It’s important to hang a decorative rug, oriental carpet or tapestry carefully to ensure that it’s not damaged.
The wrong approach can result in immediate damage that reduces a rug’s value. It can also cause a rug to buckle or sag and lose its shape over time.
Try one of these ways to hang a decorative rug or tapestry without damaging it.
Hang a rug using Velcro
Most museums, including textile museums, prefer to use Velcro to hang rugs on the wall, even if the rugs are heavy.
Velcro tape consists of two separate strips, called the hook tape (the rough part) and the loop tape (the softer, fuzzy part).
Using Velcro to hang a decorative rug involves two main steps.
Attaching Velcro to the rug
Sew the loop tape onto the back of the rug along the top edge. Use a strip of plain, unbleached muslin wider than the Velcro to prevent damage to an expensive or heirloom rug.
Stitch the Velcro loop tape to the muslin strip first and then sew the muslin to the rug to prevent the rug coming into contact with raw, untreated wood.
Use a whip stitch for handmade rugs and a heavy cotton thread close to the colour of the rug.
Attaching the Velcro to the wall
Staple the hook tape to a thin, straight piece of wood the same width as the rug.
Mount the piece of wood on the wall and attach the rug by connecting the two Velcro strips.
Tip: Repeat this process a few times vertically for large, heavy rugs. If you use this process on the perimeter, be careful with measurements to prevent the rug from buckling or stretching when it hangs.
Hang a rug using a curtain rod
To use a curtain rod to hang a decorative rug on the wall, follow these steps:
- attach a piece of unbleached muslin to the back of the rug (this is to prevent the rod from coming into contact with the rug)
- sew a heavy cotton casing onto the back of the rug (over the muslin backing), to form a tube
- insert a curtain rod that’s sturdy enough to support the weight of the rug without bending in the middle
- mount the rod on brackets on the wall.
You can choose to let the curtain rod extend several inches beyond the edges and cap it with ornamental finials.
Alternatively, hide the rod and brackets by keeping the rod slightly shorter and aligning the brackets with the rug’s inside edges.
Hang a tapestry using a rod
Most tapestries are reasonably sturdy and can be wall-mounted without specialist framing or protection.
For old or valuable tapestries, however, it’s best to get professional help.
To hang a decorative tapestry yourself, follow these tips:
- Remove creases by ironing the tapestry at a low temperature before hanging it. You could also press it with a cloth.
- If the tapestry has a rod pocket sewn onto the back, hang the piece using a rod and finials, as you would do with curtains. Just attach the brackets to the wall and hang the rod.
- If the tapestry does not have a pocket, sew one on with heavy duty cotton thread using stitches strong enough to hold the tapestry in place. The sewn edge should stand up in the middle to make space for the rod. Test the fabric pocket as you sew to ensure the rod fits properly.
You can hang lighter tapestries using drywall screws. Use drywall, masonry or wood screws depending on the kind of wall.
Use a ruler or tape measure to ensure you position the screws so the tapestry will be level. Also, ensure drilled holes are the same distance from the ceiling on either side.
Tip: Add a rod pocket along the bottom to ensure the tapestry hangs straight.
Hang a tapestry using Velcro
Hanging a tapestry with Velcro makes it easy to relocate the tapestry if you choose. It’s also a good method for hanging a tapestry on a curving wall.
- Use a strip of Velcro smaller than the width of the tapestry.
- Use a wider piece of Velcro for heavier tapestries.
- Sew the loop tape directly onto to the back of the tapestry with cotton buttonhole thread. Include two warp threads to ensure strong stitches.
- Drill holes in the ends of a piece of wood or baseboard that is smaller than the tapestry’s width.
- Attach the hook tape to the piece of baseboard or wood using wood staples, but do not cover the holes.
- Fasten the board to the wall before securing the tapestry to the board.
- If the wall is curved secure the Velcro directly to the wall with nails or pins.
Hang a tapestry on stretchers
If you prefer a rigid backdrop for a tapestry, mount it on stretchers. This involves fastening the tapestry to heavy fabric or canvas stretched over a frame.
- Make a wood frame by cutting thin pieces of wood into the width and length of the tapestry and add about 3 centimetres on each side. Screw or glue the pieces of the frame together and use corner brackets for more stability.
- Use a piece of painted plywood as a background for the frame.
- Stretch the canvas or heavy material over the frame and secure with wood staples.
- Stitch the tapestry onto the material and stagger the stitches to make it stronger.
- Also sew along each edge to support the tapestry.
- You can also use Velcro to attach the tapestry to the frame.
- Place the two screws partially into the wall and place in a suitable spot. Rest the frame’s edges on the screws and hang.
- Use a level to ensure that your tapestry and frame are straight.
Hang a tapestry or rug using clips
Galleries often use rug hanging clips to display decorative rugs and tapestries.
Once you decide where to hang a rug or tapestry, drill a piece of wood directly onto the wall. The wood must be a bit wider than the tapestry or rug.
Drill another piece of wood, this time a bit thicker, to the first one to extend about 3 centimetres above the first one. The clips will be hung on this “step”.
Attach the clips to the tapestry or rug. Space them evenly and use more for heavier pieces and less for smaller and lighter ones.
Hang the clips on the wooden step.
Slowly unfurl the rug or tapestry to prevent it from ripping.
Hang a rug using hooks
You can also hang a rug or tapestry on hooks from a rod.
- Decide which way the rug or tapestry must hang.
- Prepare the cloth hooks and ensure you use strong fabric, such as heavy cotton, linen or cotton twill rug binding. Cut the fabric into rectangles about 2/3 wider than the width of the rod.
- Determine the length of the hooks by wrapping the fabric around the rod. Press it snugly around the rod with your finger. Leave about 3 to 5 centimetres between the top of the hook and where the fabric fits snugly against the rod.
- Fold the pieces of fabric vertically into thirds, then in half horizontally and sew the ends together.
- Slide in the rod and mark the place where it fits around the rod.
- Mark the hook locations on the back of the rug and pin the hooks onto the rug.
- Sew the hooks onto the rug and slide the rod into the hooks.
- Mount the rod hooks on the wall.
Hanging a rug using tack strips
You can use tack strips to hang a rug on the wall. Tack strips are thin boards with sharp tacks sticking out. They’re used specifically to hold carpets in place.
Prepare four tack strips and cut each strip to the length of each side of the rug.
Coat the tack strips in a clear finish or paint and let dry.
Attach the tack strips to the wall and use a level to ensure they are straight.
Nail the rug to the tack strip by lifting the rug against the top tack strip and pressing it firmly against the strip.
Use two upholstery nails to secure each corner of the rug and a third to secure the middle.
Important tips for hanging rugs and tapestries
Regardless of the method you choose to hang a decorative rug or tapestry, keep these tips in mind:
- Never hang rugs directly above or near a heat source, such as a fireplace.
- Hang a rug or tapestry where it won’t be hit by direct sunlight.
- Never hang a decorative rug by nailing or pinning it to the wall; the weight pulling against the nails will cause stress on the fibres and damage the rug.