How to Hang Pictures on Plaster Walls

Decorating your home with personal photos and artwork can transform it into a warm and inviting space. However, plaster walls can pose a challenge when it comes to hanging these pieces due to their brittle nature. Neglecting to take extra care may result in cracking or crumbling the wall. If you’re wondering how to hang pictures on plaster walls without causing any damage, you’re in the right place. This post will guide you through using the correct tools, techniques, and preparations to deck your walls while preserving their integrity. Let’s dive in!

Gather Your Supplies

To start, you’ll need to assemble a few important tools to ensure the project goes smoothly. Organize your picture hanging kit, a pencil, a level, a hammer, plasterboard anchors, and a stud finder nearby so they’re all ready when you need them. You should also consider the weight of the picture you’re hanging. Heavier pieces may require additional anchors or positioning over a stud for added support.

Tools needed to hang pictures on plaster walls

Prep the Wall

Properly prepping the plaster wall is crucial before hanging anything. Start by using your stud finder to locate the wood beam studs behind the plaster. Whenever possible, aim to hang your picture or artwork directly over studs. The wood provides much more strength and support than just the plaster alone. Studs are especially important for heavyweight canvas art or mirrors.

Once you’ve located the studs, determine exactly where you want your picture hung. Use a pencil to lightly mark the wall at the desired height. Grab your level and line it up with your pencil mark to ensure your line is perfectly straight and level.

Now comes the most critical step – pre-drilling holes for your anchors. Using a drill bit slightly smaller than your anchor size, carefully drill into the plaster. If you’re able to align over a stud, be sure to drill into the wood for maximum holding power. The plaster is prone to cracking, so apply gentle pressure and drill slowly.

With your holes pre-drilled, you can gently tap your plasterboard anchors into the holes. Take care not to over-torque or twist too hard since this can further damage the brittle plaster. The anchors should fit snugly without too much pressure. Once your anchors are in place, you’re ready for the final step.

Hanging the Picture

Now comes the fun part – finally hanging your picture! With your plasterboard anchors secure, you can attach your picture’s wire or hooks to the anchors. Carefully screw your picture-hanging hardware directly into the anchors until tight and flush against the wall.

Before simply sliding your picture over the hooks, take a moment to check that your anchors are properly aligned and spaced correctly for your frame’s hanging system. Hold up your artwork or photo to the wall over the anchors. Verify that the picture will be straight and level. If needed, make minor adjustments to the anchor positions on the wall.

Once you’ve confirmed proper alignment, gently place your picture frame onto the installed hooks. Let the anchors hold the weight, keeping the frame flush against the wall. Stand back and admire your work! Level artwork makes a huge impact on the look and feel of a room. If any cracks or holes occurred in the plaster during installation, fill them with spackle compound and let dry completely.

Hanging picture on plaster wall after prep

Other Recommended Maintenance

Maintaining the condition of your plaster walls after hanging pictures is not just about the initial installation but about ongoing care and checks to ensure their longevity.

Use High-Quality Materials

Start by choosing high-quality plasterboard anchors. These grip plaster securely without causing damage. Avoid less expensive plastic models that can degrade over time, losing their hold and potentially causing both wall damage and the risk of falling pictures.

Regular Inspections

Another important maintenance task is to periodically inspect your picture wires for signs of fraying and replace them as needed. Worn-out wires could suddenly snap, causing your picture to fall and potentially damage your wall or floor. You should also regularly check the stability of your frames by gently pulling on them to check for any looseness. Plaster can shift slightly over time due to temperature and humidity changes, which can loosen anchors. If any frames feel unsteady, tighten the screws or replace the anchors immediately to prevent the picture from falling.

Wall Care

It’s a good idea to occasionally inspect the plaster around your anchors for signs of stress or cracking. If you notice any cracks, even small ones, fill them with a plaster patch compound and smooth them out with a putty knife. Let it dry completely before painting over it to match your wall color.

When to Call a Professional

For larger and heavier items like mirrors or intricate gallery wall installations, consider engaging a professional installer. These experts have the required tools, materials, and experience to install hefty objects safely and efficiently on plaster walls. This prevents potential damage to your pictures and walls. They can also repair any cracks or holes that may have formed during the installation process. For homes with damaged or unstable plaster, a handyman can assess if the walls need reinforcement or smoothing before you start decorating.


With careful preparation and the right technique, you can safely hang pictures on your plaster walls without causing any damage. Remember to pre-drill holes, use suitable plasterboard anchors, locate studs for heavier items, and always be gentle. Regular maintenance will ensure you can enjoy your photos and artwork for many years to come. With a bit of care and knowledge, your creative décor visions can come to life, even on the most delicate of plaster surfaces. If you’re unsure of your wall’s stability or have any other questions, reach out to Infinity Inspection Services in Miami, Florida for expert inspection and guidance.