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Articles by Chris A. Paschke, CPF GCF

"Hanging Systems for Home and Gallery"

May 2015

A full service frame shop probably also offers delivery and installation as part of their service. Installation may be as simple as hanging a single 24x36custom framed original oil on Floreat Hangers or may be the installation of an entire hanging system for museum, gallery, private studio, office or home.

Hanging systems consist of a track or rail that is firmly affixed to the ceiling or wall; cables, rods or suspenders hang vertically from the tracks; and hooks or hangers that are connected or threaded or clipped onto the cables to support and hold framed art.

Weight Distribution

All system parts will have a manufacturer calibrated rating for 3x that of a frame. If a rail, cable or hook lists at a weight limit of 100 lbs, it will most likely hold 300 lbs. If multiple frames are to be hung on the same wire then all must add up to less than the weight rating. (photo 1) Takiya heavy duty rails will support up to 150 lbs maximum art weight. Medium weight rails will hold between 65-110 lbs and lightweight rails support up to 33 lbs. Check with manufacturer weight recommendations when selecting a system.

201505_001Photo 1
Multiple pieces of art are hung from single or double wires, not to exceed weight limitations. These are single wires. Customer opted for a horizontal rail rather than cathedral rail placement.

If the safe load of a single rail, hook, and wire is 100 lbs, two wires may be able to hold twice that at 200 lbs. However, if a load were to become unbalanced during installation or earthquake all weight would be applied to one single wire which could exceed the safe load weight of the single wire and might not hold. Therefore, it is recommended never to exceed the maximum load of a single wire, opting for two wires for balance and to reduce art sway (diagram 1).

201505_D1Diagram 1


Once a hanging system has been selected and installed the placement of framed art on cables is random. The beauty of a non-invasive hanging system is the flexibility of all exhibitions. On a narrow horizontal wall, above a shelf of small framed encaustic paintings, a hung display may be either staggered or common line. A bottom common line will visually showcase the smaller encaustic panels on the tabletop easels atop the bookcase creating visual continuity (photo 2).

201505_002Photo 2
This small studio/gallery was installed 2010 for Walker-Strahan Gallery, Redding CA using an Arakawa rail, cable and hanger system.

In a sparsely set gallery consistency of common line may be important—all top, bottom, or midline—but in a studio gallery display each wall may be designed independently to accommodate the art being displayed. In another part of the gallery from there are two walls with cathedral ceilings where the height allowed for multiple frames per wire. Even then the arrangement varied with stacked 16x20— pastels per wire on one wall and a combination of vertical common line each side of a 22x28focal piece (photo 3).

201505_003Photo 3
Vertical common line placement on single wires with horizontal common line for the three rows.


Arakawa's Picture Hanging System is composed of aluminum rail, rail clip, cable and hanger (gripper). It features innovative hanging displays using quick-release cable grippers that integrates wall or ceiling-mounted rails with stainless steel cables, allowing maximum horizontal and vertical flexibility.

Grippers are available as a normal type hook; carabiner hook designed for more secure earthquake zones; key type is anti-theft with screw-lock closure; and anti-theft hanger with alarm function. The hardware is designed to be minimal and unobtrusive to feature the art not the hardware that hangs it. Arawaka is manufactured in Japan but is available at Larson-Juhl.


The Japanese Takiya MuSE—Museum Supporting Equipment—is a patented superior quality stainless steel and aluminum hanging hardware designed for museums, but is used by galleries around the world. Takiya's rails are firmly attached to walls or ceilings making these products safe for earthquake prone areas or public installations where art must be secured for safety concerns. There are two basic hook types: the open hook where the cable is hung onto the hook using an eyelet and the one touch hookwhere the steel cable is pressed into the bottom of the hook and held by a method that doesn't dent or damage the cable.

Their Koreder Line is a high quality system to display paintings in a safe, flexible and aesthetically pleasing manner. The system is characterized by the possibilities for either recessed or surface mounted rails in walls and ceilings. As any cable system, weight bearing should be set at 3x, or one third of the maximum load. For all Takiya products the indicated load capacity is set at ⅓ of the actual safe tested load. If a rail, cable or hook reads 100kg (220 lbs), it is actually safe for 300kg (660 lbs). If multiple frames are to be hung on the same wire then all must add up to less than the total weight rating. Rails also have weight bearing limitations. Heavy duty rails will support up to 150lbs art weight. Medium weight will hold up to 30-50kg (66-110lbs); and lightweight rails support up to 15kg/33lbs.

Cable wires are available as 1.2mm and 1.5mm gauge steel wire nylon coated clear, gray, yellow, blue and brown to blend with assorted wall colors. Heavier 2.5mm cables will handle loads up to 150lbs. As with any wire and hangers it is advised that two cables be used for valuable or heavy items, and that each should have a load capacity higher than the weight of the frame (photo 4).

201505_004Photo 4
Takiya MuSE safety hooks on heavy steel wire.

Takiya Line pro TCW-01 medium weights are designed to stabilize hanging cables (photo 5) being placed at the bottom of the cable for ground level support to help to prevent art sway. These are from the Line pro series and are available for 30, 50, 70kg or 66, 110, or 150lbs. Displayed at the Omega booth during WCAF (photo 6), clearly illustrating the bottom weighted two wire hanging solution for large art. Takiya Hanging Systems are safe & secure for hanging pictures available from Omega Moulding in USA and LION Framing Supplies, UK.

201505_005Photo 5
Takiya Line Pro medium weights are designed to stabilize their hanging cables to prevent art sway.

201505_006Photo 6
The Omega Moulding booth featuring Takiya Hanging Systems at January 2015 WCAF.


Newly is a system with specially designed Twister suspender rails. The Twister head fits into Click Rails, then twists 90and pulls down to lock leaving the barrel hidden inside the rail. Rails are available to support 20, 30, or 50kg (44, 66, 110 lbs), Twister perlon and Twister steel cable will each support up to 20kg/44lbs, but ratings need to be chosen for the hooks and cables.

Newly has a wide assortment of variations including squeeze adjustable, self-locking, screw-locking, solo hangers, and sloping stoppers. Push the top of the hook down to slide, then release to firmly relock in place (photo 7). Twister suspenders and Squeeze hooks are rated at 20kg and the lightweight Screw hooks are only 5kg/11lbs. Cables are available as perlon two synthetic polyamide fibers similar to nylon—translucent steel cable, silver steel rod, and white. Available from LION, UK

201505_007Photo 7
Newly Squeeze Adjustable Hook H100S has a security clip and is rated at 20kg/44 lbs. Squeeze down on the top, slide to locate and release to lock in place.


The patented STAS Minirail wall system is the thinnest picture hanging system, with its 16mm wide rail available in white or aluminum. The STAS Cliprail Pro is a heavier rail which is a suspension system for ceilings rated at 45kg/99lbs, and uses the STAS Cliprail clip and is rated at 25kg/55lbs per meter. The aluminum STAS Cliprail snaps onto buttons screwed into the wall which will support 25kg/55lbs per meter (photo 8).

201505_008Photo 8
The aluminum STAS Cliprail snaps onto buttons screwed into the wall which will support 25kg/55lbs per meter.

STAS Cobra is a unique patented suspender (wire) that can be placed directly in the Cliprail Max and is available as perlon nylon cord or Cobra steel cable available in white or black. STAS Cobra suspenders have a specially shaped metal head locked onto the end of the cable which hooks and locks into any STAS rail. There are a number of Cobra hooks and cords are for loads of 8lbs, 22lbs, 33lbs and 44lbs. The perlon plus Zipper hanger is not as strong rated at 10kg/22lbs while steel plus Zipper is rated at 15kg/33lbs per hook (photo 9). The Zippers are easy to install, squeeze to adjust, and release to self-lock. It is a flat shape which allows the frame to hang closer to wall. The patented STAS Zipper pro is equipped with an extra theft-delaying bracket which also helps hold art if bumped or during earthquakes (photo 10).

201505_009Photo 9
The STAS Zipper on STAS Cobra cable will support 15kg/33bs, are easy to install and adjust as needed. Perlon and Zipper only supports 10kg/22lbs.

201505_010Photo 10
The STAS Zipper and Zipper Pro (shown) security hangers lie flatter against the wall and are easy to install, squeeze to adjust, release to self-lock, as needed.

STAS J-Rail Max is designed for heavy paintings, professional displays and offers a range of security options Rails are installed using preset countersunk holes about every 10 inches for flathead screws. Steel or aluminum Gallery Rods are used rather than cables. Hooks vary for required picture weight with small basic steel J-Hooks rated for 5kg/11lb to J-Security Hooks at 40kg/88lb. All slide onto the 4mm square rods and self-lock at desired heights (photo 11) STAS is available from LION Framing Supplies, UK, STAS Picture Hanging, Picture Hanging Systems and Art Hanging Systems.

201505_011Photo 11
STAS J-Rail hooks slide onto4mm square rods that self-lock at desired heights. Basic steel J-Hooks are rated for 5kg/11lb.

AS Hanging Display Systems

Like other brands, AS Hanging offers a full line of specialty hanging systems. Click Rail is a wall track for business and residential use with a maximum track load of 78lbs. Tracks may be mounted behind finish carpentry, moldings, or trim so the track is hidden among architectural details and cables may be inserted, or removed, along the entire length of the wall track. The Cable System is for more commercial strength and public spaces with an open-faced wall or ceiling track which has a maximum track load of 300lbs. The transparent nylon or steel cables are perfect for art displays in galleries and museums.

The Classic System is the most heavy-duty of all the line being based on rods where strength, anti-theft and convenience are optimum. Rods are available in various lengths and colors and suspend from an open-faced, heavy-duty wall or ceiling track which avoids putting holes in walls. The Contempo System is the most versatile design of wall track with a maximum load of 78lb, but adapts to curved and straight walls equally well. It uses rods, cables and cords and is mounted from small standoffs making is perfect for hard to fit areas.

The Gallery System Concept

Like the previous systems there are three components: tracks (rails), hangers (wire) and hooks. Each component has several options to match all display needs. Tracks are available in white or aluminum which are mounted on the wall, eight to fifteen feet above the floor. Track sections can be mounted end-to-end to span a long wall or may be cut. Hangers are stainless steel cables inserted into the track that hang close to the wall and slide horizontally along the track to any position. Hooks attach to the hangers, and slide up and down to any height. When locked in place, they are ready to securely hold your art.

Final Thoughts

When framing with rag boards, museum glass, Tyvek dust cover and premium or angled strap hangers, it stands to reason that all details should be upgraded including the wall mount system. Whether Arakawa, Takiya, STAS, Newly, AS Hanging Display or Gallery System Concept, displaying framed art the way a museum would fully completes any truly custom framing and installation which can never compare to a 10hanger and holes in the wall. A hanging system just may be the perfect installation solution for any high end framer.

Copyright © 2015 Chris A Paschke

ResourcesItems—Takiya (USA), MuSE, Koreder—Takiya, STAS systems UK, Newly, J-Rail—STAS hanging systems—STAS hanging systems—STAS hanging systems—AS Hanging Display System—The Gallery System Concept—Arakawa Hanging Systems—Arakawa

For more articles on mounting basics look under the mounting section in Articles by Subject.
Additional information on all types of mounting is found in:
The Mounting and Laminating Handbook, Second Edition, 2002,
The Mounting And Laminating Handbook, Third Edition, 2008 and
Creative Mounting, Wrapping, And Laminating, 2000 will teach you everything you need to know about getting the most from your dry mount equipment and materials as an innovative frame designer.

All books are available from Designs Ink Publishing through this website.

Chris A Paschke, CPF GCF
Designs Ink
Designs Ink Publishing
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