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Hanging a Picture With a Fishing Line

Kathy Adams

Fishing line provides a simple, nearly invisible way to hang photos from hooks or picture rails. Make sure the line is in good shape, kept out of sunlight, and tied with a secure knot to ensure safety for your photo.

Hanging a Picture With a Fishing Line

Fishing line comes in handy for hanging pictures when other options, such as picture-hanging wire, aren't readily available. As an added benefit, fishing line is a lot less visible than wire, so it's not noticed as easily when it holds frames hung from picture rails.

Crown Molding or Picture Rails

Crown molding and picture rails offer a way to hang pictures on the wall without nails or holes of any sort. Picture rails are especially common in older homes with plaster walls, but home-improvement stores still sell this type of trim. These rails add a decorative touch to the top of a wall and contain a hidden groove designed for holding picture-rail hooks. Use one or two hooks per photo, depending upon the weight of the frame and the weight rating of each hook. Hang the rail hooks over the top of the crown molding or picture rail; then attach the fishing line, already looped and tied through rings in the back of the frame, to the hook or hooks.

Using this hanging method usually means the fishing line hangs down quite a bit from the picture-rail hook, so the photo hangs at the desired height on the wall. Unwind quite a bit of fishing line and test your photo layout against the wall before cutting and tying the line to ensure an ideal length.

Fishing line can be used to hang a picture in any situation where picture-hanging wire might be used, as long as the line is strong enough to support the picture. Line works just as well hanging from nails as it does from picture-rail hooks.

Tying a Sturdy Knot

Fishing line is notoriously difficult to tie if you're not accustomed to working with it. Unlike shoelaces or string, fishing line won't hold some basic knots tightly, meaning your precious photos can come crashing down to the ground. To tie fishing line in a knot that will stay tight, cut the line at least 6 inches longer than you need to hang the photo. After running the line through the hooks on the back of the frame, grab both ends of the line in one hand. Loop both ends over your fingers; then push both ends through the loop, pulling firmly until a tight knot forms. Feel free to double-knot the line for added protection; then trim excess line from the ends. This type of knot will tug the knot taught once weight hangs from it, so it should not come undone. Other knots listed on a fishing line package can also be used; if the knot is tough enough for catching a fish, it's sturdy enough to hang photos of a similar weight, too.

Mind the Line

As anyone who fishes can attest, monofilament fishing line gets weak and brittle over time, especially when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. For optimal results, use new fishing line that has been kept out of sunlight. Likewise, fishing line is best used to hang pictures in a non-sunny location, which can also help prevent fading in artwork and photos. If the area is exposed to a lot of sunlight, replace the fishing line every year or so.

Not all monofilament line is the same. Like picture hooks and wire, the line is rated to carry so much weight without breaking. Choose a "test" or pound rating higher than the weight of the framed photo. For instance, if the picture weighs 3 pounds in its frame, choose a 4 pound or greater test fishing line.