Locating a wall stud is one of the easiest home DIY projects you can do. Yet that does nothing to take away from its importance. Hanging a heavy picture, mirror, or a wall mounted shelf without first locating the wall stud is a recipe for disaster. It’s not common for drywall to develop holes or even come down in a sheet in these situations.

Tools Required:

  • One magnet
  • One foot dental floss
  • One pencil

Time Required:

5 minutes or less

1. Select Your Method

There are a number of different ways to locate a drywall stud. If it is something you need to do often, you might invest in an electronic stud finder. The Zircon StudSensor e50 is affordable and effective.

Because I only need to locate a wall stud every once in a while, I use a simpler and old-fashioned method. I use a magnet hooked to a piece of dental floss. The magnet is able to locate the metal screws or nails used in the stud. The Stanley Magnetic Stud Finder works on the same logic. It’s only a tad over $5.00 and will last a lifetime.

2. Dangle Magnet

All you have to do to locate a wall stud with your magnet is dangle your magnet against your wall. Slowly move it across the wall in a horizontal fashion – make sure to move it slow. Every now and again, the magnet will stick to the wall.

3. Mark With Pencil

Mark each spot the magnet sticks to with a pencil. These are where your wall studs are located. The magnet sticks to these spots because of the nails/screws used in the studs. If you aren’t having any luck, you might need to move the magnet up or down a little bit.

Final Thoughts on Locating a Wall Stud:

Using a magnet to locate a wall stud is one of the easiest methods there is. Though electronic stud finders are more high-tech, I often have trouble with them. They can be a bit finicky.

A trick I use to make the magnet location process easier is to start near a light switch or electrical box. Though they are not always attached to studs, they’re supposed to be and are in most houses. This gives you a good starting location. It’s also helpful to note that most studs are located between 16 inches and 24 inches apart. This helps give you an idea of where to dangle your magnet during the location process.

That’s all there is to locating a wall stud! It’s super easy to do and very beneficial if you’re about to hang a heavy object from your wall.