The One Trick for Perfect Picture Hanging Involves a Fork

Hear us out. This will change the way you decorate.


My brother is an airplane engineer. So when he tried to hang a portrait roughly the size of a Boeing 747 lavatory in our parents’ dining room, he came well equipped. He had the electric drill with 15 interchangeable bits to punish the screw of his choice; he had the laser-guided stud finder to find studs or point toward himself and say, “lol here I am!”; he even had the cocktail shaker filled with tomato juice and Stoli to make Victory Marys for post-hanging success, or Consolation Marys for thwarted-hanging frustration.

Lucky for me, the “spotter” (drunken bystander), we got to imbibe both—because, while my bro did end up getting the portrait affixed to the wall eventually, it was only after many, many failed attempts at forcing picture wire and screw to meet that our work was done.

I now realize the one tool we were missing: A fork.

“Why a fork?” you skeptics ask, clearly not drunk enough on Consolation Marys to just go with the flow. Because: A fork simplifies that most annoying step of threading the nail with the picture wire, despite being unable to see either.

Instead of blindly sliding the frame around the wall like a cartoon prospector sifting for gold, do what the savvy DIY’ers at 5 Minute Crafts suggest, and hang a fork first:

It’s a brilliantly simple solution. Hang the fork face down with the handle sticking skyward and the nail/screw wedged between the middle tines. The fork’s natural contours will cause it to stick out from the wall at a slight angle, which is now your official Picture Wire On-Ramp. Slide the wire behind the fork until it reaches the nail. Remove the fork. Use it to spear a few booze-soaked olives from your Victory Mary, because you now have a perfectly hung picture, my friend.

Oh… just make sure you didn’t make any of these common picture hanging mistakes that make great art look sloppy.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest