Tools, Tips and Video Clips/Photos

This page contains two picture hanging tools, some art show tips and a few video clips demonstrating various art techniques.   I  developed the tools to make things easier for artists, photographers, curators, interior designers, gallery owners or anyone else hanging art work on a regular basis.  These tools were born of necessity as the time to hang an art show became unwieldy - especially when different people with different skill levels got involved.  These tools focus on the mechanics of alignment - not placement aesthetics (see tips).  Rather than write an application (app) that would have to be loaded and updated, I decided to develop these tools for use with a smart phone via the internet and  make them accessible and free to every art lover.  It makes the most sense to use JQ Picture Spacer first to position all the paintings/rods horizontally followed by JQ Picture Hanger which positions paintings vertically at the spot predetermined by JQ Picture Spacer.


1.  JQ Picture Spacer   This tool allows one to space paintings horizontally - with equal amounts of space on either side of all paintings on a wall.   It works well when paintings are roughly lined up along the floor ready for hanging.  Simply enter the wall-to-wall space you wish to cover and then the width of each painting (from left to right). An example would be 196 inches for the distance and 24/26/30/22/28 for painting widths (no spaces, no slash at end). This would yield 11 inches of space between the wall and between each painting. The program will also indicate where the center of each rod (or mark) should go. It's versatile enough to allow one to center a painting and work out from the middle or allow extra space on the ends simply by measuring only the distance to be covered. Keep in mind it adds the same space on the ends in addition to in between paintings. When hanging multiple pieces vertically use the widest picture measurement.

2.  JQ Picture Hanger  This tool is designed for rapid fire hanging of many paintings at a time (i.e., typical indoor art show).  It allows for a single painting or up to three paintings to be hung vertically.  The tool will request (one time) a center line above/below which the painting(s) will be centered.  The default is 62" but can readily be changed (e.g. 60" for standard home ceiling height).  It will request (one time)  the inter-picture vertical gap in inches for multiples (default is 4").   It will then ask for information about each painting - the distance from the bottom of the painting to the wire peak and then the distance from the bottom of the painting to the top (i.e., frame height).  For example to hang a painting 24" high with a wire peak at 18", one would simply enter 18/24. To hang two paintings -- one 16" high with a wire peak at 14" to hang above another at 22" high with a wire peak at 20" one would enter 14/16,20/22 (no spaces, no slash at end). Three paintings would look like this: 12/14,23/27,23/26 A quick and practical method to take these  measurements in one easy pass is to hold a yardstick on the floor against the back of the painting as you pull up on the wire.   Read off the wire peak number and then the top of frame number.  You would then repeat this process for each painting(s) group to be hung.  With two people and a smart phone, the process is quick and accurate -- no eyeballing, no adjustments -- once and done.   Note:  For the odd occasion where more than 3 (three) paintings need to be hung vertically, simply group paintings and use 2 or 3 paintings to position the groups.




1. Use a measurement stick.  A simple measuring stick sure beats working with a finger-slicing retractable tape measure.  A simple 7' piece of screen molding or aluminum strip/rod with 1" and 1/4 " markings goes a long way in speeding up the hanging process.  I've added a small weight to the bottom of mine for ease of handling and to serve as a plum-bob for vertical alignment (when the painting is positioned horizontally on the floor).  I have marked mine in a way that  serves two purposes:

a.  Used to position the hook(s) on the wall
b.  When on the floor and held against the back of the frame (when sitting on the floor also), it's easy to capture both wire peak and frame height measurements at the same time.   I have the inch mark numbers from 3' down facing up for easy readability as one looks down at the painting on the floor.

2. Measure 1/5 down the sides of the frame to place your D-rings. The wire should peak about 3" from the top of the frame (to allow for room to hide hanging hardware). For extremely heavy works, use 2 wall hooks. Keep in mind that the stress on the frame goes up exponentially as the wire becomes more taut. As an example, a 10 lb frame with wire at a 45 degree angle exerts 7 lbs. of pulling force on each D-ring but at 2 degrees the force pulling on that D-ring is 143 lbs.!

3. When hanging large works that require 2 hooks, use a fixed length (desired distance between hooks) stick (notched on the ends) to pull up on the wire to measure the wire peak distance (the wire should be at 60 degrees off the D-rings for less stress on the frame). Use the same stick with a level taped to it to measure horizontal distance between hooks on the wall.  An alternate method is to use a stick (as wide as your largest art work) with small nail holes drilled every inch.  Position two nails in holes that yield 60 degrees when the wire is pulled taught.  Tape a level to the stick and use the nails to mark the hook locations on the wall.

4. If a painting has two side eyelets and no wire, use a piece of painter's tape to measure and mark the hooks then transfer the tape to the wall and then use the marks for precise drilling or positioning of hooks.

5. Carry around some light tack painters' tape for any wall markings.  I use the edge of the tape as my mark so no pencil required.

6. Scotch 860 Adhesive Putty works great for keeping paintings stable - especially those on wire hangers (along with cotton balls to stabilize if needed)

7. If drilling a hole in the wall, take a Post-it and fold it under the hole to capture plaster dust.

PLACEMENT TIPS (work-in-progress):

These tips apply primarily to gallery settings with a large number of paintings to be hung horizontally (as compared to what one might do in a home where art clusters around furniture and other wall hangings are the norm).  Still, just like good art work, basic design principles apply.

1. An odd number of paintings per wall seems to work best with the center painting(s) serving as the anchor point.  If tight on space, center  multiples (2 vertically, 3 vertically, etc) so that there will be multiples on the ends too -- yielding two more pieces per wall.  An exception to the odd number suggestion would be if you had two identically framed pieces (which would effectively look like a diptych) which together could be centered.

2. Unless your frame sizes are identical with two sets of two, try and avoid having multiples next to each other.  A much better arrangement is to have alternating single pieces and multiples.

3. Try and avoid similar sized pieces next to each other - alternate portrait and landscape orientations.  The idea is to avoid a frame line that is close but not perfect.

4. Don't avoid multiples.  They add interest.  Use common sense when placing multiples so that the content matches the placement (e.g., a high horizon line in the art work should be placed under a low horizon piece, a piece with sky in it would go above one without, etc.).  Everything else being equal, place the larger framed piece below the smaller one.

5. Try and position work with strong movement in a way where movement is towards the center of the wall (e.g., a profile looking inward, a boat moving inward, a road curving inward, etc.).

6. A degree of symmetry helps unify a wall.  Size, orientation, matting/no-matting, frame style, and glass/no-glass trumps content when it comes to visual balance.  Working from the center out with similar pieces on either side helps to 'calm' a wall (e.g., two offsetting large portrait oriented matted pieces under glass with thin metal frames as compared to a pairing of  two offsetting unmatted oil/acrylic landscapes with wide gold frames).

7. Art with strong saturated color or high contrast carry so much visual weight, they make good candidates for center pieces.

8. In venues with multiple openings, keep in mind the art work that one will first see when looking through a door opening.  It should be a strong piece to invite the viewer in but should be offset on that wall by a similarly balanced piece symmetrically placed around the center.


Coming soon



1. Creative use of two/three point perspective to improve your designs for paintings/drawings.

This video shows one how to create a scene from scratch using a simple sketch and some rules of perspective drawing. It details how to go from an overhead (plan) view - oriented as desired to achieve your design objective - to a two dimension drawing of the same.

JQ Perspective Drawing - Part 1

JQ Perspective Drawing - Part 2

2. Using Photoshop to do 'what if' scenarios to test out various value and color scenarios for your paintings.

Coming soon


If you would like to contribute something because of the productivity gains you realize from using any of these tools and/or tips, please consider making a small tax deductible donation to (check payable to Cornell University with Andrew J.Quinn '12  Memorial Scholarship in memo field ): Cornell University, P.O. Box 25842, Lehigh Valley, PA 18003-9692.  This is a general scholarship for any deserving students. Again, this is optional -- the tools are free to use. Thank you.