How to Hang Heavy Things on Plaster Walls [EASY METHOD]

Picture this! You have an amazing minimalist interior decoration of how you want your private space to look. You even got cool picture frames in the hopes of hanging them on your wall once you settle in.

But, now that you're moving in, you realize that hanging your picture frames and other heavy stuff of yours seems impossible, and it is no thanks to the plaster walls.

Oops! Do you abandon your dream of having an amazing minimalist design in your new home because of the plaster walls? I think not. Sure. Hanging stuff on plaster walls can be challenging. You could start a crack in the wall, which is expensive to mend. And if you do not mend the crack, trust me! It gets worse.

But don't worry! I've got you covered in the "hanging heavy things on the plaster wall" department. I will take you through the step-by-step process required for you to safely hang things - light and heavy, on your plaster wall.

So, without further ado, let's dive in!

What are Plaster Walls?

Plaster Wall

Although plaster walls are a thing of the past, they have not exactly stayed in the past. People started using plaster walls in their homes from the 1940s. As a result, it has transcended from generation to generation, and quite a few people still use plaster walls in their houses, offices, etc.

So, what are Plaster walls? They are a type of wall material for house interiors. The set up of plaster walls goes through a three-coat process. The first process includes the securing of lath (usually woods layered over each other) to wall studs - also called frames.

Then, for the second process, the plaster material (in recent times, gypsum-based plasters are used) is mixed with water to get a specific consistency. Once perfectly mixed, the plaster is applied to the lath, layer by layer. Boom! You have your plaster wall.

Even though plaster walls have been around for quite a while, some of the materials used in ancient times have been replaced with other types of materials. For instance, gypsum-based plasters were not the kind of plasters used in ancient times.

Fun fact: even though plaster walls are usually thicker than drywall, you could easily damage the wall while trying to hang heavy things - like your television, artwork, etc., on it. But, by following the easy steps and methods, you can hang heavy stuff on your plaster walls without causing any damage.

Using a Wall Stud…

Wall Stud

Undoubtedly, hanging heavy things on a plaster wall via a wall stud is the best choice you can ever make for your plaster wall. As earlier stated, wall studs are the frames that support the lath used in the building of plaster walls.

They are thick, making them the best part of the wall to hang your heavy items on. However, because the wall studs and lath are already coated in plasters, you can exactly tell where the wall studs are at.

What you need...

  • Magnet Wall Stud
  • Measuring ruler
  • Drill
  • Masking tape
  • Long wooden plaster screws.
  • Screwdriver

Step One: You have to first look for the studs. No! You indeed won't find them by running your hands on the plaster to feel the texture of the wall studs - unless you are an expert in that field. But, if you have no idea which part of the plaster the wall studs are at, a magnetic stud finder would help you out here. Once it finds a wall stud, you would know. 

Magnet Wall Stud

Step Two: Use the measuring ruler (for accuracy). Measure the 16 inches from the initial wall stud to the left or right sides to find another wall stud. You might need to measure more than 16 inches, depending on how the wall was built. If you need to, your magnetic wall stud would decide this for you. But 16 inches is standard.

Measuring ruler

Step Three: Mark the wall stud areas with masking tape.

masking tape

Step Four: Drill holes into the marked areas.

Drill plaster wall

Step Five: Screw the long wooden plaster screws into the two drilled holes.

long screws for wood

Step Six: Hang your heavy item carefully on the screws.

Hang heavy item with screws

Boom! You have successfully hung your item.

A note of warning: the only disadvantage with using a wall stud is that it might not be in the ideal position where you would like to hang your things.



Don't have access to any magnet wall stud? Or perhaps you can't find any wall stud in the right places? Try using anchors. With anchors, you don't need to go wall stud hunting. It is a much easier way to hang heavy things on plaster walls. Since you won't need to screw into a wall stud, you should use an anchor screw like a Toggle bolt or a Molly bolt.

What You Need…

  • Painter's tape
  • Toggle or Molly Bolts
  • Level
  • Measuring ruler.
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver

Step One: Using the Measuring ruler, measure the distance between the keyholes behind your item, if it has two keyholes. But, if it only has one keyhole, there probably won't be any need to measure anything. 

mark the measurement

Step Two: If your item has two keyholes, like a mirror, mark the measurement on the part of the wall where you want to hang your item. 

Using the Measuring ruler

A note of warning: If you do not like seeing pencil marks on your wall, cover the area where your item is going to hang with the painter's tape. 

Step Three: After marking the measurements on the wall, connect the measurements on the wall with a level by drawing a horizontal line. But, the horizontal line is only necessary if your item has two keyholes for hanging it on the wall. 

drawing a horizontal line

Step Four: Drill a hole into the marked measurement first. Ensure that the hole is a bit smaller than the mouth of your anchor.

Drill a hole into the marked area

Step Five: Using a hammer, carefully and slightly tap the anchor into the drilled hole. Then, continue by screwing the anchor into the wall till you can't screw it in anymore. Once it is firm, back it up a bit. Then, screw it out a bit so that you can hang your item on the anchor. 

tap the anchor

Step Six: Carefully hang the item on the anchor.

hang the itemon the anchor

A fun fact: Using an anchor ensures that the screw firmly hangs on to the wall without the use of a wall stud. 

Picture Rails

Picture Rails

If you need to hang pictures, you can use picture rails. They are usually installed by an expert and are a traditional way to hang pictures. It is usually installed at the top of the wall, above the door or window.

Once installed, you can attach a hanging kit to the picture rail. This hanging kit might include a holed molding hook or an anchor hook with a transparent cord. Simply attach these hooks to the picture rail and hang your pictures on them.

In Conclusion

if the object you want to hang is a collection of picture frames, a picture rail would be a great choice. Being flexible and durable, you can arrange the pictures stylishly together.

These methods of hanging heavy things on plaster walls ensure that you do not damage your plaster wall. Trust me; you do not want that to happen. Why? Fixing a crack in a plaster wall is quite expensive.

And, no matter how little a crack is, it is best to fix it as soon as possible. Or else, it would keep expanding, and the walls would start to sag. But no worries! These easy methods ensure that you hang heavy things on your wall without damaging it.

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