Hang Wall Decor Straight Every Time with a Simple Laser Level
Have you ever had the frustrating experience of hanging something on the wall only to notice afterward that it wasn’t straight? Yah, this happens to me all the time. So – let’s talk about how easy it is to Hang Wall Decor Straight Every Time.
Recently my wife wanted to hang a cork/dry erase board in our laundry room so that we can keep track of the kid’s activities. When tackling small projects like this one I always think, “How can I make this easier than it looks?”.
Well, fortunately my memory isn’t shot yet. I remembered that I received a pen laser level for my birthday and it would be perfect for getting the cork/dry erase board straight and level. If you’re going to hang a heavy mirror, tons of pictures, or several pieces of wall art I highly suggest getting something like this level because you’ll save precious time, countless re-hangings and eliminate the agony most of us experience during this process.
The Bosch pen laser level I have costs $35 on Amazon but any similar product will suffice.
Here are the additional supplies you need for this 20 minute project:
- Tape measure
- Drill bits
- Blue tape
- Screwdriver (Philips)
Don’t let hanging stuff on your wall overwhelm you. It’s easier than you think and by the end of this tutorial you’ll be delighted with your results.
Since we only needed to hang the cork/dry erase board I made sure it was centered on the organizing shelves my wife just installed. How do you do center something on the wall or with something else?
- Measure the width of your wall, shelf, piece of furniture, or whatever else you’d like to center the wall decor with
- Halve this distance and make a mark on your wall
- Measure the width of your wall decor
- Halve this distance and make a mark on it with pencil
- Line up your two marks and you’re DONE!! It’s that easy
So in our case, I measured the organizing shelves and got a width of 62 1/8 inches.
Halving this distance gave me 31 1/16 inches, which was exactly where the two shelves butted against each other.
Then, with my wife present, I asked how high she wanted the cork/dry erase board. I lined up the laser level with the 31 1/16 inches on the measuring tape, eyeballed the height my wife desired, and made a pencil mark on the wall within the laser line.
If your laser level comes with a magnetic mount like ours, tape it to the wall with blue painter’s tape at the desired height of your wall decor. You could also just tape the laser level to the wall until it’s level and lined up with your height mark. I think my wife made some joke like, “Are you sure you want to be in the photo?” and that’s why I’m laughing in the picture. My hair was a bit messed up at the time, so I understand her trepidation.
Wallpaper and tape sometimes don’t play nice together. But the blue painter’s tape doesnt tear or mark up the paper (much to my chagrin since I’d love any excuse to remove it).
Lining up the laser with the height mark couldn’t have been easier. I simply leveled the laser on the mount, turned it on, and lined up the beam with the height mark on the wall.
The cork/dry erase board had two notched hanging brackets. These brackets will sit on screws in the wall and hold up the entire board. No doubt you’ve seen something like this on the back of pictures or mirrors.
Just pick out the notch in the middle of the bracket(s) and measure the distance between them. I came up with 33 inches.
Like the first step, you’ll need to halve this distance (16 1/2 inches in this example). I measured 16 1/2 inches to the right & left of my height mark and made two more marks on the level laser beam running across the wall.
These marks represented where the notches would be on the board and therefore indicate the exact location of the mounting screws. Our cork/dry erase board came with plastic inserts for the screws. If you’re not drilling into studs I highly recommend using the inserts so your board will stay anchored into the wall. Holes should be the slightly smaller or the same size as the insert so that it fits snuggly into the wall. Here’s a DIY Insider Tip: hold your drill bit case beneath the drill to catch drywall dust. Eliminating extra cleanup is always a good thing! 🙂
Push the plastic insert into the wall with your hand and give it a light tap with a rubber mallet or hammer until it’s flush with the surface.
For our board to hang properly, we needed to leave the screws sticking out of the wall by 1/4 inch. Just use a screwdriver (Philips in this case) to adjust the screw depth.
Line up the mounting brackets with the mounting screws and proudly hang your wall decor. Using a laser level will boost your wall hanging confidence to new heights and eliminate temporary fixes that ultimately fail.
Sometimes I felt so helpless while hanging pictures and mirrors on the wall. But now my little pen laser level has reclaimed the thrill of wall decorating. I hope you get the same empowering feeling.
Is there something you’d like to put on your walls but haven’t yet? Go for it and energize your home 🙂
What an awesome birthday gift idea man, a little and handy laser level 🙂
I understand why the Mrs asked if you really want to show in the picture the dodgy tape trick … I’m sure you’ll have some bad guys out there who will try to say that it’s a poor job and blah blah blah… but I like that you were creative 🙂
Even though you could buy a laser level that stands on a tripod or the one especially for this kind of tasks, a simple one that sticks to the wall.
But again,… you didn’t get to choose, did ya?! It was a gift after all 🙂
Very nice little tutorial loved it!
Keep up with the good work!
Very informative post! Hanging up wall decor can be a major pain. Shelving and other items can be even worse. This will help a lot.
This is great! I always fail at getting my wall decorations straight, my husband has to do them for me. Thanks for this!
What a character! So well produced and all around great job Jeff. I have used this technique myself many times. I will say, though I have not used any of Bosch’s laser levels – I suspect they are of the highest quality. And from that – I’ll warn, and though the technology seems very simple not all laser levels are created equal. I’d avoid any that have a lightweight plastic casing and would look for ones that allow for calibration (not even sure they are available in these compact models). $35 sounds like a good starting point. If anything – I appreciate the ringing endorsement in this post. thanks for being so helpful my friend, as always. ~jb
Thanks jb, I agree that sometimes the cheaper tools aren’t the best option for DIYers. It can be frustrating to spend good money on stuff that only works a few times then goes bonkers.
Definitely need one of these! I hate measuring, remeasuring and balancing all of my tools whenever I hang things on the wall.
Ditto, it’s a real pain in the rear.
Lucky woman your wife is, I guess 😉 I heard about such levelers, but actually haven’t tried yet. Your article has just inspired me. Now I think I should buy one. Is there anything else you would like to hang on your wall?
Thanks Maria, we have a ton of kid’s pictures to hang. So I’ll be using this tool more in the future. You can pick one up at Lowe’s.
My laser level is absolutely my favorite tool. I found an inexpensive one but now that I’m so used to it and I know how handy it is, I’m thinking of getting a fancier one. It’s worth it!