as good as new. The basic idea is to take the last slat and move it up to where the broken one is, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got at least an extra inch or so on the length of your blinds.
- Start by removing the pull caps on the bottom rail, and untying the knots they conceal
- Take a picture of how everything is strung together, so you can refer to it later if you need to
- Slide the cords out of the slats until you reach the broken one. Remove the broken one and replace it with the bottommost, unbroken slat
- Restring all of the slats
- When you get to the bottom, you’ll want to hide the last “rung” of the ladder by moving the bottom rail up one rung.
- You can hide the unused bottom rung in the bottom rail, retie your pull cord knots, and replace your caps
Now that you know how to fix window blinds, what are you going to do with all that security deposit money?