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How to Use a Laser Level in Your Home

*Disclaimer: This tool should be kept out of the reach of children.

Whether you’re hanging a picture, bathroom mirror or shelf, a laser level is an essential tool for many DIY projects. This device emits a visible and perfectly straight vertical or horizontal line across the wall, keeping your hands free for hammering in nails or lining up items. Before tackling your next home improvement project, here are some tips for using a laser level.

What you’ll need:

  • Laser level - This type of level is available in a wide selection of models, including rotary, cross-line and digital variations.
  • Something to hang - A laser level can be used for lining up a picture frame, shelf or mirror.
  • Table, tripod, suction cups or putty - Find a flat and level surface to mount the level or use suction cups or putty to mount the level to the wall.
  • Safety glasses - Wear these to protect your eyes and never look directly into the laser beam.
  • Nails, anchors or picture-hanging hooks - Make sure you select something strong enough to hold the weight of what you are hanging.
  • Hammer - Use this to gently insert nails, anchors or picture-hanging hooks into the wall.
  • Tape measure - Measure the distance between frames when hanging multiple pictures, or measure to find the center of a large wall.
  • Pencil - Mark the wall with a pencil where you want to insert a nail or picture hanger.

Step 1: Pick a Spot on the Wall

Decide on the height and placement of where you want to hang your item. A tape measure can come in handy to find the center of a large space. With a pencil, make a light mark on the wall of where you want the item to go. Using a hammer, gently tap the hook, nail or picture hanger into the mark on the wall until secure.

Step 2: Put on Safety Glasses

Before turning on the laser, put on your safety glasses. Never look directly into the laser beam and make sure the level is kept out of the reach of children while you’re working.

Step 3: Align the Laser Level

Turn on the laser level, and align the laser beam across the top of the frame or shelf. Mount the level by using a tripod, stable piece of furniture or securing it to the wall with suction cups or wall putty.

Step 4: Make Sure the Level is Level

Locate the leveling bubble and ensure that the bubble rests between the two black lines. To adjust the bubble, manually reposition the level or use the positioning knob until centered.

Step 5: Plan Out Your Spacing

When hanging more than one picture or shelf, use the tape measure to evenly space out where you want each thing to hang. Following along the laser line, make a mark on the wall with your pencil where the hole should go.

Step 6: Check Your Work

Once your item is securely hanging on the wall, take a few steps back and double check that everything is perfectly level with the laser beam. Adjust the item if necessary.