There's no doubt about it. It's tricky to fasten something to drywall when it has to go between studs. Plaster walls and hollow-core doors are no picnic to work on either. These surfaces separate space, not support weight. But, fortunately, there is an anchor for just about any hanging job you can think of. Many of them are shown in the kit below. Put together your own collection, and you won't need to run to the store every time a hanging job comes up. See page 60 to find out which fastener to use for the most common jobs around the house.

Expanding Plastic Sleeves
Available in several varieties, these work well for light and medium loads Anchors like the blue version don't expand enough to grab well in drywall; they work better in plaster and best in masonry. Anchors designed to spread their "wings" are less susceptible to withdrawal.

To install: Drill a hole that allows a snug fit for the sleeve. You should need to tap it home with a hammer until the anchor flange seats against the surface. Fasten by driving a screw into the sleeve. Depending on size, sleeves will take #4, #6 or #8 screws.

Picture-frame hangers and nails
It's good to have a selection of these on hand in different sizes. Large versions installed with an angled nail can support up to 20 lbs. For heavier loads, use a flat-mounted hook and an anchor.

Mirror clips
L-shaped plastic retainers for installing wall-mounted mirrors.

Molly bolts
These are not as easy to use as other drywall anchors, but they're still good to have on hand for medium to heavy loads. Pointed mollys can be tapped into place with a hammer. Nonpointed versions require an installation hole, and work well in old plaster-and-lath walls.

To install: Seat the round flange flush with the wall surface by tapping the screwhead. Turn the screw to "mushroom" the slotted sleeve against the back wall surface. Take care not to overtighten; you'll know this is happening if the anchor flange starts to depress the surface of the plaster or drywall. Once the molly is secure, unscrew the bolt and then replace it with the item in place.

Tap-in expanding anchors
These easy-to-use fasteners are best for light loads.
To install: Tap the pointed end and flat shank into wall until the top flange is flush with the wall surface. Install item by driving a #6 screw into the flange hole.

Hollow-core door anchors
These miniature molly bolts will hold light to heavy loads in hollow-core doors and 1/4-in.-thick paneling. Plastic versions are also available.
To install: Use the same technique as for standard molly bolts.

Toggle bolts
Metal toggle bolts can support heavy loads in drywall, plaster and hollow-core concrete block. Plastic versions hold medium loads in drywall and plaster.
To install: Bore a hole in the wall large enough to accommodate the toggle. Fit the item to be anchored over the bolt, then insert the toggle and tighten. You can trim a plastic bolt flush with its nut after installation.

The Line on Loads:
Light: Less than 10 lbs.
Medium: 10 lbs. to 25 lbs.
Heavy: 25 lbs. to 50 lbs
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