Hanging a painting may sound like an easy job, but in reality, there's a lot more to it than simply putting a nail in the wall. Paintings should be placed carefully and need to be hung with the right tools and in a way that keeps them safe from damage over time. Work with a partner for this project, if possible--this will make the job easier and faster, and it helps to have a second opinion about the placement of the painting.
Attach picture hanging wire to the back of the canvas if it does not already have some. Picture hanging kits are available at arts and crafts supply stores. Attach two eye loop hooks to the back of the painting--one to each side of the stretcher frame, on the inside. These can usually be screwed in without drilling a hole into the wood--just push the point of the hook into the wood and then twist to screw it in. Cut a length of wire a little longer than the width of the canvas and string it through the hooks. The extra wire at each end should be folded back over and twisted around the wire between the two hooks.
Pick the location for the painting. Ideally, this will be a spot where the painting will not be exposed to a lot of direct sunlight. Larger paintings are best hung by themselves, while smaller paintings usually look better in pairs or groups.
Gather your materials. Small, lightweight paintings--like in the vicinity of 10 by 12 inches--can be hung from a nail without worry that the nail will bend or tear out of the wall. Larger paintings should be hung from a picture hanger. Picture hangers are available at most department stores and home improvement stores. Picture hangers consist of a larger nail and a small metal bracket that holds the nail up and at an angle.
Get a partner to help you. Have your partner hold a pencil. Hold up the painting to the wall with one hand and ask your partner to tell you when the painting is in a good location. When the painting is positioned, feel the back of the painting with your other hand. Let the painting hang from your finger, then put the knuckle of your finger against the wall. Remove the painting and look at the location of your knuckle against the wall. This is where the nail will go. Hand the painting to your partner and take the pencil. If you have no partner, you'll want to have the pencil on hand--in a pocket or between your teeth.
Position the nail into the nail holder bracket, then place the point of the nail against the mark you made with the pencil. Tap the nail in with your hammer.
Feel the back of the painting one more time for the picture hanging wire. Flatten your hand against the wall--holding the picture hanging wire--until you feel the nail. Loop the picture hanging wire around the nail and remove your hand.
Adjust the painting until it is level.