Mounting Frames - About Keyhole Slots

Keyhole Slot Installation

Many of our items such as frames, shelving units, corbels and mirrors will have built in “keyhole slots” or keyhole hardware. The advantage of having a keyhole slot is the item can be flush to the wall surface. It can be a little challenging however when installing the screws in which the keyhole slides onto. The following are some suggestions.

VERTICAL Keyhole Slot

Vertical keyhole slot


Horizontal keyhole slot

What fits into a keyhole slot? Either a pan head screw or a flat head screw. The head of the screw protrudes out from the surface of the wall just enough so that the widest part of the keyhole can slide over the screw head and secure by sliding the frame over the protruding part of the screw head shaft at the keyhole’s narrow channel.

What the screw will screw into depends upon what surface type you will be hanging the item onto. For example, if it is wood, then you can screw directly into the wood. If it is masonry or stucco, then a proper masonry type of anchor should be used. If it is drywall, then you can use any anchor suitable for drywall. Keep in mind that there are many thicknesses of drywall and many drywall anchors are designed for varying drywall thicknesses. In most cases, a basic plastic anchor will be suitable as they do expand as the screw is tightened. For much heavier items such as a mirror, then an expandable wing back anchor or toggle bolt anchor should be considered. Very often, anchors are rated for a maximum weight and listed on the packaging. Be prepared when going to the hardware store looking or anchors. It can be a bit overwhelming.

Installing a Frame or Mirror with Two Vertical Keyhole Slots

You must measure very precisely the distance between the centers of the two keyhole slots. We cannot stress this enough. Also, make sure to use a level when measuring so that the item will be level when hung. We always say “measure and check - measure and check” before drilling. It is difficult to try and correct hole locations if off even by 1/16”.

After drilling holes for either the screws or screw anchors, check your measurements again as sometimes a drill can shift while drilling. Screw the screw into the surface or anchor leaving a protruding screw head of about 1/8” to 1/4”.

Position the widest part of the keyhole slots onto both screw heads. Make sure the frame or mirror is on the screw heads before sliding it downward.

For heavier items such as a mirror, consider using 2 people for installing.

Mounting a mirror with keyhole slots

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