Picture Rail, Picture Hooks, Chains, Cords, Wires, Cables and French Gallery Rods

Picture Rail, Picture Hooks, Chains, Cords, Wires, Cables and French Gallery Rods

I have been hanging paintings on my walls. Every time I move them, I make more holes.  We moved the mantel to another wall and all the paintings in the living room will have to be rearranged. There is a way to do it without making more holes in the walls.

There are a lot of options and all of them are affordable.

Picture Rail Wicklow Hall Plantation, State Route 30, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Picture Rail
Wicklow Hall Plantation, State Route 30, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

I was at an antique store and they had chains on the walls. All the paintings that were for sale were suspended on the chains from S hooks. But I couldn’t remember how they held the chains up. I searched and found out this is a really old idea. People hung a picture rail that held hooks to suspend your pictures.

Picture Rail Wicklow Hall Plantation, State Route 30, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Picture Rail
Wicklow Hall Plantation, State Route 30, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

In this historic house they only have a couple of the paintings hung from the picture rail, but I don’t see why I can’t hang all of them that way, like the way they were hung in the antique store.

Picture Rail Wicklow Hall Plantation, State Route 30, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Picture Rail
Wicklow Hall Plantation, State Route 30, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

Here is a closer look. This painting is hung from a cord that is hooked onto the picture rail.

Three piece crown molding with picture moulding Brian Moloney , Finish Carpenter in Richmond, originally from Ennis,Co.Clare,Ireland. The Finishing Company, Richmond,Virginia, United States http://www.thefinishingcompany.net/
Three piece crown molding with picture moulding
Brian Moloney, Finish Carpenter in Richmond, originally from Ennis,Co.Clare,Ireland.
The Finishing Company, Richmond,Virginia, United States

Here is a photo of crown molding with picture rail below it. This is by Brian Moloney. You can see other examples of his work at www.thefinishingcompany.net.

He ran the picture rail everywhere he put the crown molding. Even in places it is not likely anyone would ever want a picture.

House with Picture Rail
House with Picture Rail

These two photos show picture rail in a house built not all that long ago.

House with Picture Rail
House with Picture Rail

The picture rail is only on the walls that have pictures. It ends in the corners.

Above: Lowes L002738 Pine Unfinished Finger Joint Picture Moulding Ready to stain or prime and paint, $12.28/8-foot piece, $1.53/foot Below: Home Depot WM273 Prime Finger-Jointed Picture Mould Pre-primed, ready to paint, $1.64/ft.
Above: Lowes Pine Unfinished Finger Joint Picture Moulding
Below: Home Depot Primed Picture Mould

Picture rail is not expensive at all. It is sold in with the other millwork at Lowes and Home Depot. The piece on top is from Lowes, L002738 Pine Unfinished Finger Joint Picture Moulding. It is ready to stain or prime and paint, It costs $12.28 for an 8-foot piece or $1.53 a foot.

The piece below it is from Home Depot. It is WM273 Prime Finger-Jointed Picture Molding. It comes pre-primed and ready to paint. It is listed as $1.64 a foot. It is sold in really long lengths, up to 16 feet long.

Picture Rail Profile The hook goes over this molding to hang pictures
Picture Rail Profile
The hook goes over this molding to hang pictures

This is the profile of picture rail. The hook fits over the top.


Chair Rail Hooks

Narrow Picture Rail Hook from the Picture Hang Solutions StoreNarrow Picture Rail Hook from the Picture Hang Solutions Store Suitable for chains with S hooks
Narrow Picture Rail Hook from the Picture Hang Solutions Store
Suitable for chains with S hooks

This is how the hook fits on.  This hook is strong but narrow enough to hold chain.


Ornamental Hooks to hang pictures from picture rail Left: Large Regency Picture Hook Right: Art Nouveau Picture Rail Hook Both from House of Antique Hardware
Ornamental Hooks to hang pictures from picture rail
Left: Large Regency Picture Hook
Right: Art Nouveau Picture Rail Hook
Both from House of Antique Hardware

Here are two antique reproduction picture rail hooks from House of Antique Hardware.

Reproduction 1880s Cast Iron or Cast Brass Sparrow Picture Rail Hooks from House of Antique Hardware
Reproduction 1880s Cast Iron or Cast Brass Sparrow Picture Rail Hooks from House of Antique Hardware

These antique reproduction hooks from House of Antique Hardware are made of cast iron or cast brass.

Two Victorian Design Polished Brass Picture Hooks from Classic Accents Snakehead Picture Rail Hook in Antique-by-Hand from House of Antique Hardware
Two Victorian Design Polished Brass Picture Hooks from Classic Accents
Snakehead Picture Rail Hook in Antique-by-Hand from House of Antique Hardware

Three more antique reproduction hooks. The two on the left would hold cord or wire. The one on the right could also hold chain.

Picture Rail Hanging System Kit Picture rail hooks, invisible wire, adjustable picture hooks that lock to wire from the Picture Hang Solutions Store
Picture Rail Hanging System Kit
Picture rail hooks, invisible wire, adjustable picture hooks that lock to wire from the Picture Hang Solutions Store

There are a lot of ways to hang the pictures. You can run the chain, wire, cord or cable from the picture rail to the back of each picture. Or you can have a series of hooks to hold multiple pictures on the same cable from the same hook.

Picture hanging from chair rail with rosette and tassel picture hook
Picture hanging from chair rail with rosette and tassel picture hook

Picture Hook with Rosette, Tassel and Cord

Vera Rosette and Tassel Picture Hanger with Rail Hook from House of Antique Hardware, Inc.
Vera Rosette and Tassel Picture Hanger with Rail Hook from House of Antique Hardware, Inc.

This is a chair rail with a rosette over the hook. The painting is suspended from cords. You could use other types of cord, too. You could use  lightweight white or natural rope if you have a beachy look.

Picture Rail with hook and chain Hook and stainless steel wire cable with locking adjustable hook from the Picture Hang Solutions Store Hook and Nylon Cord with Adjustable Zipper Hook from the Picture Hang Solutions Store
Picture Rail with hook and chain uses S hooks
Hook and stainless steel wire cable with locking adjustable hook from the Picture Hang Solutions Store
Hook and Nylon Cord with Adjustable Zipper Hook from the Picture Hang Solutions Store

Chain, Wire, Cable, Perlon or Nylon Cord

You can use chain with S hooks. Companies make different types of hooks that lock onto cords or cables.

Picture Rail Systems

HangZ 74001 Gallery Cable Hanging System Professional Galley Cable Rail Hanging System Aluminum rails, Perlon cord, adjustable hooks
HangZ 74001 Gallery Cable Hanging System Professional Galley Cable Rail Hanging System
Aluminum rails, Perlon cord, adjustable hooks

There are various more modern rail systems available. The cable that suspends the painting with HangZ Gallery Cable Hanging System can slide along the track.

HangZ 74001 Gallery Cable Hanging System Professional Galley Cable Rail Hanging System Aluminum rails, Perlon cord, adjustable hooks
HangZ 74001 Gallery Cable Hanging System Professional Galley Cable Rail Hanging System
Aluminum rails, Perlon cord, adjustable hooks

The picture hook can adjust up and down on the cable. So you can easily adjust the picture horizontally of vertically.

Arti Gallery White Classic French Gallery Rod Combo Kit French Gallery Rail and French Gallery Rods with Locking Hooks Gallery Rods are S-Bent Rods with locking hooks for pictures
Arti Gallery White Classic French Gallery Rod Combo Kit
French Gallery Rail and French Gallery Rods with Locking Hooks
Gallery Rods are S-Bent Rods with locking hooks for pictures

Arti Gallery White Classic French Gallery Rod Combo Kit uses a metal rail that rods hook onto. The rods hold adjustable hooks to hang pictures. They also have hooks that can hold cable.

Arti Gallery White Classic French Gallery Rod Combo Kit French Gallery Rail and French Gallery Rods with Locking Hooks Gallery Rods are S-Bent Rods with locking hooks for pictures
Arti Gallery White Classic French Gallery Rod Combo Kit
French Gallery Rail and French Gallery Rods with Locking Hooks
Gallery Rods are S-Bent Rods with locking hooks for pictures