Plaster vs Drywall For Hanging Pictures – Which Is Better?

When you are hanging up pictures on your wall, you want to make sure that they are securely hung.

You can hang up your pictures on either type of wall, but there can be some advantages and disadvantages to hanging up things on each type of wall.

Some walls are better suited to picture frames than others though.

So, in this post, I’ll go over the difference between plaster vs drywall for hanging pictures.

Whether you have an older home with plaster walls or a newer home with drywall, this guide will help you determine which type of wall is better for hanging pictures and how to do it effectively.

Knowing the difference between plaster and drywall can save you time and frustration in the long run when it comes to hanging up your pictures.

Additionally, I’ll provide tips and tricks on how to hang your pictures securely on each type of wall.

So, keep reading to find out more about the plaster vs drywall debate.

Plaster vs Drywall – Which is Better For Hanging Pictures?

Pictures hanging on plaster wall.

Again, you can hang your pictures up on both wall types. But, the difference in wall thickness can make it harder or easier to hang up your pictures.

Drywall is a lot thinner and softer and only has around a half-inch of thickness.

Plaster, on the other hand, is much thicker and can be quite brittle. At 1.5 inches thick, this can make hanging pictures up more of a challenge.

You can easily put screws and hooks into drywall walls.

But, with plaster, this is harder as you have to drill more into your wall to get anything anchored into it.

This doesn’t mean that drywall is perfect though. If you drill into drywall too much or incorrectly you can actually damage your wall.

But plaster can be prone to cracks more, and you can inflict damage on your wall easier.

So, incorrect drilling into plaster can have even more consequences for your wall.

Overall, I would say that drywall is the clear winner here. It won’t crack as much and it’s easier to hang up your pictures on a drywall wall.

But if you do have plaster walls there are plenty of ways to hang pictures up. I’ll talk about this more in the next section.

How Heavy Can A Picture Be To Hang On Plaster Wall?

Roughcast Structure Texture Wall Surface Plaster.

As long as you are using bolts and anchors plaster walls can easily hold anywhere from eighty to one hundred pounds of weight per bolt.

If you are using less secure methods like adhesive hangers, you can’t hang as much weight up.

But, if you put in the right tools you can hold a lot of weight up on your plaster wall.

How To Hang Pictures On Plaster Walls?

To hang up pictures on plaster walls, follow these tips. There are a few different ways to do this, but you want to be careful and not rush the process.

This way your wall won’t crack and fall apart.

The process for hanging pictures on plaster will be a lot more labor-intensive, so keep this in mind.

Step 1: Find Wall Studs

The best method to hang plaster walls is by hanging them on your wall studs. So, I suggest locating the studs in your wall and planning your project around them.

Wall studs are the most secure and sturdy part of your wall and they will hold pictures up better.

You can use various tools to find wall studs in your home easily.

When you use the wall stud method, you won’t have to use an anchor for your screws. You can drill directly into the wall stud.

Step 2: Pencil In Where You Want To Hang Your Pictures And Drill

Next, get a pencil and a measuring tape. You want to draw on your wall lightly and figure out where you will drill into your wall.

If you have found wall studs you can drill directly into the wall. And then you can put on your picture hangers to get your pictures hung.

But if you can’t find a wall stud in an area you like, there is another solution.

Step 3: Put In Wall Anchors

If you can’t find a wall stud, you can always use a wall anchor to stabilize any screws and bolts you put into your wall.

Do not use a plastic wall anchor though. As these don’t work well with plaster walls.

Be careful and use a drill bit that is the correct size. 2 to 2.5 inches is usually the best drill bit size.

Step 5: Get A Picture Hanger

Once you have your wall anchor in, you need to get a picture hanger.

For smaller picture frames that don’t weigh much, you can just use an adhesive picture hanger and skip drilling into your wall, to begin with.
All you have to do is put the sticky side down over your wall, let it sit, and hang your picture up.

If you have a heavier frame, though, use a different picture hanger with the wall anchor.

Place your picture hanger over the area where you put your wall anchor. Drill your screw into the wall anchor and secure the picture hanger.

Step 6: Put Your Picture Up

When you are sure that your picture hanger is even and where you want it to be, then hang up your picture.

How Heavy Can A Picture Be To Hang On Drywall?


How heavy a picture can be on drywall depends on a few different factors.

First of all, you need to decide if you are using an adhesive picture hanger. If you are this will only hold around 6 pounds of weight.

For larger frames, drywall can typically hold up to eighty to one hundred pounds per bolt. But only if you use a bolt to secure your pictures.

However, the more mounts and bolts you use the more weight you can put on your wall.

How To Hang Pictures On Drywall Walls?

To hang up your pictures on drywall, I highly suggest using wall anchors too.

You can just drill into your wall if it’s a small picture without a lot of weight. But if you want to put a heavier picture up follow these steps.

Step 1: Find The Wall Stud Then Drill

If you want to drill directly into your wall, find a wall stud with an electronic wall stud device.

Measure and draw lines on your wall lightly. This way you can drill symmetrically and in the exact place you want. Then drill into the spot that you drew on.

If you find wall studs the process is pretty straightforward. You simply place your bolt through your picture hangers and drill it into the wall.

If you can’t find wall studs, then move to the next step.

Step 2: Use A Wall Anchor Or Wall Anchor Screw

If you can’t find any wall studs, the next best thing you can do is use wall anchors or screws.

Toggle bolts will hold the most weight, but which wall anchor you use is up to you.

Choose one, then figure out where you will drill into your wall. You can use a picture hanger or hang your picture directly over the bolts.

If you are using a picture hanger, put the bolts through it, align it against the wall, then drill the bolts into the wall.

Step 3: Consider Using A Toggle Bolt To Anchor Your Pictures

Next, you are going to want to find some toggle bolts. These bolts are especially useful for dry walls.

They have an additional anchor on them that will help them stay in place on your wall.

When your holes are drilled to the appropriate size, put it through the holes. There should be an audible clicking sound.

This means that the anchor has been unlatched and has been properly put into the wall. Tighten up the bolt, and make sure that they are fully secure.

Step 4: Make Sure Everything Is Even

Check to make sure that you have drilled evenly into the wall.

And make sure your bolts or hanger creates a nice symmetrical line for you to hang your picture.

Then you can put your picture up on the wall.


You likely will have to choose between plaster vs drywall for hanging pictures in your home. It can be difficult choosing between these types of walls.

Or really even knowing what to do when hanging pictures up on either type of wall.

Luckily, I have gone over all the relevant information here.

If you are curious about how you should hang up your pictures on plaster walls and dry walls go over the information in this post.

For the most part, the process is pretty similar with both drywall and plaster. However, the bolts and screws for plaster need to be thicker and larger.

Drywall can be drilled with smaller bolts and screws since it is a thinner surface.

You can’t always choose where you drill your picture especially if your house only has drywall or plaster.

But on the whole, between plaster vs drywall for hanging pictures, drywall is a lot easier to drill and handle.

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