Tundra Swan Photography

The Problem

How do you mount a really big picture on the wall?

Images look good if framed, but a piece of glass 3m (10 feet) wide is heavy and dangerous. Specialized framers can deal with this using special clear plastics: lighter, safer.

I have looked at a other possibilities that do not involve a frame:

Sticky Tack, Sticky Tape

Sticky things, whether on the back or front of the print, will damage it. You may tear the print when you remove the sticky stuff. Most adhesives gradually seep through the print, discolouring both sides.

Nails and Thumb Tacks

These work, but put holes in your print and holes in your wall. If you don’t mind the damage, or you have a cork wall, go for it.


Use magnets to attach a print directly to your wall. Get ones that are nickel or plastic coated, so the print is not stained by the magnet itself.

Regular magnets are sometimes called ceramic magnets, ferro magnets, or ferrite magnets. They’re okay. Rare earth magnets are much stronger so they’re better. The cost difference is insignificant, so get rare earth magnets.

Of course, a magnet needs to stick to something that is magnetic. I tried these possibilities:

Paint your wall with magnetic paint

Magnetic paint is expensive. About $45 to cover 16 square feet.

It takes work, because you need to apply three coats of magnetic paint. The paint is black. Unless you have a very dark colour scheme in your room, you need three more coats of primer and paint on top of the magnetic paint. Yes, six coats in all.

The magnetic attraction is very slight. A very flat, fairly small, print worked fine. Even with the recommended three coats of magnetic paint and using strong ceramic magnets, a slight curve in the photographic paper was more than a reasonable number of normal magnets could hold on the wall.

Attach Magnets to Nails or Tacks

Push a nail with a largish head, or a tack, into the wall, then use a magnet to attach the art to it.

This works, but still makes holes in your wall.

For $2 or $3 per tack, you can buy special tacks that come in a box that says they are for hanging art on walls with magnets.  $3 for a tack seems excessive, even when it comes in a box that says it is for art.

Stick Metal or Magnets on the Wall

Stick a bit of metal, or another magnet, to your wall. You can glue them on, but then you have a mess when you want to move them.

The best solution I found was double-sided removable tape, from a local hardware store. Put tape on a piece of metal, or on a magnet, and stick it to the wall. Then use another magnet to stick the picture to the wall.

This is cheap, fast, and does not damage your print or your wall. Update: after a few months, the tape that was initially easy to remove was no longer easy. I am still researching this one.