This might be a 2 part question so I can break it out into two parts if needed.

  1. How do I hang a frame with a sawtooth hanger onto a wall with a nail?
  2. Can I use a screw and anchor on the wall to hang the frame?

We got a framed picture as a gift and the frame had a sawtooth hanger installed on it. I bought a picture hanging kit but after hammering some picture hooks into the wall, it seems like hooks are not the way to hang frames with a sawtooth hanger.

After doing some research on google, one webpage said I'm supposed to use a flat head nail to hang the frame on. However, I'm having some trouble visualizing how to do it because the instructions on the page said to hammer it in at a 45 degree angle. If I do that, I can't see how the frame can sit on the nail head since the nail head is at an angle but the sawtooth hanger is flush with the frame.

I was thinking of putting a screw and drywall anchor into the wall for the hanger to sit on but from searching online, I haven't found anyone suggesting this so my idea might be a stupid one.

So back to my original questions, what is the proper way to hang a frame with a sawtooth hanger, do it with a nail in the wall or do it with a screw and anchor?

  • 1
    Usually saw tooth hangers are put on the back of a picture or something you want to hang then a nail is driven so the head is ~1/16 of an inch from contacting the surface. The nail head keeps it from coming off until lifted. Think of a regular small nail like a 4 or 6 penny nail (a small version of a 16 penny nail used in framing).
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 1, 2021 at 5:11

1 Answer 1


A nail with small or no head - like a finish nail - would have to be at a 45-degree angle in order to hold the picture without it sliding right off.

A nail with a relatively large head - like a common nail - can be hammered straight in.

Screws can also work well, and let you easily adjust as needed. Wood screws are technically "best" for this, but a drywall screw will work just fine in most cases.

Note that a small nail or a picture hook is designed to go just into the drywall and hold a few pounds. If you are hanging something heavy (e.g., a big mirror), then you should find the studs and use a longer nail or a screw through the drywall and into the studs so that the stud is supporting the item, not the drywall.

  • 2
    A screw, like a wood screw or drywall screw will work reasonably well, also. However, it will need to be somewhat slender to allow the valley between 2 teeth on the hangar to sit on it well enough to remain level through small vibrations of the wall (as caused by walking through the house).
    – FreeMan
    Jan 1, 2021 at 15:36

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