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Install a Museum Wall-Art Hanging System

Learn how to create a professional-looking art display with a track-and-cable system.

Show your art off like a pro with this project. Just decide on the system that will work best for your collection. There are heavy-duty steel-cable systems for large canvases and mirrors (45 pounds and up) and clear nylon cable for lighter paintings and pictures. You can find gallery systems online (search for “picture hanging system”) and in framing and art stores.

Materials and Tools:

three 2-meter tracks, satin anodized
set of 10 hangers with stainless steel cable
set of 10 classic hooks
two silver track-end caps
cable light kit
cordless dimmer system
hammer
cordless drill/screwdriver
electrician's pliers
level
pencil
Philips and flat-head screwdrivers
tape measure
wire strippers

Steps:

1. Measure the wall. Plan to leave the track 1 inch short of any obstructions on the side - you'll need the space to slide the hanging cables in.

2. Buy the pieces you'll need. You'll need enough top tracks to run the length of the wall. Use a single cable and hook for light, balanced items that could normally hang from one nail. Use two cables and hooks for heavier items - two 45-pound-rated hooks to hold a 90-pound mirror, for instance. Multiple hooks can be used on a single cable to hang lighter pictures in a stacked formation.

3. Screw the track to the wall. Mount it tight to the ceiling so the track blends in with the room as much as possible. If you have vaulted ceilings, hang the track level with the lowest point of the ceiling. Mounting it tight to the ceiling will provide a solid piece of framing (the top plate of the wall framing) to screw to. Just screw through the pre-drilled holes using 1 5/8-inch drywall screws.

4. Install the lighting. The kit comes with two cables, lights and a transformer or ballast. Attach the cable hooks to the walls on each end of the gallery wall. Make sure to use the correct anchor for the situation (screws for wood studs, wall anchors for drywall or concrete). The hooks should be about 18 inches from the gallery wall to get the most light with the least glare.

5. Wrap the cables on the hooks and stretch them tight. Use the included turnbuckles to tighten.

6. Attach the transformer to the cables with the included clips. These run the low-voltage power from the transformer to the cables.

7. Clip the lights along the cable so they'll highlight the hanging art.

8. Slide in the cables to hang the artwork. They slide into the bottom of the track from the end. Slide them into place based on your needs.

9. Slide the hooks onto the cables. They slide up from the bottom of the cable and lock into place at any height.

10. For a cleaner look, coil the excess cable and tie it to the back of the hook. This will keep excess wire from hanging down from behind the picture.

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