Learning how to hang pictures on brick wall has been a necessity since the incorporation of exposed bricks into our spaces and interiors. This has existed for ages. Interior designers currently integrate exposed bricks to the brick fireplace, accent walls, in lofts & modern interiors, for a more rustic, retro, or industrial aesthetic.
However, like in every interior design, especially minimalist interiors, hanging art is essential in the transformation of a space, creating a focal point in a room, and recreating that Pinterest-worthy décor. This is not always an easy process as in the case of drywall, since bricks pose a number of challenges.
First, while old bricks may be slightly softer, modern bricks are oftentimes harder to penetrate. Bricks are also porous, therefore limiting the adhesive options applicable to them. If you’re trying to find the best way to hang art on a brick wall, worry not. We’ve got you covered!
Depending on the characteristics of your brick wall surface and the weight of the picture, we have prepared a list of approaches you can take to hang your art.
Methods of Hanging Pictures on a Brick Wall
There are several methods that you can use to hang pictures on brick walls, whether you are hanging a one picture or even making a home gallery. While some are invasive, such as drilling, lots of non-drilling options exist. This comes in handy especially in areas where permits are required before carrying out any drilling into walls of historic buildings, or in the case of strict landlords.
Drilling is the most common method of hanging pictures on a brick wall. It securely works on hard brick and allows for the hanging of even heavier art pieces with the picture frame. To use this method, start by marking the position of your artwork. For lighter pictures, one anchor point at the center will suffice. For heavier artworks, you may need two anchor points with one towards each end. The aim is to keep the number of holes drilled into your brick wall to a minimum.
Once you identify the anchor points, use a drill and a drill bit with a width that is smaller than the screw to drill holes into the brick wall. This ensures a tight fit with the screw, and therefore, better grip. According to The Art of Doing Stuff, the anchor screw, a masonry drill bit, and a hammer drill are just the tools you need to drill into hard brick walls.
A contractor’s secrets to hanging holiday décor, Fox News, 2012, via Pinterest
If the mortar is substantially sound, consider drilling into it instead of the brick, since it allows for easy repair. Otherwise, in circumstances where the mortar is softer and easily flakes off, such as in older buildings, you may need to drill into the brick instead. Additionally, the depth of the drilled hole should be able to contain the full length of the anchor. You can ensure this by using chalk to mark the required depth on the drill bit before drilling. Bob Vila also recommends protecting your eyes and any fragile items from the dust disseminated during drilling.
Drive the anchor into the drilled anchor hole then fasten a screw-in hook until it's firm enough to hold the weight of the picture. Every anchor has a limited capacity of weight it can sustain. Therefore, you must consider the weight of the artwork before purchasing your anchors. If the weight exceeds the bearing capacity of one anchor, then you will need more anchors to distribute the weight equally.
However, this solution can only work to a point, since drilling too many holes close together into the mortar joint might weaken it, causing it to chip off. For hollow brick walls, you can use the toggle bolt wall anchor to carry heavier weights. Drywall anchors are similarly great for hanging pictures on drywall.
If the bricks are soft enough, then nailing is a viable option for hanging art on your brick wall. Once you have marked the position of your art, you can hammer your steel nails and hang pictures directly from them.
Alternatively, you can use the nails together with a picture hook. There is a variety of decorative brick hooks and picture-hanging nails in the market, with a wide range of finishes from which to select.
Professional Picture Hanging Set, Michaels Store, 2020, via Pinterest
Nail holes and drilled holes on bricks are unsightly and harder to conceal without affecting the aesthetic, unlike in plaster wall or concrete wall. Therefore, non-drilling options are sometimes the best when it comes to hanging pictures on a brick wall.
a) Brick Clip/Brick Hangers
Brick hangers/brick clips are a great alternative for hanging lightweight art or picture lights onto brick walls. They work by clipping onto the brick and therefore require that the mortar be adequately recessed to allow for the proper attachment of the art hanger. A minimum setback of an eighth of an inch is required for this. Additionally, the bricks should have square edges.
Brick Clip, Domino Magazine, 2020, via Pinterest
Brick clamp comes in different sizes. Thus, ensure you measure the height of your brick prior to the purchase of your hangers. Simply position the clamps to the top and bottom of your brick and squeeze the brick clip until it securely grips the brick. Especially easy to find these brick clips here at Perfect Picture Lights.
A number of adhesive options are applicable for displaying pictures on brick walls. However, not all adhesives will work on brick. Therefore, whether it’s a double-sided mounting tape, heavy-duty glue, adhesive hooks, or hot glue, be keen to select a brand that is applicable to textured surfaces such as brick.
When it comes to the use of adhesives, you must carefully consider the weight of the artwork as well as the effect of the adhesive on the art and wall surface. For instance, using heavy-duty adhesive to hang a valuable piece of art might pose a challenge when it needs to be uninstalled and moved to a different location, without damage. Same goes to a large picture lights, so you may consider hanging a smaller picture light.
c) Picture Rail
A picture rail is a perfect option for hanging multiple artworks onto your brick wall. Once installed, you can easily hang as many pictures as possible, and unhang them at your convenience, which is great for an art-centric room. Select a heavy-duty option to accommodate more pictures, support heavier pieces, and for more durability.
Picture tracks inconspicuously installed at the ceiling edges or right below the cornice, also allow for the hanging of artworks at any vertical position against the brick wall using cables or rods. Usually used with track lights. This is a convenient way to avoid any damages to walls.
Picture Rail, AS Hanging Display System, 2020, via Pinterest
Another great way to display your pictures and artwork on your brick wall is through the installation of display shelves at the desired heights. You can either use a freestanding shelf, suspend shelving from the picture rail, or fix the shelving to the wall.
Brick Wall Interior, Ana, 2020, via Pinterest
Hanging pictures on a brick wall might be a slight challenge but it is totally worth it. With all the available options, you can now decorate your brick walls to your desired aesthetic, with framed photos, prominent art pieces, or even exceptional clocks and mirrors. Follow all the above tips to get started. Don’t miss out!
Winny Okoth is a practicing Construction Project Manager and Interior Designer. She is also currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Construction Project Management. Winny Okoth has a great passion for every form of design and has the mastery of principles of design, as well as 3D visualizations skills for architectural and interior design renders.