How to Hang Posters

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Posters are inexpensive wall art and instant, individualized decor for cookie-cutter spaces like dorm rooms. An unframed poster brightens up a dull corner of the kitchen, while a collection of frameless posters can be changed around to update or add variety to a hallway or bedroom. Use wallpaper paste or wheat paste if you don't mind eventually stripping or sanding the poster off the wall. Otherwise, try a less permanent solution for hanging posters on your walls.

Celebrate Your Hang-Ups

Fine art posters may be safely hung on the wall with a stylish design used by galleries and museums. The simple system uses an aluminum bar at the top and bottom of the poster; each bar has a slit along its entire length into which the edge of the poster gets slipped. A small hole on the back of the top bar fits over a nail in the wall. The poster hangs flat, directly against the wall, suspended by the top bar and weighted by the bottom bar so it won't curl or catch in a breeze. A purely homemade system for displaying the treasured early works of a resident artist is a length of twine stretched from one point on a wall to another -- possibly from doorframe to window frame. Clip Junior's poster-paint posters to the twine with clothespins to decorate the dining room in an ever-changing creative gallery.

Fake Picture Hangers

Clever takes on poster hangers make use of actual hangers -- and clipboards, paperclips and ribbon streamers. Catch the top edge of a poster in a pants hanger -- the padded ones need no extra protection but add a bit of paper or foam between the poster and the pincer type to prevent dents. Simply suspend the hanger from a hook or nail for instant wall art. An upside-down hanger attached to the bottom of the poster helps it lay straight. Hunt for interesting vintage hangers for a little extra style. Hang a row of clipboards along one wall and slip the posters under the clips to secure them -- a wide poster might need two side-by-side clipboards. Tack streamers of colorful wide grosgrain ribbon to the crown molding and baseboards behind the bed, and paperclip posters to the ribbons -- another look that's easy to rearrange.

Stick 'Em Up

Tape your posters to the wall without damaging the paper. Put several pieces of clear packing tape on the back corners of the poster to reinforce it. Take another piece of the tape for each corner and fold it over, sticky-side out, overlapping the ends to make a small circle. Stick one circle to each reinforced corner and press the poster to the wall. When it's time to remove the poster, the sticky tape will peel off the reinforced corners of the poster without tearing the paper, so you can use the poster again. When you don't care about permanent preservation, colorful patterned washi tape makes a "framed" border around a poster that secures it to the wall. Arrange a number of posters in a boho collage on one wall with different washi tape designs. Removable double-stick tape flattens posters against the wall but can be removed when it's time to vacate the apartment or dorm, without stripping all the paint off the wall.

Sticky Stuff

Adventurous interior designers might experiment with more unconventional household solutions for sticking unframed posters to a wall. A glob of toothpaste in each corner works as an adhesive, but use plain old toothpaste without whiteners and other fancy chemicals that dilute the adhesion. A blob of shampoo, the non-hydrating kind, will also hold a light poster in an area that doesn't get a lot of humidity. Removable putty works for small posters, but some will stain the wall or the poster; test first to see how it holds up. Adhesive dots on the back of the poster will stick to walls, although they may not adhere long term to glossy paint. The same idea works for hook-and-loop dots -- one sticks to the wall, the other to the poster, and the two connect on contact to keep the poster up.

One Last Wrinkle

Unroll a poster stored in a tube and let it sit, weighted by books or other heavy objects, to release the curl before hanging. Place a tea towel under and over a creased or wrinkled poster to protect it and press it with an iron -- set on a low setting -- to flatten the paper. Deep creases may require a light steaming over a kettle or pan of boiling water, but proceed with caution to avoid burns or soaking and damaging the paper. When in doubt, or when the poster is valuable, take it to a professional at a frame shop to repair creased paper.

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Benna Crawford

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .