Create a Mobile Art Hanging/Installation Kit

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy having the opportunity to install art in clients’ homes. Installations are a great opportunity to provide customer service and build relationships with our clients.

We have many sales where it isn’t possible for us to take care of the installation – many of our clients live out of state (although I’ve done installations as far away as Boston!) and some of the artwork we sell is either too large, or the installation too complex for me to handle on my own.

We assist our clients in making other arrangements if we’re not able to help, either by assuring that they are comfortable handling the installation on their own, or helping them hire professional art installers if they aren’t.

On those occasions when I do get to install the art, I strive to make sure I’m fully prepared for the installation, no matter the circumstances. This means we need to learn as much as we can about the installation location. We begin by asking the following questions:

  1. Where is the art being installed?
  2. What is the surface? (drywall, plaster, tile, stone, etc.)
  3. How high are you envisioning the artwork will be installed?
  4. Do you have a ladder or step stool we can use?

Once we understand the circumstances of the installation, we set up a time, and arrange to bring everything we’ll need for the installation. I’ve also learned over the years that it’s a good idea to have a variety of tools and hardware in my installation kit for unexpected circumstances.

I have a tool kit and hardware box that I take out that includes all of the following:

  1. Hanging hooks and pins (we use Floreat hangers)
  2. Hammer
  3. Razor knife
  4. Level
  5. Pencil
  6. Tape measure
  7. Drywall screws
  8. Drywall anchors
  9. D-rings
  10. Plastic coated picture wire
  11. Screwdrivers (phillips and flathead)
  12. Pliers
  13. Wire cutters
  14. Safety glasses
  15. White gloves
  16. Gold leafing repair and nail hole filler
  17. Rechargeable, cordless drill (make sure it’s fully charged!)
  18. Hammer drill (when mounting in masonry or stone)
  19. Extension cord

Most of what I need fits in a plastic Stanley organizer (pictured above), and for a typical installation,  the organizer is all I need to take into the client’s home. I take all of the other tools in the car, just in case. I would prefer to have a tool and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Do You Have an Installation/Hanging Kit?

Do You Have an Installation/Hanging Kit? What do you include in your hanging kit? Do you use the kit regularly? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments below!

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10 Comments

  1. I think given my lack of quality experience hanging art, that I would prefer to refer clients to professionals (unless they are going to do the work themselves), at this point in time. Thanks for sharing your kit, though and the resources!

  2. I too have a hanging kit which includes all you listed plus a white plastic eraser, Mr Clean Magic Pad, felt bumpon pads, a pad of paper for writing down measurements and doing the math, frame touch up markers, 3M Command strips to hold things in place while still using physical attachments, security hangers and numerous other miscelaneous types of hardware.

    Sometimes I take out a laser level too, depending on the job.

    After I close the the gallery I’m going to a clients and installing thirty pieces in a child’s bedroom in several different grid configurations. For this type of installation I use BeeHive hangers for easy precise allignment.

    https://beehivepicturehangers.com/

    More often than not when I go out a to a clients they have additional pieces for me to hang that have either inadequate hardware on the backs or sometimes none at all.

  3. I would also bring a small vacuum cleaner as there would always be a small pile of dust on the floor. I also would agree with Patricia about having a professional making holes in the wall. If anything doesn’t go perfect that could put you in an uncomfortable position with your client. This would have a lot to do with your relationship with your buyers.

    1. Small vacuum is another great idea. I have one that charges in the car.

      Always a good idea to assess your confidence level and decide if you are up to the task. I’ve done hundreds (thousands?) of installations over the last 25 years and feel very comfortable with most installations, but even I sometimes leave the more complex work to the professionals.

      I’ve also written a more extensive guide about the art hanging process which will show how I typically only have to make one hole 🙂 https://reddotblog.com/how-to-hang-a-painting-a-free-guide-from-xanadu-gallery/

      1. One simple trick when drilling into a wall is to take a standard business envelope and tape it backward and open below your drill hole with blue painter’s tape to catch the saw/plaster dust. It makes any cleanup from the floor easier or even unnecessary.

  4. Lucky for me. Prior to my “3rd Act” as an artist. I had over 30 years in the architectural design and construction field. So I am very innovative at installing artworks. I found adding a couple of brushes to the tool box come very handy to brush off fine dust, etc..

  5. I DO have an installation kit!
    Also included would be extra business and bio cards and a price sheet if art installation is in a public space such as a restaurant. If the installment would be hung unframed, I would also bring paint for touching up unexpected scuff marks on sides of canvas.

  6. Very timely. I am discussing a large hanging sculpture with a collector who just bought two other pieces. It was immediately obvious that some assistance in installing the piece would be a major factor in their decision. Thanks for the insight, and the list of items.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your ‘Gallery Owner’s advice’ on the podcast today…I have an open studio show in two weeks. The pointers you gave certainly helped me to refine myself and get away from shyness, and develop real openness and connection with whoever comes by. I deeply appreciate your commitment to help artists advance in every way you do.

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