How to Hang Plates on a Wall

White plates with different designs hung on wall between shelves

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 3 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5

Instead of tucking your favorite decorative plates away in a kitchen cabinet, display them proudly by hanging them on your wall alongside your favorite canvas prints. If you don’t have decorative plates already, you can make your own or peruse a thrift store for antique ones. 

Decorative plates come in an array of styles. They can be bold, colorful, minimalist, as big as your head, or as small as a baseball. Hang ones that fit your home decor to bring extra color, style, and visual interest into your space. Whether they're part of a gallery wall or a standalone arrangement, you'll love seeing your favorite dishware on display.

Before You Begin

Think about how you want to arrange your plates before hanging them on the wall. Rearranging is difficult and damaging to your wall once the plates are stuck in place. Measure your background and tape it out on a large piece of butcher paper, place it on the floor, then lay your plates inside it to see what you’re working with and to find an arrangement that looks just right.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Painter's tape
  • Measuring tape

Materials

  • Decorative plates
  • Butcher paper
  • Wire plate hangers or adhesive discs

Instructions

Materials and tools to hang plates on a wall

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  1. Make a Paper Template for Each Plate

    After you have laid out your perfect plate arrangement on a piece of butcher paper, grab a pencil and trace around each plate. Cut each tracing out with scissors and place each one back in your desired arrangement once you’re finished.

    Paper template traced around plate to hang on wall

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Tape Each Template to the Wall

    Use painter’s tape to tape each paper template on your wall. You’re essentially transferring the arrangement from your floor to the wall in this step. Use a measuring tape and a level to line things up evenly. The more accurate you are, the less likely you’ll get the urge to redo everything if it doesn’t look perfect.

    Paper plate templates taped on wall to place arrangement

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Clean Plates

    In order to hang properly, your plates need to be clean and dry. Clean them thoroughly with a damp cloth and then dry them with a clean, dry one. 

    If you’re hanging your plates with adhesive discs, read the label on your product to make sure you’re prepping the plates correctly. Be sure to get rid of any excess dust or dirt before drying them. For good measure, let the plates air dry for an hour or two before hanging them up.

    Plates cleaned before wall hanging with small scrub brush and soapy water

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Attach Plate Hangers or Adhesive Discs

    Metal plate hangers and adhesive discs are both great tools to use to hang your plates on the wall. The right one for you depends on the size and material of your plates, as well as how you plan to use them once they’re hung up.

    Plate Hangers

    Spring-style plate hangers are easy to use, but they may physically damage fragile antiques. That said, plate hangers are dependable and could prevent your precious decorative plate from falling to the floor and crashing into a million pieces. They also make it easy to remove your plates, either to rearrange them or to pull them down to use for a fancy dinner.

    If you decide to hang your plates with plate hangers, read the product label to make sure it will work with the size and type of plate you want to hang. Purchase plate hangers with plastic grippers that will hold the plates in place without causing damage. 

    Attach a hanger to each plate and put the plate on a flat surface, like your kitchen counter. Then gently bend the back of the hanger to help the plate rest flush against the wall, not lean away from it. Hammer in nails or place command hooks on the wall in the center top-half of each taped-on plate template, depending on the hangers you are using.

    Adhesive Discs

    Adhesive discs have gobs of sticky glue to attach plates to the wall. With adhesive discs, you can stick the plates flush to the wall and eliminate the need for physical plate holders. With no visible hardware, adhesive discs make hanging plates look like they’re magically suspended. Without the jumble of hooks and nails, your design will look clean and simple.

    Follow the directions on your adhesive disc package for the best results and make sure the product can hold the weight of your plates. Activate the glue on each adhesive disc by stirring some water into the adhesive with your finger. Once the glue is nice and sticky, press the adhesive discs onto the backs of your plates. Make sure the hook on the disc is in the right orientation and let it sit for a few hours or overnight to dry completely. Hammer in nails or place command hooks on the wall in the center top-half of each taped-on plate template, depending on the adhesive discs you are using.

    Wire plate hangers attached to back of plate

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Hang Plates on the Wall

    The time has come! Once your hangers or adhesive discs are fully prepped, you’re ready to hang your plates on the wall. Gently hang them on the wall and remove the paper templates as you go.

    Decorative plates hung on wall to remove paper templates

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald