Picture Hanging Systems and Hardware

Arakawa Main Photo-Hopper poster

Getting your art into a frame is only half the journey. The other half is getting it up on the wall where it can be seen, at the right height and in a secure way. We'd like to introduce you to a hanging system we have used in our own store and home for many years and one that we have sold to many clients and galleries: The Arakawa Hanging System.

AF3 Arakawa Sliding HookCF1 Rail Arakawa Rail ClipCRE Arakawa Rail w/cover

AF3 Sliding Picture Hook CF1 Rail Clip CRE Aluminum Rail w/Cover

The Arakawa Advantage

The only problem with using a traditional picture hook is that you have to drive a nail into the wall. While this is a fairly tried and true system, its down side is that it is inflexible. If you select the wrong height or position on the wall, you have to pull the nail out and move it to a new spot. After doing this numerous times, you have to spackle and repaint the wall to keep it from looking beat up.

With the Arakawa System, you only have to put holes in the wall once. It consists of an extruded aluminum rail that gets permanently attached to the wall an inch below the ceiling. That's it. From that point on, you are hanging your art from the rail by means of stainless steel braided "aircraft style" cables cut to size. The cable attaches to the rail by means of a piece of hardware called a "rail clip" that grips the end of the cable with a one-way, spring-loaded gripper mechanism and hangs from the rail by hooking into a channel at the bottom of it. It can slide left or right easily with no tools.

Finally, once you have the cable where you want it, you hang your art on the cable by means of a sliding picture hook that is also equipped with a one-way gripper that grabs the cable where you slide it and easily adjusts from that point, again, without tools. What could be simpler?

Places We Have Installed The Arakawa Hanging System ArtClair Installation Photo

Originally, we bought the system for use in our own frame shop. Not only did we use it to hang artwork and framing samples on the wall, but we also used it to hang framed art in the window without a wall behind the art. We attached the Arakawa rails from a strip of wood attached to the ceiling grid. Further contact with Arakawa revealed that they have ceiling-mounted rails and grippers that eliminate the need for doing it the way we did it with wooden strips.  Eventually, Arakawa began referring people to us who wanted to purchase the system for use in their homes, offices and galleries.

One client with a home at Chicago's Marina City came to us and wanted us to install the system in every room in her 2 condo's she owns there. Marina City is an amazing 1960's vintage pair of buildings that resemble giant corn cobs that were designed by Chicago Architect Bertrand Goldberg. One feature of those buildings is that the walls are made of cast concrete. Try driving a nail into those walls to hang a picture! The Arakawa system was a natural for that sort of usage. 154 Tapcon Screws later, we had our rails in place.

Another client, a doctor, who had rehabbed an old industrial loft building for his home with tall ceilings purchased the system for his use there. With 14 foot tall, unpainted brick walls, it cried out for Arakawa rails to hang his artwork.

One of our earliest clients is a high-end gallery that used to be at the Drake Hotel and now resides in an upper floor of the John Hancock building. They use the system extensively for displaying the ever-changing inventory of framed art in their lovely gallery.

We've also installed it in corporate clients offices, where they have a body of design work that they display on their office walls for clients to view and change it fairly often.

Hanging Hutch / Shelf unit Painting in Dining Room @ BF's Home

Brian Flax uses it in his home, as well. He has a shirt of (modern) chain mail that he crafted hanging on the wall over the fireplace, using the CRJ rail, with a piece of steel pipe threaded through the sleeves of the mail haubergeon and BS35SET grippers on each end of the pipe inserted in holes drilled through both walls of the pipe. You could use this same setup to hang decorative tapestries, rugs or other wall-hanging textiles.

Loudspeakers on Arakawa Cables Mail Shirt on Arakawa CRJ rail

In addition, he found a way to hang a pair of loud speakers for his stereo from the same rail hanging artwork on the wall behind his couch, using a pair of special grippers that screw onto the object to be hung. 

You name it, no matter what the environment, The Arakawa Hanging System works and works hard. Never drive nails into a wall to hang artwork or functional objects ever again.

ORDERING SUGGESTIONS FOR THE ARAKAWA SYSTEM

Please keep in mind that when you hang a picture in a typical room, you want your eye to come down about 1/3 of the way from the top of the frame when looking straight ahead. Use that as a guide for how long your cables should be. However, give yourself some extra cable for adjustment purposes. If you have excess cable, you can coil it up and secure it with a twister tie, hiding it behind your framed art.

Any framed art that is bigger than 16 x 20 should probably use 2 cables and 2 hooks to give the frame stability and keep it level. Vibration from foot steps, shutting doors and general household movement can make frames go out of level if they are hung on only one hook. 2 hooks insures that they won't.

You can, indeed, hang more than one frame on any set of 2 cables. Each CRE-series cable and hook holds at least 40 lbs. So, a pair of them will hold up to 80 lbs. Most framed pictures don't weigh more than 10-15 lbs. Mirrors made from 1/4" plate glass can, however, weigh a fair amount. You can hang a mirror using a pair of heavy-duty "D" rings this way. If your mirror weighs more than 80 lbs., consider using the CRJ hanging rail and 1/16" cables, which are rated to hold 130 lbs. (65 lbs. per cable, using 2 cables and hooks). 

We can give you suggestions regarding the best fasteners for attaching the rails to different types of walls (such as drywall, plaster, brick, concrete, wood, etc.). If you wish, send us a sketch of your room and a list of frames you wish to hang, with their dimensions, and we can suggest to you how to put your order together.

Our own rule of thumb for how many cables to order goes something like this:  Plan on 2 cables for every 3 feet of hanging rail.  So, a 72" rail will accomodate 4 cables. A 36" rail or 24" rail will accomodate 2 cables. 

For whole room orders, we can give you package pricing that is less expensive than purchasing elements ala carte. You can contact us for advice or a quote by clicking here.

Or, you can figure it out yourself using the discount table below. As a general rule, here is the discount structure for quantity purchases of Arakawa product:

  1. $0 to $249: NO DISCOUNT
  2. $250 to $499: 3% off total
  3. $500 to $999: 5% off total
  4. $1000 to $1499: 7% off total
  5. $1500 + : 10% off total

NOTE: SHIPPING CHARGES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN DISCOUNTABLE TOTAL. DISCOUNT WILL NOT SHOW ON SHOPPING CART TOTAL, BUT WILL BE DISCOUNTED AT THE TIME WE PROCESS YOUR ORDER IN-HOUSE. 

If you need to order quantities that are greater than the quantities available in the pull-downs on the shopping cart, we suggest that you break the quanities into several line items. So, for example, if you needed 40 of an item, you could order it as 20 of that item twice. If this is all too much of a hassle, simply email your shopping list to us with your phone number and we will work up a price, email it or call it back to you and then contact you for credit card information when you are ready to order. 

TO VIEW AND ORDER ARAKAWA HANGING SYSTEM HARDWARE:

 

CRE 40 LB. CAPACITY WALL MOUNTED SYSTEM, CLICK HERE

CRJ 65 LB. CAPACITY WALL MOUNTED SYSTEM, CLICK HERE

CEILING MOUNTED SYSTEMS, CLICK HERE

OR, YOU MAY CLICK ON THE ENTRIES IN THE LEFT HAND, GRAY MENU BAR AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.