How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

Hello and happy Monday to you. Have you adjusted to Daylight Savings Time? I am tired this morning. I think it takes me a week to recover!  The other week I showed you my newest furniture makeover, a silver dresser that I had glazed, sanded and shined up with some metallic paint. In the photos of the dresser you might have noticed some new photos I hung up on the wall. The first wedding pictures I had printed and displayed ~ a year and a half later I’m so ashamed!  But I got these frames at an estate sale and knew they would be prefect for my little corner.

Our house was built in 1900 and most of our walls are plaster. The hanging process is just a little bit different than drywall so I take some special steps to get items up and displayed.  It’s not hard at all, here is a step-by-step how to hang items on plaster walls.

First up, your supplies:

    • Drill
    • Painters tape
    • Screws with anchors – this is the key, you don’t use nails
    • Pencil
    • Measuring tape
    • Drill bits

If you are having two or more items a level helps too.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

Oh and one more important item ~ a picture of you looking fabulous!

This was actually a photo from our “first look” on our wedding day. Hubs and I had our pictures taken before the ceremony because of the schedule – oh the scandal! It was a lot less nerve racking to do that let me tell you. This was when we met up in the salon at the hotel. I walked it and so this is the first time he sees me and we’re all looking at my dress, kind of like “this is it!” and so I said, “wait until you see the back” because it was this gorgeous lace up and I turned around and put my hand on my hip.

Little did I know at the time my photographer captured the moment perfectly, because even though you can’t see it in the photo, my husband has his eyebrows raised and is looking directly at my rear end all “huh hhhuuh uhh!” You know. Yea. In fact most of the groomsmen were! Hysterical. Makes good conversation art for your walls.

Back to the tutorial!

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

Here’s how to hang items on plaster walls.

1. Measure the spot on the wall where the screw will go and mark an X.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

2. With your painter’s tape, rip off a piece and poke a hole in the middle of it with the pencil.

Put the hole over the X that you’ve marked on the wall.

How to hang items on plaster walls

3. Next, make a little “shelf” of the wide painters tape with the sticky side up to catch the plaster that will come out of the wall when you drill. This is not totally necessary, but helpful for clean up.

How to hang items on plaster walls

4. Now come the muscles. Drill with your left hand while you take a picture with your right for your blog. Just kidding! What you want to do is select the drill bit that it says to use on the side of the package of screws and anchors. These ones that I use regularly take a 3/16 drill bit.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

Get it in your drill and go for it. The drill will stop once it is all the way through the plaster, you’ll feel it. If it seems harder to go through, you probably hit some lath which is OK. Make sure the hole is the size of the bit, not too big.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

This is where your tape “shelf” comes in handy.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

5. Then you remove the tape and hammer in your anchor. This can be tricky. If you didn’t drill the hole big enough, the plastic anchor will bend, you’ll see it happen and you don’t want that. You want the anchor to fit snugly in the hole and be flush with the wall like this.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

6. Then you drill the screw into the anchor, changing your drill bit of course or you can just use a screwdriver with some muscle. I leave mine a little bit away from the wall so the wire from the picture will fit on it.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

7. Then you can carefully fold up your little tape “shelf” to collect all the plaster dust and simply throw it away. No floor to vacuum.

How to hang items on plaster walls

And then you hang your picture up by the wire on the back of it on the screw. This will also work if your photo/art doesn’t have a wire but another type of hanger on the back, but wire is preferred since it works so well with the screws. Some of the other hangers might not fit on the screw, but see what works for you.

How to Hang Items on Plaster Walls

If you hang two photos, make sure to level the line where they are hung so they are even.

Now you know the secret, anchors and screws, not nails. Nails will chip away the plaster and you’ll end up with a large hole in the wall where nothing will be able to be hung. Of course you can try this with other size screws, but this size pretty much works for anything I need to hang.I hope this helps you in your old house decorating or perhaps new house decorating with heavy objects. Any questions

Do you have any plaster wall tips? Do share!

See all of my old house tips and tricks here and my how to and home improvement project here.

Sharing with Tutorials and Tips Tuesday at Home Stories A to Z.


  1. I like the little dust shelve, very clever.

  2. I framed my favorite wedding picture about 7 or 8 months ago. I didn’t hang it because we were supposed to be moving. And we finally did and I haven’t found a place for it my new house. I’ve been married for two and a half years, you’re definitely beating me!!!

  3. This is a super handy post! I don’t have a ton of experience hanging things on plaster walls, but do have a little… and you definitely want that tape where you drill the hole. Have you ever had the plaster crack beyond the hole? Nope, not fun at all. Great post!

  4. We have some plaster and some drywall. I clicked on this to see if I do it “right” and I’m pleased to know that I do!

    Try using Windows Live Writer. It’s a free download and you can use it to write your posts. MUCH easier than doing it online.

  5. Fantastic! And the little tape dust shelf is equally brilliant :).

  6. Thank you for the tutorial! I have lived in my house for almost 5 months and haven’t hung anything up because the plaster scares me. Now I feel like I can do it.

  7. Thank you for this!!! I have been dreading hanging pictures in our new home, but now I can’t wait!!!

  8. Thanks for the tips…where were you 6 years ago when I needed you :). You should do an entire post of those gorgeous wedding pictures. They are fabulous.

  9. Will you post a ‘how-to’ fix the problems I made before you posted this? Thanks for this, I’ll keep it next to me when I try again!

  10. This is so helpful. My home has plaster walls and I got frustrated with nails.

  11. Thank you for this post! Please don’t mock me, but after living in our home for 20+ years, this post finally allowed us to hang 5 separate groupings on the plaster walls of our living room. Pics had been leaning on the furniture or floors because we were petrified of hammering into the plaster, which is hard as granite. (we did hang things in other rooms with hammer and nails and it was a disaster…) Also, Pro and Crastinator live here. So, thank you. Your blog is awesome and, while giving great ideas, makes me feel so inadequate… I’m anxiously following your thread on organizing old photos as well. Thanks again!


    • Hi Annie,

      Thanks for the great comment and congrats to you for hanging up all your art and photos! Did you see my post on the gallery wall where I used the monkey hooks? Those are good to use also, they make a much smaller hole in the wall. I’m glad you found something that worked for you. I hesitate all the time about hanging things up, you are not alone. And don’t ever feel inadequate, you can do anything! Searching for how to online also helps a lot 🙂

  12. I’m so glad to have found this! We just moved into a house with hard-as-rock plaster walls and I have been using Command Strips. But, I’m afraid to hang anything bigger than a postcard because I have had the adhesive release spontaneously. This is so helpful!!!!

  13. Does this method also work for hanging flat screen TV’s using the mounting brackets? We are moving soon into a home built in 1885 and the walls are plaster/lathe as well. Thanks

  14. I have a rowhouse that stresses me lots but you have made things look so easy@@@ ty!

  15. The best and easiest anchors are made of lead (no longer available). They expand into the plaster and into the threads of the screw. You can still find them at tag/garage sales (or your dad might have some in his tool box). If you do, snap em up. When you no longer need them, they can be tapped flush with or completely into the wall.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Good to know. I’ll keep an eye out for those. We also have had luck with monkey hooks, which only require a small hole in the wall. Thanks for the tips!


  1. […] are attached to the wall with command strips, including the letters. I have a great technique for how to hang items on plaster walls, but I prefer to put in a few holes as […]

  2. […] Another common way to hang items on the wall are wall anchors and screws. It’s important to use good quality wall anchors (not the type that are free with your art or fixture.) Opt for Togglers or anchors you buy at the hardware store. Anchors are my go-to method for hanging items on plaster walls. Learn how to use anchors on plaster walls. […]

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