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I need to hang some plants (small, a few pounds max) from the ceiling but I don't want to go the usual toggle bolt or the drywall anchor route. These create holes that are too large for the kind of weights I want to hang. In other words, I feel like when you're talking about 2-3 lb weights, you should be able to get away with much smaller holes.

What I imagine is something similar to those elastic holders used for hanging name badges. I'm talking about these:

If the metal part is thin enough and resistant enough, then you can get away with minuscule holes. Imagine that you had a sewing needle with the ear right at the center instead of the top. Thread fishing wire through the ear and push the needle through a small hole in the ceiling. Once it goes through the other side pull back on it, causing the needle to lay flat on the other side of the ceiling.

The amount of weight this sort of setup could support would depend on: 1) the strength of the metal anchor (sewing needle in my example) 2) the dimension of the hole in the ceiling. The smaller the hole the more weight it can support. (Also 3, the fishing wire, but I think the first two will become a problem way before that).

Something like this seems pretty simple to put together. Really the only problem is finding a long thin piece of metal with a hole in the middle (the hypothetical needle with ear at the center).

My questions are:
1) Is this dumb?
2) If not, what's a cheap, easily available object that I can use as the metal anchor?

  • Firstly, potted plants are pretty heavy, especially when watered. Secondly, how will you remove this theoretic anchor? If the goal of the small hole is for ease of removal and patching up, I'm not sure your suggested method will work. – Eli Iser Oct 7 '14 at 8:04
  • Disagree with the size of the hole (within reason) having any appreciable effect on the holding ability of such a device. Instead, it would depend largely on the surface area that the weight is spread out over. That is, a 4 inch "needle" is going to support more weight than a 2 inch needle. This is because the weight is spread out over more of the ceiling. This also assumes the metal anchor would be suitably stiff so that it would be unable to bend under the weight contemplated. What would probably be best along these lines is an "umbrella" that you push through the hole and open. – bobfandango Oct 7 '14 at 19:37
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You might have answered your own question... what about a (larger) needle?

Tie the fishing wire round the middle of the needle (and perhaps use a dab of glue to hold it in place if it won't hold itself).

If you can't find a large enough needle, try a small gauge knitting needle? Again it might need a dab of glue to hold the wire in place in the centre.

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The commonly recommended solution is to find the wood the ceiling was screwed into (using a studfinder, or a magnet to find those screws), and screw the hanging hardware into that. That avoids questions of whether the plasterboard can take the weight, whether there's space behind the board to maneuver your proposed anchor, etc. A small hole is not hard to patch, if/when the time comes.

Having said that, I did once set a wallboard anchor in a ceiling -- but that was to hold something lighter than a plant. And I had to drill it out before I could patch it.

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