How to hang pictures without nails – 4 tricks to decorate without damage (2024)

A home would not be complete without decorations on the walls, helping to add a wonderful sense of personality to the space. However, if you are a renter, or are not confident knocking holes into your walls, you will know the struggle of trying to decorate without damage.

Luckily, there are several great alternatives to using nails when exploring how to hang pictures that don't require any DIY at all – even when hanging pictures on plaster walls.

From commercial hanging strips to strategic shelving, these are the best four ways to hang pictures without nails, according to professional handymen.

How to hang pictures without nails

There is no denying that hanging a picture with nails or screws is a lot sturdier than using strips and putty, however, these nail alternatives can work perfectly as long as your frame is light enough, or your tools are robust.

1. Command Strips

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(Image credit: Studio Atkinson)

By far the most popular way to hang pictures without nails is to use Command Strips. ‘These little guys are lifesavers for lighter pictures. Think of them like super strong double-sided tape that keeps your pictures hanging tight,’ says Jacob Rhodes, owner and chief engineer at TrueTac. ‘No matter the size of your picture, there's a command strip out there to hold it. And the best perk? They peel right off the wall without leaving a trace, so you can skip the whole patching-holes headache later.’

When using command strips to hang pictures, make sure you pick the right kind, as they often have varying weight limits. When mounting the strips, ensure the back of your frame and the wall is clean and dry first, and then stick the strips onto each so that the pull tab is facing downwards. This will make it easier to remove without damage later down the line.

Let the strips adhere for 24 hours before clicking the frame in place to prevent them from coming away from the surface prematurely.

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Command Medium Picture Hangers

Perfect for hanging items up to 10lbs (5kg)

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Command Large Picture Hangers

For medium sized frames and prints, these strips hold up to 15lb (7kg)

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Command 20 Lb Xl Heavyweight Picture Hangers

Perfect for larger frames weight up to 20lbs (9kg)

2. Try poster putty

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(Image credit: Nkuku)

If you only have very lightweight frames, or unframed prints and posters, poster putty (such as Gorilla Mounting Putty, at Walmart) is another great option that may be more affordable, continues Seamus Nally, CEO of TurboTenant.

‘If you live in a rental unit, you want to avoid putting holes in your walls as much as possible, so finding a way to hang pictures without using nails is helpful. If you are hanging unframed pictures, I find that poster putty often does the trick. Unframed pictures don’t weigh much, so they don’t need a strong type of hanging solution. For framed pictures, I would recommend command strips,’ he adds.

3. Picture ledges

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(Image credit: Sharps)

Picture ledges are another great way to display multiple pictures as an alternative to gallery walls, the need for drilling, suggests Jacob Rhodes, chief engineer. This method might limit how many pictures you should hang on a wall, however:

‘Picture ledges are like tiny shelves that let you hang pictures and knick-knacks without drilling holes. They're awesome for renters or anyone who wants to avoid wall damage, and they're super versatile for displaying pictures, plants, candles, or whatever you fancy. Plus, you can easily rearrange them for a fresh look.

‘Just keep in mind they can't hold super heavy stuff, might stick out a bit from the wall, and aren't the most secure for fragile items,’ he adds. ‘But overall, they're a fun and flexible way to add personality to your walls without any commitment.'

4. Make use of existing shelving

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(Image credit: Yester Home)

If you have lots of mounted shelving or bookshelves throughout your home you could decorate shelves to display pictures without the need to drill any more holes, adds Kristin Hintlian, co-owner of Bonsai Builders:

‘Maximizing existing shelves or installing floating shelves is a fantastic nail-free option. During a recent overhaul of a client's living room, we added floating shelves for displaying art. Customers appreciate that it minimizes wall damage while allowing for easy rotation of displayed items,’ she shares.

FAQs

Will Command Strips ruin walls?

Command Strips will only damage walls if they are not stuck on and removed correctly. When sticking command strips to your walls, ensure that the wall is clean and dry first before sticking the command strip on so that the pull tab is facing downwards. It is the downward pulling motion that helps to later release the adhesive.

When removing Command Strips, remove the picture from the wall carefully, then place one finger with firm pressure on the top of the strip. Pull the tab slowly and gently straight down (not towards you) and the adhesive will lift away. Simply remove the pressure when you feel most of the strip come away, and you should be left with a pristine wall.

Why do my Command Strips keep falling?

If your Command Strips keep coming away from the walls, it is because they are trying to stick in less-than-ideal conditions. If your room is very hot or humid, and there is moisture on the walls, the adhesive will not take. Similarly, if your walls are dirty or overly textured, there will not be a flat enough surface for it to stick and stay.

Hanging artwork without damaging walls is easy if you pick the right tools. That being said, it is usually always simpler and sometimes more secure to use nails. Before hanging pictures in a rental, consult with your landlord first – they might be happy for you to knock a few small nail holes into walls so long as you fill them in before you leave again. If not, there are always plenty of things to hang on walls that aren’t prints that may be easier to put up.

How to hang pictures without nails – 4 tricks to decorate without damage (2024)
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