Plaster walls are a beautiful and timeless characteristic that can be found in any home, but when it comes to hanging pictures, these walls can be difficult to work with. 

Plaster walls, in contrast to drywall walls, call for a few more precautions to be taken in order to guarantee that your hung artwork will not only remain securely in place but will also not compromise the structural soundness of the wall. 

In this detailed article, we will reveal expert ideas and techniques for hanging pictures on plaster walls and having them stick there, which will enable you to display your artwork or cherished images with complete assurance.

What Is a Plaster Wall Made Of?

Plaster was the material of choice for interior walls until the 1940s. 

In order to construct a strong and sturdy wall, individual pieces of wood, known as a lath, were stacked one on top of the other in a layered fashion. 

A wood framing piece, known as a wall stud, supports this lath. 

The wooden lath and studs are held together with the assistance of nails. 

Plaster is applied in multiple layers on top of a wall in order to give it a great finish and create a finished product.

Plaster was the material of choice for wall construction prior to the invention of drywall. 

The horizontal strips of wood or lath that makeup plaster walls are placed one on top of the other. 

After that, these layers are attached to the wall studs with nails, and then plaster is applied on top to provide a good finish.

The surface of a plaster wall is typically rough and uneven, which contributes to the appearance of an older home.

In addition to that, it is more contour-friendly and thicker. 

Home builders have more creative leeway when working with plaster walls since they can design curves and arches around the ceiling and the walls. 

Comparatively speaking to drywall, it is both more brittle and more labour-consuming to work with.

Plaster walls, in a nutshell, are constructed of lath that is fastened to wall studs and then covered in plaster. 

Drywall panels have finally become the standard material utilised in modern house construction. 

This was mostly attributable to the fact that they are less fragile and need less effort to install. 

Plaster-wall construction, on the other hand, is making a comeback in certain circles.

The Advantages of Plaster Wall vs. Drywall

There are a few benefits that come along with having a plaster wall

First, it frequently possesses a rough and uneven surface, creating the impression of an elegant, well-worn house. 

Drywall, on the other hand, is level and smooth and does not possess a significant amount of character.

Plaster walls are thicker than drywall walls, which gives an additional level of soundproofing that is very much needed. 

Last but not least, a plaster wall is more contour-friendly, enabling home builders to construct curves around the ceiling and along the edge of the wall. 

Plaster walls, on the other hand, are notoriously fragile compared to drywall, and as a result, they tend to crack and chip far more easily.

How to Hang Heavy Things on Plaster Walls Using a Wall Stud

In most cases, hanging heavy pictures on a wall stud rather than a nail or screw is advisable. 

As was just discussed, the wall stud is the point at which the wooden lath is attached to the wooden frame that is hidden beneath the plaster. 

As a result, this is the area of the wall that is the most stable, making it the best location for hanging images. 

Having said that, the stud in the wall might need to be in the best possible spot for hanging your artwork in terms of its aesthetic.

How to Find a Wall Stud

You will need to use a magnetic stud finder to identify the location of a wall stud. 

Stud finders can do their job by locating and identifying the metal nails embedded in the wall studs. 

After discovering one stud, you can easily locate the remaining studs by measuring 16 inches (the typical distance between studs) on either side of the first stud.

In order to mount a picture on a wall stud, you can make use of long wooden plaster screws. 

Drilling a hole in the plaster first is not required, but it is strongly advised because doing so will significantly lessen the likelihood that the plaster will break. 

Putting a piece of masking tape over the region that will be drilled into is another recommended procedure to follow for optimal results.

How to Hang On Plaster-Walls With a Picture Hanging System

Utilising a picture hanging system such as an all-in-one click rail cable hanging kit is the most effective method for dealing with the challenge of hanging pictures on plaster. 

Installing a rail along the length of the wall is all that is required to make this system function. 

Once the rail is in place, images can be hung from cables that are attached to the rail and secured with hooks. 

When it comes to hanging and rehanging wall decorations, you will always have flexibility at your disposal because the hanging wires may be clicked onto or pushed into the rail at any location you choose. 

It also offers any area in your house a one-of-a-kind aesthetic that is reminiscent of a museum, whether you use it to hang large works of art in your living room or more intimate images in your office space.

If you are fortunate enough to have a picture rail, a little piece of moulding hung a few inches below the ceiling, then hanging pictures will be the least difficult task for you. 

However, that is a feature that is rare, and it only works for things that aren’t very heavy, which is why I mention it as the last thing.

You will need some picture hooks, and then you will hang the picture using some wire that has been cut to the necessary length. 

In my opinion, employing a drill to locate the lath in the wall is a simpler option than fumbling around with the wire, but employing picture hooks eliminates the requirement to make holes in the wall, which is something that many individuals will find to be an advantage.

How Much Weight Can a Picture Hanging System Hold?

Because the weight of a picture is dispersed along the full rail, it can take up to 300 pounds. 

As a result, it is the best alternative for hanging objects on plaster walls because it can hold that much weight. 

The illustration that you may find by following the link above can accommodate up to 4 photos. 

This method prevents damage to the walls, is adaptable to a variety of wall decorations, and is capable of holding heavy things for an extended period of time!

The method you use will determine the maximum amount of weight you can hang on your plaster wall. 

Wall-hanging methods that do not screw into wall studs can support up to nine kilogrammes (20 pounds) of weight, according to a general rule of thumb. 

If you are hanging bigger objects and drive screws into the studs in your wall, you can safely hang items that weigh between 150 and 200 pounds (70 and 90 kilos).

  • Plaster wall-hanging methods that do not rely on wall studs are capable of supporting up to 20 pounds (9 kg) of weight.
  • When screws are driven into wall studs, it is possible to hang objects that weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kg).
  • Before deciding on a wall-hanging system, you should first determine the weight of the item you intend to hang.

Before deciding on a method for hanging something on your plaster walls, it is essential to have an accurate understanding of the weight of the object you intend to hang. 

A straightforward adhesive hook is sufficient for hanging a picture frame, but you’ll need a more robust hanging method for a wall sculpture or television.

How Much Weight Can a Picture Hanging System Hold?

Adhesive Hooks

Utilising an adhesive hook is a terrific choice when it comes to hanging lightweight artwork. 

They are an excellent choice for photos weighing less than five pounds each.

To begin, clean the surface of the wall by wiping it down with rubbing alcohol or soapy water. 

After the surface has been given enough time to dry, remove the covering strip from the rear of the hook and then affix the adhesive hook to the wall. 

Your image is going to hang wonderfully without causing any damage to the wall. 

You must be aware that adhesive hooks will not function very well if the plaster on your wall has a particularly rough surface.

Double Sided Tape

The use of double-sided tape is a very practical alternative to consider for hanging very light images weighing less than 2 pounds. 

Before you begin, double-check that your walls have been meticulously cleaned and dried. 

After placing the painter’s tape on the frame, you will need to press it firmly against the wall to secure it securely.

In the case of double-sided tape, on the other hand, it is essential to be aware that when it is removed, it frequently leaves flaws on the wall.

How to Prepare Plaster Walls For Hanging Items

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When you have determined whether your walls are made of plaster or drywall, the next step in decorating will be to select the most suitable method for your walls. 

Plaster is an extremely brittle material that is far more difficult to work with than drywall. 

When nails are hammered directly into plaster, it can cause holes with an irregular shape and even shatter the plaster. 

Make use of the method that is detailed below to avoid this:

  • Locate a stud in the plaster walls of your home. Use this magnetic stud finder instead of a regular stud finder because most stud finders won’t function on plaster.
  • Put a piece of tape across the spot where the hole is going to be drilled. Start drilling through the tape and into the walls once you’ve done that. This stops the drill bit from splitting the plaster during the drilling process.
  • Carefully drill the hole in the wall. Drilling through at a slight downward angle may be useful when using particular hooks or screws. This will allow the hardware that you employ to function as a hook.

You can skip the first step if you are utilising a system for hanging things on the wall that does not require you to locate studs first. 

You will need to use a magnetic stud finder to locate the studs in heavier objects. 

Because plaster is so thick and is supported with wood, most ordinary stud finders are unable to locate studs when used on plaster walls. 

Finding the nails that attach the lath to the studs is how a magnetic stud finder determines where the studs are located in the plaster.

Best Ways to Hang Things on Plaster Walls Without Nails

When it comes to hanging things on plaster walls, there are better tools to use than nails. 

In addition to being an uphill task, driving a nail into plaster exposes one to the possibility of splitting the surface of the plaster. 

After all of that labour, the hole in the plaster is frequently slightly wider than the nail, which results in a loose fit and decor that falls off. 

By using the following strategies, you can steer clear of all these headaches.

Wood Screws Without Anchors

Wood screws measuring 2 and a half inches are the most appropriate hardware to use when it comes time to hang something that weighs more than 20 pounds (9 kilogrammes). 

You can use a magnetic stud finder to locate the solid wood on your wall. 

After that, prepare the hole for your screw by using tape and an electric drill to pre-drill it. 

Drill the screw into the wall, being sure to leave about a quarter of an inch or six millimetres of the screw protruding from the wall.

  • When hanging decorations that weigh more than 20 pounds (9 kilos), secure them to wall studs using wood screws measuring 2 1/2 inches.
  • Before putting screws, you should first pre-drill holes through the plaster and into the studs.
  • A single wood screw that is 2 1/2 inches long and installed into a stud can hold between 80 and 100 pounds (35 and 45 kg).
  • Use wood screws to fasten multiple studs together to secure particularly weighty objects.

Remember that one wood screw may support up to 80–100 pounds (35–45 kg) when put into a stud. 

When working with huge items that span numerous studs, you should place one screw in each stud. 

You are able to hang things that weigh in excess of 200 pounds when you use many screws in conjunction with one another.

Screws with Anchors

There are various scenarios in which you might want to hang something on the wall despite the absence of studs. 

Don’t worry; your tried-and-true screws will still come in handy here. 

By first pre-drilling a hole in the plaster, then inserting a plaster anchor, and then placing the screw into the anchor, it is possible to hang decorations weighing up to 20 pounds (9 kilogrammes).

  • When no wall studs are available, you can hang things by screwing anchors into the wall.
  • Anchored screws have a load capacity of up to 19.1 kilogrammes (20 pounds).
  • First, you should pre-drill the hole, insert the plaster anchor, and last, put the screw in.
  • Anchors that require tapping should not be used on plaster walls.

When working with plaster, you should avoid using self-tapping anchors. 

These are made specifically for drywall and will not penetrate plaster because of their design. 

In order to install an anchor into plaster walls, you will first need to pre-drill a hole and then insert the anchor.

Adhesive Hook

It is optional to drill a hole in your plaster wall to hang goods weighing less than 5 pounds (2 kilogrammes). Make use of adhesive hooks instead.

  • Make use of these self-adhesive hooks to hang objects weighing less than 2.2 kilogrammes (5 pounds).
  • Before applying the sticky hook, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and a sponge to remove any residue.

Rub some rubbing alcohol on a towel and wipe off the wall before applying the adhesive hook to the wall in order to prepare the region for its new use. 

This will clean the surface, removing any debris and grime that could inhibit the adhesive’s performance. 

After the spot has been cleaned and allowed to dry, you may next put up your hook and hang the item.

Drywall Hook

The usage of drywall hooks on plaster walls is possible, despite the name of the hooks themselves.

These thin wire hooks are effective because they penetrate the wall through a narrow opening and provide support from the interior. 

When there are no studs available, they can be used to hang objects weighing up to 19 kilogrammes (about 20 pounds) each.

  • You may hang up to 19 kilogrammes (20 pounds) of decorations using these monkey hooks, which are also known as drywall hooks.
  • Hooks designed specifically for use in drywall can be attached to areas of the wall in which studs are absent.
  • In order to put the drywall hook into the plaster, you will first need to pre-drill a small hole in the plaster.

When used in drywall, these hooks can typically be installed in the drywall by simply being pushed through the material by hand. 

Plaster doesn’t respond well to that at all. 

Before you can insert the hook, you will first need to secure a piece of tape in place and then pre-drill a hole. 

The good news is that you just need to make a tiny hole in the wall.

Plaster Hook

As their name suggests, plaster hooks were developed expressly to hang things on plaster walls. 

Because a plaster hook is essentially a flat hook that is hooked to a thin nail, this may be considered breaking the rule that states “no nails”; nonetheless, these hooks are significantly more effective than a regular nail.

  • Plaster hooks have the capacity to hold goods weighing up to 19 kilogrammes (20 pounds).
  • Before inserting the nail portion of the plaster hook, a hole should be pre-drilled at an angle.
  • Tap the nail into position using a light touch until the rear of the hook is firmly pressed into the wall.

It is essential to be aware that plaster hooks are manufactured with a nail slanted upwards to improve their ability to remain embedded in plaster walls. 

To ensure the safest possible installation, drill the pilot hole for the plaster hook in a downwards-angled direction before proceeding with the installation.

Picture Rail

Hanging wall decorations on picture rails is a lovely and traditional way to do it. 

They function in a manner analogous to that of a moulding strip around the top of the room. 

Wall hangings, such as artwork or mirrors, can be hung at any height, thanks to cables extending down from the picture rail strip. 

A whole wall of artwork or photographs of the family can be hung on a picture rail if you use it properly.

  • With the help of this picture rail, you may hang a number of different things on a single wall.
  • Because they are attached to the studs using wood screws, picture rails have the capacity to support hundreds of pounds of weight.
  • Every hook on a picture rail has the capacity to handle between 20 and 25 pounds (9 and 11 kilogrammes). It is not difficult to suspend decorations weighing up to 50 pounds (22 kilogrammes) from a picture rail because two hooks hold the majority of products.

Picture rails are a sturdy and reliable alternative. 

Put screws into the wall studs that go through the picture rail and into the wall itself to secure it to the wall. Because of this, each picture rail can easily support hundreds of pounds suspended from it.

Toggle Bolt

To compare, toggle bolts combine the functions of a screw and an anchor in a single unit. 

You will need to pre-drill a hole in order to be able to feed the folding toggle bolt through the hole. 

Once the toggle bolt is completely inserted into the wall, its wings will unfold and brace themselves against the wall’s interior. 

Each bolt can easily support up to nine kilogrammes (20 pounds) when using this technique.

  • To suspend goods weighing up to 19 kilogrammes (about 20 pounds), use these toggle bolts in areas of the wall where there are no wall studs.
  • Toggle bolts are a type of screw-and-anchor system that is designed for heavy-duty use.

Many individuals prefer toggle bolts due to their superior ease of installation and removal in comparison to conventional screws and anchors. 

They are an excellent option for eliminating the need for nails on your plaster walls.

How Do You Hang Things on a Plaster Wall Without Nails?

Mirrors, artwork, photographs, and even TV mounts may be hung on plaster walls in many different ways, and none of them requires using nails. 

Items weighing more than 20 pounds (9 kilos) should have wood screws driven into the wall studs to secure them.

You can use drywall hooks, plaster hooks, toggle bolts, or anchoring screws to hang goods weighing up to 20 pounds without having to locate studs in the wall. 

Use adhesive hooks for goods that weigh less than 5 pounds (2 kilogrammes). 

Think about utilising a picture rail if you want to hang many things on a single wall.

Hanging Pictures On Plaster Walls

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Now that you are aware of what is located behind you, you should realise that there is a significant amount of lath. 

Because the lath is so sturdy, that is an excellent feature to have if you want to hang things on your wall. 

Although it is not quite as strong as a stud, lath is still strong enough to allow you to hang pictures, curtain rods (see my experience here), and other light to medium-heavy objects directly from it without the need for an anchor.

Identify Where You’ll Hang the Picture

It is to your advantage to have flexibility, especially the capacity to shift your position by an inch in either direction.

And you’ve probably already figured this out, but because plaster walls can be picky if you’ve got a crack in the wall, it’s also a fantastic distractor to hang your picture on top of the crack. 

If you have a crack in the wall, it’s also a great distractor to hang your picture on top of the crack. 

If you can conceal everything, it would be the best-case scenario.

After you have determined where you want to hang the image, make a mark on the wall with a pencil at that location.

Find the Lath

Try drilling a small hole in the wall and observing whether or not you strike any wood.

If you run into any wood, you will need to keep applying pressure to the drill. 

The drill will suddenly thrust forwards against the wall if you come into contact with air while you are using it. 

When hanging light objects on plaster walls, you want to hit wood whenever possible.

If you hit wood, that’s fantastic, you can go on to the following level.

In that case, you most likely discovered a gap between the individual pieces of lath. 

Try again after moving the drill up or down by about half an inch. 

You really need to be lucky this time!

An important thing to keep in mind is that plaster can quickly dull drill bits. 

I always have a “plaster wall bit” on hand, a special drill bit only used on plaster. 

Because of this, I won’t have to worry about wearing out drill bits whenever I need to hang something on the wall.

Drive the Screw Into the Wall

If you hang the painting with a picture hanger, screw it to the wall rather than using a nail. 

You want that screw to grip the board well, whereas a nail will merely sit in the hole you bored.)

In that case, you should screw the hook directly into the wall and then hang the picture from the hook.


Plaster walls are made of strips of wood or lath layered on top of each other and nailed to wall studs. 

They have a rough and uneven surface, giving off an old-home aesthetic, but are more labour-intensive than drywall. 

The plaster wall is thicker and more contour friendly but more brittle and can break easier. 

To hang heavy pictures on plaster walls, use a wall stud and a picture hanging system like the all-in-one click rail cable hanging kit. 

A picture-hanging system can hold up to 300 pounds and can be used to hang light objects on plaster walls.

Adhesive hooks are ideal for pictures that weigh less than 5 pounds. 

Adhesive hooks and double-sided tape are convenient options for light pictures, but double-sided tape can leave blemishes. 

To prepare plaster walls for hanging items, use a magnetic stud finder and mark the hole with tape. 

A magnetic stud finder is the best tool for hanging items on plaster walls without nails. 

Wood screws without anchors are the best tool for heavy items, while anchored screws can hold up to 20 pounds (9 kilos).

Use adhesive hooks to hang items under 5 pounds (2 kilos), drywall hooks to hold items up to 20 pounds (9 kilos), and plaster hooks to hang items up to 20 pounds (9 kilos). 

Pre-drill a hole and insert the anchor. 

Plaster hooks, picture rails, toggle bolts, and wood screws are all options for hanging items on plaster walls without nails. 

Toggle bolts are heavy-duty screw-and-anchor systems that can hold up to 20 pounds (9 kilos) per bolt. 

Hanging pictures on plaster walls requires using anchored screws, drywall hooks, plaster hooks, or toggle bolts. 

Identify where you want to hang the picture, drill a small hole in the wall, and drive a screw into the wall.

Content Summary

  • How to Hang Pictures on Plaster Walls and Have Them Stick There Plaster walls can be a beautiful and classic feature of any home, but when it comes to hanging pictures, they can pose a challenge.
  • Unlike drywall, plaster walls require some special considerations to ensure that your pictures not only stay securely in place but also maintain the integrity of the wall.
  • In this comprehensive guide, we will share expert tips and techniques on hanging pictures on plaster walls and have them stick there, allowing you to showcase your artwork or cherished photographs confidently.
  • The Advantages of Plaster Wall vs. Drywall Plaster wall has a few great qualities.
  • How to Hang Heavy Things on Plaster Walls Using a Wall Stud Generally speaking, it’s best to hang heavy pictures on a wall stud.
  • That being said, the wall stud may be in a better location to hang your picture stylistically.
  • A long wooden plaster screw can hang a picture in a wall stud.
  • How to Hang On Plaster-Walls With a Picture-Hanging System The ideal solution for hanging pictures on plaster is to use a picture-hanging system like the all-in-one click rail cable hanging kit.
  • You’ll grab some picture hooks and then hang the picture using wire to your desired length.
  • Determine the weight of your item before you choose a wall-hanging system.
  • Adhesive Hooks A great option for hanging a light picture is to use an adhesive hook.
  • Start by cleaning the wall surface with rubbing alcohol or soapy water.
  • Make sure to thoroughly clean and dry your walls before.
  • How to Prepare Plaster Walls For Hanging Items Once you have determined if your walls are plaster or drywall, it’s time to take the appropriate course of action for decorating.
  • To avoid this, use the system below: Find a stud in your plaster walls.
  • Drill through the tape and into the walls.
  • Drill the hole carefully.
  • Wood Screws Without Anchors When it comes time to hang an item that weighs more than 20 pounds (9 kilos), 2 1/2-inch wood screws are the best tool for the job.
  • Use a magnetic stud finder to find solid wood on your wall.
  • Set 2 1/2 inch wood screws into wall studs to hang decor weighing more than 20 pounds (9 kilos) Pre-drill holes through plaster and into studs before setting screws.
  • Insert wood screws into multiple studs to hold extremely heavy items.
  • You can hang decor up to 20 pounds (9 kilos) by pre-drilling a hole in the plaster, inserting a plaster anchor, and then setting the screw into the anchor.
  • Avoid using self-tapping anchors on plaster.
  • Simply use adhesive hooks.
  • Use these adhesive hooks to hang items under 5 pounds (2 kilos).
  • Clean the area with rubbing alcohol and a washcloth before applying the adhesive hook.
  • You will need to pre-drill a small hole in your plaster to insert the drywall hook.
  • Picture Rail Picture rails are a beautiful and classic way to hang wall decor.
  • You can use a picture rail to create an entire wall of artwork or family photos.
  • Each hook on a picture rail can hold 20–25 pounds (9–11 kilos).
  • Affix the picture rail to the wall by setting screws through the rail and into your wall studs.
  • They’re a great choice for going nail-free on your plaster walls.
  • There are several ways to hang mirrors, art, photos, and TV mounts on your plaster walls without using a single nail.
  • Consider using a picture rail to hang multiple items on a single wall.
  • That’s great for hanging stuff on your wall because the lath is strong!
  • And you’ve probably figured this out, but since plaster walls can be demanding if you’ve got a crack in the wall, it’s also a great distractor to hang your picture on top of the crack.
  • Once you’ve figured out where you want to hang the picture, mark the spot with a pencil.
  • Find the Lath, Drill a small hole in the wall, and note if you hit wood or not.


How Do You Stick Something to Plaster?

Screws (and screws with masonry anchors for heavy items) are your best choice for hanging things on plaster walls without picture rail. 

For lighter items, simply screwing into the plaster with a 1 1/4” drywall screw is usually enough to get the job done.

How Do You Stick Something to Plaster?

Molly Bolts and Toggle Bolts are the best anchors for plaster walls. 

They provide extra support by expanding on the other side of the wall, holding the screw and your frame securely. 

Just remember that your anchors should be long enough to go through the plaster and lath.

Is It Hard to Hang Things on Plaster Walls?

It’s actually not too hard to hang things on plaster walls, however, as long as you use screws and work slowly and carefully. 

Pre-drill the holes, and use fairly long screws to ensure a secure fit. 

If you’re hanging heavy objects, use screws with anchors for added protection.

Is It Hard to Hang Things on Plaster Walls?

It is possible to hang artwork on plaster walls without causing damage, here are a few options to consider: 

Drill and Hang: Once you know where to hang your piece (see Hang & Level below) cover the mark with painters’ tape or masking tape to prevent the plaster from cracking or crumbling around the nail hole.

Is It Better to Hang Pictures in Plaster or Drywall?

Drywall is softer and thinner than plaster walls, and nails can be hammered into drywall without usually causing damage. 

Plaster is more brittle and can crack or chip, so you will always want to pre-drill a hole in the plaster before adding any hardware, such as a nail, screw, or anchor.


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