Hanging objects from plaster walls

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Lightweight Objects or Pictures

Very lightweight objects can be supported with a piece of tape. The wall must be smooth, clean and dry. The glue is affected by humidity and may let loose so do not hang anything that will break with this kind of fastener.

Objects with a wide variety of weight can be supported by a metal hook on a long, tapered nail driven at an angle into the plaster. These come in packages of three or four and in different sizes depending on the weight supported.

Medium Weight Objects

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Some kind of insert, plastic, fiber, wood, or lead can be used with a sheet metal screw.(Illustration. 2) Drill a hole just large enough to be able to tap the insert into the hole. Tap the insert into the hole until it is flush with the surface. Turn a sheet metal or wood screw into the insert. Usually these inserts come packaged with the right size screw for the particular insert. It will also tell you what size hole to drill.

Heavy Objects

Heavier objects can be supported with a molly bolt or toggle bolt.

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Drill a hole through the wall to fit the size of molly bolt (Illustration 3)--be sure not to get the hole too big or you may have difficulty turning the bolt without having the connector turn. If the only drill is too small, use a small screwdriver, knife, or other object to ream out the hole until the fastener will slide in snugly. Push it in and turn the bolt clockwise until it feels tight. Now the fastener has expanded and should stay tight. Remove the bolt and attach the object screwing the bolt in tight. Do not over tighten or you may pull the fastener loose. Remember plaster is soft.

A toggle bolt can be used similar to a molly bolt but with less care taken when installing. Select a bolt long enough to include the object plus the wall plus the length of the toggle then folded up.

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Drill a hole through the wall. If you do not have a drill: Drive a nail through the wall. Wiggle it until it comes loose and you can pull it out. Put a small screwdriver, knife, or piece of metal into the hole and carefully enlarge until the toggle will slide through. Assemble the object on the bolt and push the toggle into the hole until you can feel it spring open. (Now you cannot remove the bolt without losing the toggle in the wall). Tighten by turning clockwise.

A toggle bolt should be used where the object will be drawn up tight to the wall because the hole must large enough to receive the toggle. The object should be large enough to cover the large hole that is necessary.


Source: Michigan State Univeresity Extension Service. This article was written by  Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with references from Michigan Extension bulletin Wall Repair and Fasteners.

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