How To Install Hanging Wire directly on a Canvas
An unframed canvas that has been painted around the sides can give a room a contemporary look that I love. I don't always frame my canvases. Sometimes, I continue my image around the sides and show the painting unframed. Not only because I like this look, but so that if a future owner chooses to frame it, they have the ability to choose a frame that fits well with the painting and their own decor, rather than a frame that I have chosen because it provides a uniform look to my display. Once a painting is finished and varnished, I install hanging wire to the back of the canvas so that a future owner can take it home and put it right up on the wall if they so choose.
When I first started painting with acrylics again, I was never sure I was installing hanging wire correctly, so I was grateful to find a local workshop on how to frame your own art. I find this method efficient and quick, but it is by no means the only way.
First, gather your supplies.
- Towel or blanket - I always lay a towel or soft blanket down under my work to protect the surface of my painting from being scratched or damaged in any way. (Be sure your varnish is completely cured before placing it down on the towel)
- a screwdriver - I like to use a ratcheting screwdriver with multiple size bits, but for this project, you will only need a Philips head screwdriver.
- wire cutters
- needle nose pliers
- framing wire, wood screws and D-rings - I use a lot of these, so I buy them in bulk, but if you are only doing one framing project, you can find everything you need in this kit from Ook. I purchase my D-rings and wire in bulk from Amazon - you can find the D-rings here, and the framing wire here.
Step one: Place your art face down on the towel or soft blanket and mark the spot where your D-rings will go. (It is important to be sure that your varnish is completely cured before you do this step! Each coat of varnish should have at least 24 hours to completely cure, but I would give it extra time to cure if the weather is humid. The hanging wire should be on the top 1/3rd of the painting. You don't need to get your calculator out to figure out the exact measurement, but you should definitely make sure that your D-rings are the same distance from the top on both sides. If one is a bit higher or lower than the other, then your painting will never hang straight. I use a ruler to be sure.
(A side note about D-rings: these are the hardware you will secure the hanging wire to. Some people use eye hook screws, but I prefer the D-rings because they lay flat against the back of the canvas, and they will swing back a bit as you are hanging it, making it easier to look behind the canvas to see the hook.)
Before screwing the D-rings into your canvas frame, first be sure the screw is not so long it will go all the way through the stretcher bar and pop out the front side of your painting. My husband tells me I really should drill a hole first, but I'm usually too impatient and don't want to hunt for the drill, so I use wood screws that have a pointy end. I haven't had trouble with wood splitting on canvas stretchers, but have had that happen on some cheap frames, so you might want to drill first to be on the safe side. I like to make sure I'm screwing in the D-ring with the hinge right at the edge of the stretcher bars.
Step two: Once your D-rings are in place, its time to thread the wire. This is best shown rather than described, so here is a video for you to follow along.
And that's all there is to it! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!