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DO-IT-YOURSELF : Getting the Hang of Art Clusters

September 25, 1993|From Associated Press

If you have several smaller items or an especially large wall on which to showcase your artwork, an arrangement of pieces may be your best bet. Such an assemblage can give decorative impact to small pieces that might be lost visually if displayed separately.

In groupings, artwork can be keyed by color, subject matter or by matching frames or mats. For interest, consider varying sizes and shapes of items in an arrangement. Another way to add variety is by varying the depth of the frames.

To keep a grouping from looking disorderly, create a geometric shape with the outer edges of the grouping and plan for at least one or two straight lines to run through the arrangement.

You can achieve cohesiveness by hanging items relatively close together, so they appear to be a unit. Make sure that one item in an arrangement doesn't overshadow the others. For example, a delicate watercolor can be overwhelmed if hung next to strong oils or posters.

If you have difficulty finding an eye-pleasing display, try arranging items in a V or inverted V shape. You might display a favorite decorative plate on a chest, for instance, and flank it with two botanical prints on the wall above. The eye will naturally be led from the prints to the plate.

What good is a work of art if you can't see it? In a place where you and guests are likely to be standing, such as a hall, hang pictures at standing eye level. Otherwise, pictures should relate to your eye level when seated. Be sure to place a picture so that the head of a seated person will not obscure it.

It's also best to mount items no more than one foot above furnishings. You want to compose a grouping in which picture and furniture seem related. Closeness gives this connection. If you need to hang a picture higher above a table or chest, fill the gap with a vase of flowers.

To avoid making unnecessary holes in your walls, try the following easy trick: Once you have an idea of how you'd like to hang your items, place them on a large piece of paper on the floor. (Newspaper or grocery sacks that have been split and taped together work.)

With a pencil, mark the spot on the paper where each nail or hanger should be placed. Then, tape the paper to the wall, hammer each nail through the appropriate mark and pull the paper off over the nails.

Anything weighing up to 10 pounds can be hung from nails, even on drywall. Adhesive hooks are ideal for lightweight use but need several hours to set.

For heavier items (up to 25 pounds), drywall hangers are easy to use and require no tools; the pointed end of the hanger easily twists into the hollow wall.

Brass hangers and nails come prepackaged according to weight and require only a few taps of the hammer. Hard-surface hangers and loops can be hammered into concrete, cinder block, hardwood and soft brick. To hang something on a hard brick wall, use a masonry nail.

To hang heavy objects on hollow walls, doors and ceilings, you'll need a drill, a screwdriver and anchors.

Metal expansion anchors have a shaft that spreads out and grips the back side of the wall when the bolt is screwed in tightly.

Toggle bolts require bigger holes than expansion hangers and are installed by pushing the bolt and hinged wings through the hole until the wings open. One drawback: The object must be held in place as the bolt is being installed.

Combination bolts are designed for hollow, thick or solid walls, or wherever you wish to avoid making a large hole.

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