A few weeks ago, I talked about the woes of having plaster walls. Since I’m not a fan of them, we’re in the process of slowly changing them over room by room. But when I wanted to hang shelves in my office (which has plaster walls covered by wood paneling), I needed to figure out how to do it. The good news is that it isn’t that hard!
When we first moved in, I had no clue how different plaster is from drywall! Especially for hanging things. The problem with plaster is that it tends to crack when you put a nail in it. So avoiding that is important since fixing cracks is expensive.
how to hang heavy things in plaster walls
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Traditionally, homes with plaster walls had a picture rail. This is a piece of trim that is attached to the studs higher up on the wall. You then connect wires to the picture rail from a hook and hang the art from the wire. Thus eliminating the need for making any holes in the walls. So installing or using a picture rail is an option!
If you’re going to hang something light in plaster, you can use a small screw or nail and it should be fine. Since my plaster is covered in paneling, that’s what I’ve done so far. If you’re going heavier, you’ll need special tools.
a stud finder for plaster walls
Sadly, a traditional stud finder won’t work with plaster since it will just detect the lath, not the studs. But, using a stud finder that is magnetic works like a charm since it sticks to the nails in the lath that are connected to the studs. This worked GREAT for me- even with the paneling over the lath and plaster (which I was worried would make it too think for the magnet to work).
I used the Stud Buddy and it was perfect for what I needed. I’ve also heard great things about Studpop2 since the magnet pops out when you get to a stud. Either of these will help you find a stud so you can use a screw into the stud for hanging heavy things in plaster.
anchors for plaster walls
For the next option, you can use an anchor and screw designed for plaster. I used these anchors/screws and they worked wonderfully! The down side of this option is that you’ll be putting a big hole in the plaster. So make sure to measure twice and drill once! Use a drill to create a pilot hole with a drill bit before inserting the anchor. This will help eliminate cracks.
Then, you can hang as usual. Ready to see how my office shelves turned out?!
gold foil map / rainbow wall hanging / pink letter board
I wanted a happy place to put plants in my office. This definitely foot the bill! Here’s the DIY-
Colorful Shelves DIY
- Cut the 6' board down into 3 pieces- 2' each
- Paint the boards with 2 coats of chalk paint
- Finish painting with a clear top coat
- Attach the brackets into the walls with screws and anchors
- Put the wood board onto the shelf brackets and enjoy!
These shelves are SUPER sturdy! The brackets/anchors would hold a much bigger shelf and would be soooo cute in a kitchen too!
I love this happy, colorful moment in my closet! It works with all the white walls and light that this room gets. Is this a project you’d try?
If you missed any of the office posts, you can check them out here-
Blush pink office tour. I just redid the decor in my office so I'm sharing before and after pictures to give ideas on how to redo desk areas. Includes lots of DIY makeover projects on a budget like shelves. Inspiration for work spaces.
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April J Harris says
Pinning and sharing! This is such great advice. We have plaster walls, and it can make things really challenging! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a lovely week, Ashley!
This is such good info! I used to be a total slacker when it came to hanging things on my walls. I change my decor so often, that I never used anchors. So dangerous! I’m so glad I got smart and use anchors now! 🙂 Although I do hate removing them and having big holes to fill in!