woman walking past window of posters

How to hang a poster

Reading time: 7 minutes

Hanging a poster seems simple, but is it really?

It’s not difficult, but it might involve more consideration than you realize, especially if you’re hanging a poster in a public place, like your shop or office. There are lots of ways to hang a poster and lots of ways to inadvertently ruin your poster, wall—or both if you aren’t careful. When it comes to hanging posters, always remember to measure twice, hang once to avoid any adhesive that can damage the wall. 

Hang one properly and a poster can be exactly what your space needs to pull together an aesthetic or to relay vital information, even if that vital information is just your brand. 

Key considerations for posters

There’s a reason why posters have been a staple for bedroom walls, in-store displays, merch stands and art contests for decades: posters are awesome! They’re versatile enough to fit most aesthetics, and they’re inexpensive to produce, making them accessible to a wide range of people. They can also be quite large, an ideal choice for decorating business spaces or advertising products, services and promotions. 

Image via Daniel van den Berg via Unsplash

A few key considerations before hanging posters in your space:

  • How is the size of your space? Do you have large, blank walls that you want to break up with posters, or is the space fairly small, requiring you to opt for smaller posters and careful placement?
  • What is your wall texture? Hanging a poster on sheetrock is easy, hanging a poster on exposed brick is trickier. Depending on your wall’s material, you might need to get creative with how you hang your posters or opt for a completely different type of decor. 
  • Do you own the space or rent it? If it’s the latter, you need to be especially careful about choosing adhesives that won’t damage the wall. Of course, you don’t want to damage a wall you own either, but damaging your own wall won’t result in potentially losing a security deposit. 
  • What are your goals for hanging the poster? 
    • Is it just for something pleasant to look at while you work, or does it need to create a specific mood? 
    • Maybe the poster is for your team and will display your company values, a call script, motivational quotes or safety requirements. 
    • If it’s for customers, the poster might advertise promotions or highlight specific products or services. Perhaps the poster is how you’ll display your prices.

These factors impact how you’ll hang your poster, where you’ll hang it and whether you’ll frame it or hang it directly on the wall. Having a plan ahead of time can save you money when you buy poster-hanging supplies and save you headaches when you’re actually hanging your poster. 

Gallery wall of multiple multi-colored posters

Image via StockSnap via Pixabay

Ready to get to work? Follow our step-by-step guide on how to hang a poster.

Step 1: Prep the walls and your hands

One of the most important steps in hanging a poster actually happens before you hang anything. Prep your walls by cleaning them with a warm water rag. You can add a mild detergent to the water or, if the wall is oily and grimy, use a cleaning solution designed specifically for that type of wall (i.e., tile, wood or sheetrock). Allow the wall to dry completely before you hang your poster. 

And, before you touch the poster, wash your hands as well! 

Open palm with dirt all over the hand

Image via 652234 via Pixabay

Do not skip this step—hanging your poster on a clean wall will give you better results than hanging it on a dirty wall. Dust and debris can make your poster fall. A dirty wall—or dirty hands—can also leave your poster dirty, damaging it. If it’s in a public area, a dirty or damaged poster will reflect poorly on your business and brand.

Step 2: Measure and mark the walls

Measure twice, hang the poster once! 

Once you’ve identified where you want to hang the poster, measure the area to make sure it will fit—and if you want some negative space on the wall or to hang other posters or decor in the same area, that everything will fit without being too crowded. 

Lightly mark the four corners where your poster will hang with a pencil. That way you can easily erase your marks if you change your mind. Use a level or laser measurement tool to make sure your planned poster position is level—or not, if you’re going for a tilted look. 

This is your chance to think creatively about how your poster will fit into your space’s overall design. Search the web for poster inspiration and think about the kind of look you’re going for. Maybe you have multiple posters to hang—could they fit together as a larger design, like a triptych or a series?

Three posters side by side. One shows feet, one shows a face, one shows hands

Poster design by GemmyVN

Or maybe you can play with color and create a stunning palette:

Photo of a minimalist room displaying an abstract cream and black poster

Image via Kam Idris via Unsplash

Step 3: Attach adhesive to posters

Note that you should apply the adhesive to the poster, not to the wall. This helps keep it from falling. 

Poster showing a girl’s head and two smaller scenes with text overlaid

Poster design by kyzi

Adhesives are a common way to hang posters without frames because they allow posters to stick flat to walls, adding no additional visual clutter. They also don’t damage the wall (if you do it right!)

Keep in mind that you don’t have to hang your poster with adhesive. There are lots of other ways to hang a poster, like with thumbtacks, clipped to a wire or framed. If you’re not using adhesive, skip to step four!

And if you’re using adhesive, it’s important that you choose an appropriate adhesive for the type of wall you have to avoid damage. Common adhesives for posters include: 

  • Magic tape
  • Mounting putty
  • Poster tape
  • Mounting tape

Magic tape is a simple choice for posters of a variety of weights. It’s less “tacky” than other kinds of tape, which means it won’t leave a sticky residue on the wall after it’s removed. Its satin finish also makes it virtually invisible, especially in environments that aren’t flooded with bright light. 

However, magic tape has less hold than other adhesives, making it a challenging option for large posters.

Three-pack of magic tape

Image via Target

Mounting putty is a sticky, tacky substance that acts as an easily removable “glue” for posters. It’s a bit heavier duty than tape, so use it for posters that are on heavier paper, like cardstock. On thinner paper, it can potentially cause bunching and wrinkling. Because mounting putty is thick, it can be challenging to make a poster stick flat on the wall when using it—but that makes mounting putty a great choice for textured walls where you have to work around the grooves and lines, like the grout on a brick wall. 

Package of mounting putty

Image via 3M

Poster tape is double-sided tape meant specifically for posters. It comes in small strips that can be easily applied to the back of a poster to hang it securely. 

Four packages of poster tape

Image via Mavalus

For the heaviest posters, use mounting tape. Like poster tape, mounting tape is specifically made for hanging posters on the wall. Because mounting tape is so thick and heavy, it can damage paper, so don’t use it directly on posters. Save it for posters in frames and those mounted on plastic or other heavy materials. 

Package of mounting tape

Image via Home Depot

Step 4: Hang the posters

This last step might sound simple, but don’t assume it’s a no-brainer. If hanging your poster involves standing on a ladder or step stool, have somebody else help you. Not only will they act as a spotter in case you lose your balance, they can help you position the poster as they look at it from their perspective, something that can be difficult to gauge when you’re standing up on a ladder or stool. 

Sneakers and legs standing on a step ladder

Image via TheDigitalWay via Pixabay

How to hang posters without a frame?

Remember how we said not all posters are hung with adhesives? Take a look at a few other ways to hang a poster. 

With clothespins or binder clips on wire:

Poster displaying goldfish, most of which are blue and one is orange, with text

Poster design by FuturisticBug

On mounted clipboards:

Collection of posters and other images on mounted clipboards

Image via Rachel Hollis

With colorful washi tape:

Image via Parabo Press

Be creative! As we mentioned earlier, posters are popular because they’re so versatile. You can do just about anything with a poster, so think outside the box to find innovative ways to work with them. 

Need help designing your poster?

Not to worry. Our design tool, VistaCreate, is here to help you create your perfect design. Then our resources at VistaPrint choose the best type of paper and print options for your posters
Once you’ve designed your poster and had it printed up, make it look its best—and by extension, make the room look its best—by hanging it thoughtfully and safely. Posters deserve as much design consideration as every other type of decorative art. As you design your poster, think about the colors, the amount of light in your space and the poster’s purpose to get the best design possible. Showcase it with the right type of paper and the best adhesive or hanging method for the job!

Need help with your poster designs?

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