Wednesday, September 1, 2004

How to make sure your frames hang perfectly level on your wall


By David Gewirtz

Whenever I get into one of my super-easy, obvious-once-you-see-it tips, two things happen. First, I get great letters from readers thanking me for helping you out with something that's often vexxed you for quite some time. Really. I do. In an upcoming issue, when I'm done being lazy, I'll compile some of our great reader letters and share them with you.

The other thing that happens is Senior Technical Editor James Booth accuses me of taking the easy way out in writing my article. James writes the tough articles, probably the best we run in the magazine. I, in his opinion, tend to cop out, writing fun, easy, breezy tips that just barely make it in on deadline. I didn't even come close to meeting deadline on this one. But I still think you'll find it helpful.

If you're like me, you like to take pictures, frame them, and hang them on the wall so they can mock you about stuff you once did when you had a life. OK, so I've got issues. I like to say, "I've got issues, yep, five a week."

I'm an editor, you see. We send out five magazines a week... Yeah, none of my friends find it amusing either.

In any case, once you try to hang your frames on the wall, there's always this dance where you put in the nail, set the frame on it, and step back three steps to see if it's level. Then you step forward, tweak it a bit, dosey-do, and do the dance again.

Turns out there's an incredibly better way. Go out and get yourself a plastic "torpedo" level. I found mine for $2.38 (including tax) at the local home supply store. If you're not exactly sure what a torpedo level is, it's a little six-inch level like that shown in Figure A.


Place the level on your frame and level up. (click for larger image)

All you do is place the level on the frame and adjust the frame until the bubble shown in Figure B is centered.


Center the bubble. (click for larger image)

That's it! Instantly, your picture is level. If you can't set the level on the top of the frame, just hold it against the bottom or just inside. In any case, in about three seconds, you can level your frame.

Just before my parents visited recently, I went through the house and leveled about forty pictures in about two minutes. I also begged the cleaning lady to come in and remove months of Dave-droppings, but that's a story for another week.

Hey, if you've got a really easy tip that's obvious-once-you-see-it, send a note to with the subject "EASY TIP". If we run it in a future issue, we'll say very nice things about you.