By Paul Dunwell, writing for EasyFrame
© Copyright EasyFrame 2019
What This Article is About
In ‘Frame Academy I’ we provided a run-down of essential terminology as a prelude to further ‘Frame Academy’ pieces that have been spanning more complex aspects of the dark art of picture-framing.
In ‘Frame Academy II’ we gave you a step-by-step idiot’s guide to making a picture frame. It served, alternatively, as a resource to help you understand the processes involved if you go to a 3rd party to have your frames made to your specifications.
In ‘Frame Academy III’ we ambitiously explained how to gild a frame and add an ostentatious touch to framed work that is already precious to you.
In ‘Frame Academy IV’ we retraced our steps a little and asked ‘Why would anybody bother with a frame?’ And ‘With so many options to choose from, what sort of framing solution should I be looking for?’
In ‘Frame Academy V’ we examined interesting things to do with old picture-frames.
In ‘Frame Academy VI’ we explained how to choose mat and moulding colours in the context of the work to be framed and the surroundings in which the framed work is to be hung.
In ‘Frame Academy VII’ we outlined how to hang a large and/or heavy artwork.
Now, in ‘Frame Academy VIII’, we will focus on hanging your picture at the correct height, something that takes into account not only aesthetics but ergonomics.
The problem is that most people hang their artwork and photography too high. Though, in all fairness, this is never going to be an exact science because one has to not only consider the dimensions of the artwork and the room in which it hangs (both of which are fixed) but the height of other items in the proximity of the work and the height of the viewers (neither of which are fixed).
Remember that your guests are always going to be of different heights (unless you are a modern-day Procrustes, and stretch your guests or cut off their legs to make them fit your beds – or, alternatively, to view your artwork at the right height!)
Solving that Problem
We are obviously left with a need to generate a rule-of-thumb. It may not suit everybody but the following makes sense.
- You should start by measuring the work to be hung (or re-hung!) Forget the front. Turn the work around so you are facing the flat back. You need to measure this. And, of course, it is easier to measure a flat surface because you are not confronted by mouldings etc on the irregular viewer-facing surface.
- You must now halve this number. So divide it by two. The product can be thought of as ‘Distance A’.
- Now, assuming that you have already got your hanging cord or similar in place (and remember that in Frame Academy II we recommended polyester cord, which won’t stretch like nylon does, across the back between two screw-in eyes), pull that tight to simulate its position when hung and measure the distance to the top of the frame. This can be thought of as ‘Distance B’.
- Subtract Distance B from Distance A. You could think of that product as Distance C.
- Take the product (Distance C) and add either 5 foot (that’s 60 inches) or its metric equivalent (i.e. 1.5 metres). This will give you Distance D.
- So you should now have a length (Distance D) that is very roughly between 6 foot (72 inches or 1.8 metres approximately) and 8 foot (96 inches or 2.4 metres approximately) depending on the size of your work.
- Measure that distance – Distance D – upwards from the floor.
- Mark that point on the wall, which will clearly give you the height from the floor. It should be ideal but, as the reader will realise, it cannot take into account the impact of either a very large work or a low ceiling. And at this point you will also need to reflect on lateral movement. Is it best to move the work to the left or right, possibly to balance it with other work or to account for other furnishings including lighting. But, if you think you have it right, insert your fixing there – where you’ve marked the wall.
- Remember that in Frame Academy VII we explained how to hang heavy art. That is worth looking at if you are doing just that and cannot afford to have it fall from the wall!
Hanging artwork at the right height is important. Not least because you and guests or workers want to enjoy it. If it’s too high or too low that won’t happen!
If you are framing something precious it’s always worth going straight to a professional framer like EasyFrame for advice. You could have them either do the entire job or help with part of it (whatever has left you racked by self-doubt!) EasyFrame can also certainly supply much of what you need to do the job if you contact them. So they will help you with picture-hanging hooks and hangers as well as picture mounts and picture frames. Moreover they’ll help you to limit risks.
EasyFrame is on 01234 856 501 and emailable via sales@EasyFrame.co.uk .