79: Hanging Your Laser Cut Designs

This week we decided to tackle a nagging question: what is the best way to hang laser cut signs?  If you come to my house, you’ll see a lot of most blank walls – hanging things is not my specialty.  Hanging laser cut pieces adds another layer of difficulty – they are generally 1/4 inch thick or less.  Hardware all seems to require screws, and there aren’t very many screws or nails smaller than 1/4″.  If you did find them, are they secure enough?  I just wasn’t confident in that.

Tim, left and Ryan, right, conferring over ideas.  I love the artwork!

Tim, left and Ryan, right, conferring over ideas. I love the artwork!

It looks like I work here!   I'm flipping through framing hardware catalogs.

It looks like I work here! I’m flipping through framing hardware catalogs.

We decided to consult with a professional this week, Tim Frederick of If These Walls Could Talk.  We’ve worked with Tim on several occasions, and they do great work!  And he totally let us come in and pick his brain for a couple of hours, so that’s always high marks.

D-Ring Hangers or Strap Hangers

ITWCT (11 of 15)These little guys are the first thing that Tim popped out of his hardware bins.  Generally, D rings are used on framed pieces to hold wire strung between, but in the case of the Abecediary we brought with, a wire would have interrupted the design.  In cases like that, you hand the D rings straight on 2 screws on the wall.

To attach D Ring hangers, you really can’t use the screws provided – they are too thick for the wood.  As I mentioned before, our laser can only cut 1/4″ deep.  Luckily the signs are relatively lightweight, so simply adhering the two parts together with adhesive will work!  Tim suggested two part epoxy, the kind that you mix before using (you can see examples by Loctite here).  Wood can expand and contract, depending on the atmosphere around it.  Epoxy will hold strong, yet still be flexible enough to allow the wood to do its thing.  Super glues, while strong, are not flexible.  I can attest  to this fact; every time I glued on hardware with superglue, it popped off eventually.

The D-ring is a little big to fit here and be hidden.

The D-ring is a little big to fit here and be hidden.

Moving the D ring strap to the back of the K hides it much better.

Moving the D ring strap to the back of the K hides it much better.

Tim also mentioned that there are smaller D ring hangers than pictured here – they just don’t stock them at If These Walls Can Talk.  Smaller ones would be good for the “K” area of more intricate pieces – the strap is a little long on the ones they had in shop.  A work around would be to put the second D ring in a bit on a larger section, but still level wit the first one.  This works because it’s hanging on two nails; it doesn’t need to balance on one.

Ledges or Plugs

Time made up this ledge out of balsa - perhaps we could fashion something on the laser?

Time made up this ledge out of balsa – perhaps we could fashion something on the laser?

I’m not sure if this hanging technique has a name, but the idea is that you add a plug of wood on the back that has a small cut-away to catch the head of the nail in the wall.  It’ s like a little ledge to hang from.  The extra thickness gives a big advantage: you can use a longer screw.  The ledge effectively doubled the thickness of the piece.  Of course, glue would still work too.  Both would make it twice as secure!

bumpers!

bumpers!

If you do use the ledge method, you should counteract the thickness at the bottom with rubber bumpers, which you can get at any hardware store.

So, hopefully this is helpful to other laser cutters out there!  These methods are classy alternatives to simply hanging it on a bare nail.  Maybe this will convince me to get a few more things up on the wall!

We made up a sign, 17 x17, of the If These Walls Could Talk logo.  All the brainstorming on how to hang it will come in handy for Tim!

We made up a sign, 17 x17, of the If These Walls Could Talk logo. All the brainstorming on how to hang it will come in handy for Tim now!

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