How to hang pictures straight without a level

If you’re always looking for ways to make your home more stylish and inviting. But let’s face it, hanging pictures can be a real pain – especially if you don’t have a level! Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to help you hang your pictures straight, without all the hassle.

hang pictures straight without a level

Hanging pictures straight is essential for achieving an aesthetically pleasing and balanced look in your home or office. While using a level is the traditional method, there are times when you may not have a level at hand or prefer to rely on alternative techniques. In this article, we will explore various methods and tips to hang pictures straight without a level. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a novice decorator, these techniques will help you achieve picture-perfect results.

Importance of Hanging Pictures Straight

Properly hanging pictures straight can significantly enhance the overall appearance of your living space. Straight pictures add a sense of harmony and balance to the room, elevating its visual appeal. Crooked or misaligned pictures, on the other hand, can create a disorganized and distracting atmosphere. By following the techniques outlined below, you can ensure that your pictures are hung straight and bring a sense of professionalism to your home decor.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before we dive into the methods, let’s gather the necessary tools and materials for hanging pictures straight without a level:

  1. Measuring tape
  2. Pencil or marker
  3. Picture hanging tool (optional)
  4. Smartphone with a leveling app (optional)
  5. DIY water level (alternative method)
  6. String and weight (alternative method)
  7. Adhesive hooks (optional)
  8. Hammer or drill
  9. Picture hooks or nails
  10. Wall anchors (if needed)
  11. Spirit level (optional)

By having these tools and materials ready, you’ll be prepared to hang your pictures straight using different techniques depending on your preference and the available resources.

Preparing the Wall

Before hanging your pictures, it’s essential to prepare the wall properly to ensure a stable and secure installation. Follow these steps to prepare the wall:

Choosing the Right Location

Decide where you want to hang your pictures and select the appropriate wall. Consider factors such as visibility, lighting, and the surrounding decor. It’s also crucial to check for any electrical wires or plumbing behind the wall to avoid damaging them during installation.

Marking the Wall

Using a pencil or marker, mark the desired location on the wall where you want to hang your picture. Take measurements to determine the exact height and positioning of the picture. These markings will serve as your reference points during the hanging process.

Hanging Pictures with a Measuring Tape

If you have a measuring tape available, you can use it as a reliable tool to hang pictures straight without a level. Follow these steps:

Measuring and Marking the Hanging Point

Measure the desired distance from the floor or any reference point you prefer. Make a light mark on the wall at this measurement using a pencil or marker. This mark will indicate the bottom edge of your picture frame.

Next, measure the distance from the top of the picture frame to the hanging point, usually located on the back of the frame. Transfer this measurement to the wall, starting from the bottom mark. Make a second mark at this height.

Checking for Levelness

To ensure the picture hangs straight, use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the distance between the top mark and the ceiling. Repeat this measurement on both sides of the mark. If the measurements are equal, your picture is level. If they differ, make adjustments by slightly moving the top mark up or down until the measurements match.

Using the Picture Hanging Tool

A picture hanging tool is a handy device designed to simplify the process of hanging pictures straight. Here’s how you can use it:

Understanding the Picture Hanging Tool

The picture hanging tool typically consists of a ruler with built-in hooks or pins. It also includes a level bubble to ensure accurate alignment. Familiarize yourself with the tool and its features before using it.

Using the Picture Hanging Tool

Place the tool on top of your picture frame, ensuring that the hooks or pins align with the back of the frame. Hold the tool against the wall, making sure it is level. Once the tool is level, press it against the wall firmly, leaving a mark where the hooks or pins will go. Remove the tool and install the appropriate hooks or nails at the marked positions. Finally, hang your picture on the installed hooks or nails.

Using a smartphone as a leveling tool

Many smartphones now come equipped with built-in leveling apps. Open the leveling app on your phone, place it on top of the picture frame, and adjust its position until the app indicates that it is level.

Alternative Methods

If you don’t have a measuring tape or a picture hanging tool, don’t worry. There are alternative methods you can use to hang pictures straight:

Using a DIY Water Level

A DIY water level can be created using a long, clear plastic tube filled with water. Attach the tube to the wall using tape or adhesive, making sure it’s level. The water inside the tube will self-level, indicating a straight line. Use this line as a reference when hanging your pictures.

Using a String and Weight

Tie a string to a weight, such as a washer or a small bag filled with coins. Hold the string against the wall at the desired height, ensuring it is taut. The weight will naturally create a straight line. Mark the wall along the string’s edge and use this mark as a reference for hanging your pictures.

Eyeballing the Alignment

For a quick and straightforward method, you can simply rely on your eye to judge the alignment. Step back and visually assess the positioning of the picture. Make adjustments as needed until it appears straight to your eye. While this method may not be as precise as others, it can be effective for small and lightweight pictures.

Tips and Tricks for Hanging Pictures Straight

To enhance your picture hanging skills and achieve the best results, consider the following tips and tricks:

Using Adhesive Hooks

If you prefer to avoid making holes in your walls, adhesive hooks can be a great alternative. They are easy to install and remove without causing any damage. Ensure the hooks are level and capable of supporting the weight of your picture before hanging it.

Adjusting the Position

To fine-tune the positioning of your picture, slide it slightly left or right while it’s hanging on the hooks. This adjustment can help achieve better alignment within the space and with other surrounding objects.

Grouping Pictures

Consider grouping multiple pictures together to create a visually appealing arrangement. When hanging a series of pictures, ensure they are evenly spaced and aligned. Use a measuring tape or a ruler to maintain consistency.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While hanging pictures, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that can result in crooked or unbalanced installations. Be mindful of the following:

Not Preparing the Wall Properly

Failing to prepare the wall adequately can lead to unstable installations and damage to the wall or the picture frame. Always clean the wall surface, patch any holes or cracks, and use appropriate hardware to secure the picture.

Ignoring Levelness

Neglecting to check for levelness can result in pictures that appear tilted or uneven. Take the time to ensure your pictures are level by using the techniques outlined in this article.

Using Incorrect Hardware

Using inadequate or incorrect hardware can compromise the stability and safety of your picture hanging. Ensure you choose the right picture hooks, nails, or wall anchors based on the weight and size of your picture.


Hanging pictures straight without a level is an achievable task with the right techniques and tools. Whether you opt for the measuring tape method, a picture hanging tool, or alternative approaches, precision and attention to detail are key. By following the steps outlined in this article and implementing the tips provided, you can confidently hang pictures that enhance the aesthetics of your space.


Q1: Can I hang pictures straight without using any tools?

Yes, you can rely on your eye to judge the alignment and hang pictures straight. However, using tools or alternative methods can provide more accuracy.

Q2: Are adhesive hooks strong enough to support heavy pictures?

Adhesive hooks come in various strengths. Choose hooks specifically designed to support the weight of your pictures and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

Q3: Can I use a smartphone app as a substitute for a level?

Yes, there are smartphone apps available that use the device’s sensors to mimic a level. However, their accuracy may vary, so it’s recommended to use a dedicated level or one of the alternative methods mentioned in this article.

Q4: How can I fix a crooked picture after it’s been hung?

If you notice a picture is crooked after hanging it, gently remove it from the hooks or nails and make necessary adjustments. Use a level or the measuring tape method to ensure it is straight before rehanging.

Q5: Can I hang pictures without making holes in the wall?

Yes, you can use adhesive hooks or other removable mounting options that don’t require making holes. These can be suitable for lightweight pictures or situations where you prefer not to leave permanent marks on the walls.

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