Hanging anything onto a plaster wall is a bit of a challenge. Depth finders help locate studs behind the plaster, but drilling through plaster and lathe into a stud is often problematic. There are a few good options to consider when trying to hang something on a plaster wall.
Option 1: In days of yore, builders often installed wooden picture rail molding a few inches from the ceiling around the perimeter of the room. Flat metal molding hooks and long strings or ribbons were then used to hang artwork down at eye level from the rail tops. Special molding hooks are available at most local hardware stores and can be permanently mounted in place with a small screw for added security.
Option 2: For walls lacking picture rail molding, 3M’s Command line of hooks are an easy solution. Available in a wide range of options, these self-adhesive hooks stick well to most surfaces and leave no residue when they are removed. For best results, clean surfaces with rubbing alcohol before installing any type of adhesive hook.
Option 3: Standard picture-hanging hooks work wonders in plaster walls. These small “J” shaped metal hooks come in various sizes and can hold up to 100 pounds of weight. The mounting nail angles through the hook and into the wall holding the hook in place with a simple lever design. To reduce plaster damage, place a small piece of transparent tape on the wall before hammering the nail into place.
Option 4: For heavier items, toggle bolts are the best option. These butterfly-like toggles thread onto long machine screws and offer the best support for securing objects to plaster walls. To use a toggle bolt, drill a hole large enough for the folded toggle to slip into the wall. Insert the machine screw through the mounting bracket of the object to be hung. Thread the toggle onto the screw end with the wings of the toggle folded inward, pointing toward the head of the screw. Push the toggle through the wall until the toggle wings spring freely open.
Once the toggle bolt is in place, use a screw driver to tighten the bolt to the wall. When the toggle bolt is secured, the pressure of the toggle on the opposite side of the wall will hold most any object in place.