Casual Print Hanging

, None

by · Posted in: tech notes · nerdiness

If you make your own prints, then you've probably been in my position. I make a few work prints, I'm not really sure if I like them, but I don't have enough flat surface area to leave them lying around, so I put them in a box between tissue paper and forget about them. I enjoy making prints, but only occasionally am I willing to go through the expense of framing a print and dedicating wall space to it. On the other hand, I'm not enthusiastic about sticking pins in them or taping them to the wall.

What I want is a way to casually hang a print for a few days and evaluate it. I don't need a frame or a matte—it just needs to be on the wall where I can glance at it from time-to-time without damaging the print or making a mess of my walls. Basically, I want the equivalent of my mom's fridge on which I post my work.

Here's a do-it-yourself recipe that I came up with last week for a magnetic print holding system. It's very simple, cheap and, so far, seems to work.

What you need

  1. Some wood. I used an oak 1x3 scrap from the garage.
  2. The ability and tools to route a channel in the wood and cut it.
  3. Some flat steel bars—available in most hardware stores that sell welding supplies.
  4. Some screws and a couple brackets of some sort.
  5. A good level

Route a channel into the wood the same width and depth as the steel bars. Cut the wood to the desired length and mount the blocks to the wall at a distance to support each end of the bar. The steel bar slides into the channel and is held in place by the brackets. I didn't want to see the screw that mounts the block to the wall so I countersunk it in the routed channel. The steel bar attracts magnets very well, so you can arrange and rearrange prints to your heart's content without damaging them or committing to a frame and wall space.

It's probably easier to just show a few photos:

Oak block support
Supporting block holding steel bar in place.

Oak block support
Three bars mounted to the wall.

As you can see from the top photo, I've used small ceramic magnets (and magnetic clips holding the polaroids), which you can find almost anywhere, to hold the prints in place. The entire arrangement is 48 inches long, which is just about right for the size and number of prints I want to see. It cost about $10.

If you are looking for something a little more serious, here's an earlier post about hanging really big prints.