How to Hang Art on a Brick Wall in 5 Steps

updated Mar 31, 2023
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Exposed brick walls add tons of extra charm and character, whether they’re in surrounding a fireplace or greeting guests at the door. But hanging a painting, mirror, or even a television on brick can present some challenges you don’t face with plain old drywall—especially if that brick is vintage.

“Older houses have much softer bricks, and with new building standards, newer bricks have got stronger and harder to drill through,” says Andrew Dunlop, director of the Art of Hanging, a picture hanging service in Brisbane, Australia. But, Dunlop adds, even with the possible challenges, you can still hang from all types of brick. 

However, with older homes, there might be additional permissions that homeowners need to drill into the brick. Michael Russo, proprietor of New York City interior design and construction service Porter Stable, says that you should “always check with your local preservation society to make sure if any drilling is frowned upon.” That’s especially true for renters, who might be subject to additional restrictions from their landlord.

Once you get the green light to hang from your brick wall, you’ll need the following to get started:

  • cordless drill
  • masonry drill bit sized to fit your screws
  • hammer
  • Philips head drill bit
  • screws
  • anchors
  • level
  • tape measure
  • marker

Once you choose your artwork, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hang things safely and securely on brick.

1. Mark the location on the wall where your holes will go 

To start, it’s important to figure out where on the wall you’re going to hang your piece and how many holes you’ll need to hang it. Is it a large piece that has a wire across? In that case, one hole will do the trick. But if it has mulitple D-rings or sawtooth hangers, you’ll need as many holes as there are hooks.

Once you’ve figured out how many holes you need, take a marker and note where your frame will attach to the wall. Make sure your mark is centered and that you account for how high or low you want the piece to hang.

“The different ways I hang stuff depends on size and weight. If it’s a small picture on a string drilling one hole should be fine. For larger pictures, art mirrors with a cord or D-Rings, two screws are necessary to ensure balance and proper support,” Russo says.

It’s also a good idea to use a level to make sure that any holes you make are even.

2. Drill into your marked locations 

Next, grab your drill and masonry bit. A masonry bit is designed specially for concrete, stone, and brick. Place your bit in the drill. Drill deep enough to accommodate the length of the screw that you’re using, making sure to move slowly to avoid overheating your drill. You may need to take breaks. Do this in each area that you’ve marked. Once you’ve drilled the holes, remove the debris with a dry cloth.

3. Hammer your anchors in

Use your hammer to tap the anchors into the holes that you have just created. The anchors will keep your screws in your wall and provide extra security for your hanging. 

4. Drill your screws into the anchor 

Next, take your screws and drill them into the anchor, making sure you leave enough screw away from the wall to hang the cord on or to attach the screw eyes to. Russo says that ⅛ to ¼ inch of extra space is usually just enough to hang your piece.

5. Hang your art and make sure it’s level 

Now, tighten your screws and then hang your piece. Once it’s up, make sure it’s level (especially important for pieces hanging from a single wire).

If this whole hanging process seems daunting—or you’re unwilling or unable to make holes in the brick walls of your space—you could give brick clamps a try. Both handy and inexpensive, these hooks grab onto your brick without any tools. Make sure you measure your brick before you buy—they’re available in a range of sizes.