Hang Wall Decor Straight Every Time with a Simple Laser Level

Hang Wall Decor Straight

Have you ever had the frustrating experience of hanging something on the wall only to notice afterward that it wasn’t straight? Yah, this happens to me all the time.

Recently my wife wanted to hang a cork/dry erase board in our laundry room so that we can keep track of the kid’s activities. When tackling small projects like this one I always think, “How can I make this easier than it looks?”.

Well, fortunately my memory isn’t shot yet. I remembered that I received a pen laser level for my birthday and it would be perfect for getting the cork/dry erase board straight and level. If you’re going to hang a heavy mirror, tons of pictures, or several pieces of wall art I highly suggest getting something like this level because you’ll save precious time, countless re-hangings and eliminate the agony most of us experience during this process.

The Bosch pen laser level I have costs $35 on Amazon but any similar product will suffice.

Here are the additional supplies you need for this 20 minute project:

  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Blue tape
  • Screwdriver (Philips)

Don’t let hanging stuff on your wall overwhelm you. It’s easier than you think and by the end of this tutorial you’ll be delighted with your results.

Since we only needed to hang the cork/dry erase board I made sure it was centered on the organizing shelves my wife just installed. How do you do center something on the wall or with something else?

  1. Measure the width of your wall, shelf, piece of furniture, or whatever else you’d like to center the wall decor with
  2. Halve this distance and make a mark on your wall
  3. Measure the width of your wall decor
  4. Halve this distance and make a mark on it with pencil
  5. Line up your two marks and you’re DONE!! It’s that easy

So in our case, I measured the organizing shelves and got a width of 62 1/8 inches.

Measure the Width of Your Furniture or Wall

Halving this distance gave me 31 1/16 inches, which was exactly where the two shelves butted against each other.

Halving the Width of the Shelves

Then, with my wife present, I asked how high she wanted the cork/dry erase board. I lined up the laser level with the 31 1/16 inches on the measuring tape, eyeballed the height my wife desired, and made a pencil mark on the wall within the laser line.

Height & width measurements with laser level

If your laser level comes with a magnetic mount like ours, tape it to the wall with blue painter’s tape at the desired height of your wall decor.  You could also just tape the laser level to the wall until it’s level and lined up with your height mark. I think my wife made some joke like, “Are you sure you want to be in the photo?” and that’s why I’m laughing in the picture. My hair was a bit messed up at the time, so I understand her trepidation.

Tape Laser Level or Mount to Wall

Wallpaper and tape sometimes don’t play nice together. But the blue painter’s tape doesnt tear or mark up the paper (much to my chagrin since I’d love any excuse to remove it).

Lining up the laser with the height mark couldn’t have been easier. I simply leveled the laser on the mount,  turned it on, and lined up the beam with the height mark on the wall.

Level the laser and line it up with the height mark

The cork/dry erase board had two notched hanging brackets. These brackets will sit on screws in the wall and hold up the entire board. No doubt you’ve seen something like this on the back of pictures or mirrors.

Notched Hanging Brackets

Just pick out the notch in the middle of the bracket(s) and measure the distance between them. I came up with 33 inches.

Measure the Distance Between the Brackets

Like the first step, you’ll need to halve this distance (16 1/2 inches in this example). I measured 16 1/2 inches to the right & left of my height mark and made two more marks on the level laser beam running across the wall.

Level Mounting Screw Marks

These marks represented where the notches would be on the board and therefore indicate the exact location of the mounting screws. Our cork/dry erase board came with plastic inserts for the screws. If you’re not drilling into studs I highly recommend using the inserts so your board will stay anchored into the wall. Holes should be the slightly smaller or the same size as the insert so that it fits snuggly into the wall. Here’s a DIY Insider Tip: hold your drill bit case beneath the drill to catch drywall dust.  Eliminating extra cleanup is always a good thing! :-)

DIY Insider Tip

Push the plastic insert into the wall with your hand and give it a light tap with a rubber mallet or hammer until it’s flush with the surface.

Making the Plastic Insert Flush with the Wall

For our board to hang properly, we needed to leave the screws sticking out of the wall by 1/4 inch. Just use a screwdriver (Philips in this case) to adjust the screw depth.

Adjust Mounting Screw Depth

Line up the mounting brackets with the mounting screws and proudly hang your wall decor. Using a laser level will boost your wall hanging confidence to new heights and eliminate temporary fixes that ultimately fail.

Laser Levels Rock

Sometimes I felt so helpless while hanging pictures and mirrors on the wall. But now my little pen laser level has reclaimed the thrill of wall decorating. I hope you get the same empowering feeling.

Is there something you’d like to put on your walls but haven’t yet? Go for it and energize your home :)

Jeff's Signature

~ Learn more about Jeff ~

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My laser level is absolutely my favorite tool. I found an inexpensive one but now that I’m so used to it and I know how handy it is, I’m thinking of getting a fancier one. It’s worth it!

Lucky woman your wife is, I guess 😉 I heard about such levelers, but actually haven’t tried yet. Your article has just inspired me. Now I think I should buy one. Is there anything else you would like to hang on your wall?

What a character! So well produced and all around great job Jeff. I have used this technique myself many times. I will say, though I have not used any of Bosch’s laser levels – I suspect they are of the highest quality. And from that – I’ll warn, and though the technology seems very simple not all laser levels are created equal. I’d avoid any that have a lightweight plastic casing and would look for ones that allow for calibration (not even sure they are available in these compact models). $35 sounds like a good starting point. If anything – I appreciate the ringing endorsement in this post. thanks for being so helpful my friend, as always. ~jb

Thanks jb, I agree that sometimes the cheaper tools aren’t the best option for DIYers. It can be frustrating to spend good money on stuff that only works a few times then goes bonkers.