Your home’s walls are a blank canvas for you to display your personality.

Hanging mirrors and art is a way to showcase your artistic taste. Hanging other items, like your framed college degree or special certificate you received, is a way to display your achievements from going the extra step.

Mirror and wall hooks

Walls can also provide space for extra storage — think of shelves in a pantry or along the garage’s perimeter.

Beyond decorating and storing, you also need to secure heavy pieces of furniture to a wall to prevent them from tipping.

Of course, to keep these items hanging on your wall in place, you must first find a secure place to fasten them. 

Wooden studs

What Are Studs, and Why Do They Matter?

Whenever you’re fastening anything to a wall, you need to find the stud. A stud is the upright support of the wall to which the drywall is attached. The distance between studs varies from home to home. 

When hanging heavy objects, you must hammer your nail into the stud. If you don’t, you risk having that object’s weight rip open your drywall. 

At this point, you might be wondering: Since studs are hidden by drywall, how can you know where they are?

Well, you could purchase an electronic stud finder, but they’re not always reliable.

Here’s a simple trick that you can use with items you might already have lying around your home.

How to Find Wall Studs

1. Tape a 1-inch-diameter rare-earth magnet to a piece of string.

2. Measure, from the floor, up 4 feet, which is where there’s likely a horizontal seam between two drywall sheets. Then slide the magnet along the wall at 4 feet high, moving it up and down.  

3. Wait for the magnet to pass a nail or screw. You’ll know when this happens because it will stick in place.

Watch the video above for the demonstration!

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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