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How to Find a Wall Stud

Need to find a stud this Christmas? We can help you out. I’m Sorry single ladies, not that kind of stud! We’re talking about a wall stud. During this time of giving you may need to use a wall stud to hang items. Did you get that sweet 65″ Flat Screen with a wall mount for Christmas? Maybe you are waiting to see if Santa can fit it down the chimney. Well to install a wall mount you will come across this phrase, “secure safely by anchoring into a wall stud.”

No problem, go get the stud finder and use that to find a wall stud. Right? You spend 15 minutes digging through storage for the seldom used stud finder only to discover the batteries died. And you have no extra “AA” batteries lying around. Is it really worth the trip to the store to get a pack of batteries (and the check-out aisle candy bar) to use for two minutes?

Finding a wall stud manually is easier than you may think and using a few simple tricks you can locate them in no time!

How to Find a Wall Stud – 5 Techniques

So you don’t have a working stud finder. Maybe it was never a stocking stuffer and you don’t even own one. <- Can you tell I’m in the Holiday Spirit?- Whatever the case may be, you

Wall Studs- TV mount

cc photo originally by

don’t have one and need to find wall studs to securely mount a TV, mirror, or family portraits.

Luckily, you have a few options and which one you choose is up to you. These tips should help you find a stud and get you on your way to enjoying whatever it is you are hanging.

1.) Use the knock test to check for hollow (no stud) vs. solid (stud) sounds

2.) The 16″ rule- Wall studs are usually 16″ apartĀ  (24″ in some older homes) so…

  • Start at the corner where there are studs and measure out from there
  • Or, remove face plates on outlets. studs should be directly left or right to the outlet

3.) If unsure, Drill a small hole w/smallest bitĀ just above the baseboard where you think the wall stud may be.

  • cover the small hole with epoxy later

4.) Use a large, strong refrigerator magnet covered in painters tape. It should stick to studs that have nails or screws in them
5.) Hammer straight pins into where you think a wall stud may be. This should leave no visible hole.

Once you find a stud, I recommend using a nail or small drill bit to locate the center of the stud. Tap a nail halfway into the drywall and if you can’t push it in, you’re on the stud. Move 1/4″ to the left and right until you are able to push the nail through without contacting a stud. This technique should give you a good idea where the center of the stud is. Securing your anchor into the center of the stud is important. If you are off-center, the wall stud may splinter and cause the object to fall. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

You can use any or all of these options to find a wall stud. Once the stud(s) is located, you can find the height you want to mount you object and follow the correct anchoring instructions. If you are using more than one anchor, Make sure you use a level! Being just 1 degree off can make a large object look very crooked!

We will try to update this post with a video demonstration soon. I wanted to make sure I got this blog out there before the Holidays for any followers that may need it! Thanks for reading and happy hanging!

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By Mark Evans


  1. Very good post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.

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