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I need to hang up a mirror and two hangers for cloth. All of them have 4 holes each, so I fear I can't mark and drill the holes exactly in the correct places...

So I was wondering if there exist a tool to help with this? I have found a post where someone mentions a "leveler with a slider in the middle", but no mention of what it was called. Searching for "drill guide" also comes up empty in regards to walls.

The mirror is particular tricky as it is 0.5 meter x 1.5 meter, so it is quite heavy.

Question

Does anyone know of a tool that can help one make 4 holes in a brick wall exactly in their correct places?

And if such tool exist, can it support different drill sizes?

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    Use a laser, period. A regular bubble level is too prone to user-induced complications. Mark your holes, pre-drill with a small bit if available to mitigate bit travel, and then drill the larger hole.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 11 at 16:58
  • > The mirror is particular tricky as it is 0.5 meter x 1.5 meter, so it is quite heavy. That is neither here nor there; what you attach to the wall is the mounting hardware (e.g. french cleat) which is itself light. If that is level, the mirror will be.
    – Kaz
    Feb 13 at 20:55
  • There's a product called "Hang It Perfect" that has slide arms, a level, and pins to mark the drilling locations. (For a brick wall, you'd need some putty or cardboard or something on the wall so it can mark the locations.) I've never tried this product, just seen ads. Feb 13 at 23:31
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I make a template with a piece of paper or cardboard (like the box the item came in). This makes drilling holes in a precise pattern a bit easier. In some situations, you might transfer the pattern from your paper onto the wall using pencil / marker / spray-paint.

For the size mirror you're talking about, you might want to read about another mounting option, called a French cleat. It involves attaching a piece of wood to the wall, and another to the item being hung up. The two pieces fit together with a slant. This not only makes it easier to hang the item, but also, to remove it later if you need to paint or otherwise access the wall behind it.

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    Since the cleat at the top creates depth, moving the object (mirror in this case) away from the wall, it is normal to also attach a cleat to the bottom of the object in order to get it to hang vertically instead of tipping toward the wall at the bottom.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 11 at 16:01
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    Plus even with the template - which you can temporarily ducktape to the wall for stability - use @MonkeyZeus' comment to your post: Drill small "pilot" holes first, then enlarge them with larger drill bits - you can enlarge in steps if necessary to get a really large final hole. Drill all the smaller holes first - if you screw up and one is out of position you can say f*** it, retape the template 1/2" to the left or right or up or down, and try again.
    – davidbak
    Feb 11 at 21:01
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    There are thin metal french cleats too
    – Brad
    Feb 11 at 21:32
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    If you use regular paper, make sure to drill slowly when you start drilling the holes. You don't want the bit to grab the paper and tear it to shreds, ruining your template before you're done with it. Stiffer paper like cardstock or posterboard is less likely to tear. Those glossy, half-page advertisements that you sometimes get in the mail work very well, as do cereal boxes.
    – bta
    Feb 12 at 3:20
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A traditional way of attaching hanging objects to masonry was to drill a hole, bang in a wooden dowel, and then fasten into the dowel with a screw or nail.

In your case this could help reduce the accuracy needed in the holes in the brick. I find drilling accurate masonry holes challenging because the base material is often of varied composition and that causes drill wandering. But if you use a largish dowel then you don't have to be as accurate, and have some wiggle room to position the actual fastener (screw, etc.)

Depending on how closely the dowel stock fits the hole you might need to either shim it or sand it down. Ideally you'll start with a larger dowel, sanded to a taper on one end, and then drive it in hard.

Alternatively wooden wedges could work nearly as well, as long as there is enough material to put a screw in.

(Even common plastic plugs offer a small amount of adjustment, but I find often not enough).

If the hole ends up a little bit larger than the dowel, you probably could also glue the dowel in place with construction adhesive (that is meant for masonry). If well glued, when dry that should be pretty solid too (but I would prefer a tight mechanical fit over glue).

As for measuring the hole location, I would make a cardboard template with small holes made to compare against the mirror or other object, and to use the same holes to mark off on the wall.

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    For items with keyhole slots you can use dowel centers to transfer the positions from the article to be hung to wood, e.g. dowels, accurately. Place centers in the large end of the keyholes, position the article allowing for the drop that will occur along the length of the keyhole, level it and press firmly. Drill the dimples and Bob's your uncle.
    – HABO
    Feb 11 at 15:40
  • @HABO that's a cool way to mark the locations Feb 11 at 15:41
  • Great tip, @HABO! For those who have dowel centers... :)
    – FreeMan
    Feb 11 at 16:01
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I've never heard of such a tool, but there are things you can do which will help:

  • Mark the holes with a big cross - so you can see if the drill is wandering as you start.
  • Use a drill with a handle at the front which will help to hold it steady.
  • Use a 'proper' hammer-action drill (e.g. SDS 'rotary-hammer' type)
  • Start slowly, pushing gently, this is where it is most likely to move.
  • Once started, and into the hard stuff properly (assuming you're going through plaster) use a high speed. It's less likely to catch on any hard bits.

If you have old walls with hard bricks and soft mortar, though, there may be little you can do if you happen to catch the edge of one.

Of course, if you're really concerned, you could get a piece of scrap ply, drill a hole of the right size and duct-tape it to the wall. I've drilled 100's of holes without needing to do this, though. (most of them in the right place)

NB - as commented below - don't forget to use a pipe/wire finder to ensure that you're not about to flood the house / electrocute yourself.

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    Do check that pipes or wires are not where you will make a hole...
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 11 at 10:03
  • May be good to tell the OP - people's skills and experience differ...
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 11 at 10:08
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You could probably get some picture frame wire and hang the items with that (just like a painting). The advantage is that the exact hole locations in the wall are no longer very important. A few mm (or ~1/8") off to the side where you wanted it won't be noticeable at all.

It would depend on the objects to be hung (not much detail given in the question) how practical it would be to attach the wire to them. I would guess that for a mirror this would work out fine if it has a sturdy wooden frame.

As noted in a comment, for heavy objects (like a mirror) it is a good idea to make sure the anchor put into the wall is clearly strong enough. For a picture-hanging approach, I'd pick a fastener which has a weight rating stated on its packaging.

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    A heavy 0.5 x 1.5 meter (~18 x 52") mirror was specified in the OP, in addition to the vaguely specified "two hangers for cloth". That is a good size piece of glass, so it may need a significant bolt to hold all the weight on one point in the wall, as well as sturdy picture wire and some solid attachment to the mirror itself. Otherwise, this is a generally good suggestion.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 11 at 16:04
  • @FreeMan good point, updated. Feb 11 at 16:06
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A simple way to locate the holes perfectly is to take painter's tape/masking tape and put it over the holes on the back of the object.

You can press lightly with your finger to find the holes under the tape, then mark them on the tape.

Add some more tape to that piece of tape to build it out to indicate the sides and top of the object (don't cover up your hole markings).

Then carefully peel your tape template off the object and stick it on the wall where you want it. Knowing the sides and top of our object help you get it just right. Check hole markings with a level to make sure.

Use a masonry bit to drill holes in the brick. Tap in a screw anchor (choose the type ahead of time to know how big of a hole to drill), and then drive in your screw. Assuming you drilled the holes accurately, your screws will be in the perfect place.

If you can get your hands on a rotary hammer, the holes will be drilled into masonry very easily. Next best choice is a hammer drill. But a plain old power drill will work too - just takes a bit more time and effort to drill the holes.

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  • This is a great idea for when the item is smaller, but a person-sized mirror is going to need a lot of tape. So use paper - newspaper or other junkmail works fine.
    – Criggie
    Feb 14 at 0:08
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The biggest problem I've had when doing this, aside from the masonry being brittle, is having the tip of the drill bit wander around when starting a hole.

When I need to do this, I generally:

  1. Place the object on a piece of card or paper and mark the locations of the holes (as in Jeff Wheeler's answer). If it's too big, take measurements and transfer them to the wall. Measure twice to confirm. No seriously, measure twice - you'll get it wrong more often than you think.
  2. Use a centre punch (or similar - e.g. an old scribe you don't care about) with a small hammer to transfer these marks to the wall. This gives the drill bit something to sit in.
  3. Drill briefly with a hammer drill and masonry bit, but don't have the hammer function on.
  4. Once the end of the drill bit has made an indent around the same diameter as the drill bit, turn on the hammer function and drill away.
  5. Insert your wall plug/anchor/whatever. Don't just use a bare screw.

Essentially, step #2 keeps your bit in place while doing step #3, which in turn keeps your bit in place while doing step #4.

Oh and, don't drill in to the mortar - that's the most brittle of all.

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Are you sure drilling is required ?

Another workable solution is to use an adhesive, though the roughness of brick may be an issue if its not a flat-ish face.

A product like evostick gripfill might be good, but you'd never get the mirror off again in one piece.

To apply, I'd make a temporary brace to hold the underside of the mirror, both at the right height and level. Then use secondary braces across the room to stop the mirror falling, while the adhesive chooches/sets-up/cures.

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