How to hang an oriental carpet

Written by benna crawford
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How to hang an oriental carpet
A beautiful carpet may be displayed on the floor or on the wall. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

An heirloom oriental carpet, a hand-woven tapestry rug or a favourite Persian carpet picked up in your travels may belong on the wall as a treasured piece of art. Hanging a carpet protects it from the wear and tear of the floor and allows the weaving, thread colours and design of the fabric to be closely examined. But what you hang, where you hang it, how you prepare it and how long the piece stays on the wall will limit carpets as wall art.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flexible metal tape measure
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Hammer, screws, nails
  • Wood batten or narrow flat board
  • Hooks (optional)
  • Strips of muslin or canvas
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Dowel or curtain rod (optional)
  • Strips of Velcro (optional)
  • Ladder (optional)
  • Sewing machine (optional)

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  1. 1

    Weigh the carpet, examine the health or fragility of the fibres and track the daily patterns of sunlight where you intend to hang it. If everything checks out, you can hang the carpet directly on the wall. Measure the rug and determine the centre line -- the midpoint that looks visually "good" for wall-hung art. This is typically around 60 inches from the floor and is measured to the centre of the item to be hung. The exact centre of the rug should align with your centre line when the rug is hung.

  2. 2

    Put a piece of blue painter's tape on the wall to mark the top and bottom edges of where the carpet will hang. Mark the precise spot on the painter's tape, not the wall. Painter's tape peels off the wall later without damaging it. Use a stud finder to check that any wall mounting for a heavy rug can be attached to studs in the wall for maximum support.

  3. 3

    Cut a 2- to 3-inch-wide length of muslin or light cotton canvas that runs almost the width of the carpet. If the carpet is larger than about 2 by 3 feet, cut several fabric lengths to use at regular intervals on the back of the rug for extra support. Hem the fabric and hand-stitch it to the back of the carpet securely. Use a thread that blends with the colours of the carpet and stitch along the top and bottom of the fabric length to create a shallow sleeve. Insert a dowel or curtain rod into each sleeve on the back of the carpet. A single sleeve will go at the top on the back of a small rug. For more than one sleeve, start at the top and space the sleeves evenly to the bottom.

  4. 4

    Mount a wooden batten or board to the wall where the inserted rod for the carpet will be suspended. Do this for each support rod you have attached to the carpet. Measure and mark the wall with tape and pencil as before. Screw two hooks into the board to hold the dowel or rod. The hooks will catch the rod at either end where it emerges from the sleeve or you may slit the sleeve carefully where the hooks connect to the rod. If the rug needs more than one support rod, it is easier to mount the top batten, hang the rug from it and then mark the positions for the remaining rows of hooks.

  5. 5

    Hang the rug and adjust the sleeve, or sleeves, so the carpet lies as flat and straight as possible. Alternatively, Velcro strips can be stitched to the muslin lengths and stapled to the wall-mounted battens. The rug is then pressed against the Velcro to suspend it on the wall. This method works best for lighter, smaller rugs.

  6. 6

    Rotate carpets or art so the rugs don't stay permanently on the wall. The weight of the textiles will cause the rug to sag over time and could weaken the weave or the fibres. A wall-mounted carpet is vulnerable to fading even in a light-controlled space, and some dust is inevitable.

Tips and warnings

  • A large, heavy rug should be professionally mounted, if at all.
  • A fragile textile may need a display case for extra protection.
  • Exposure to sun, dust, humidity and cooking oils must be strictly limited.
  • Stitch the sleeve backing to the carpet, working the needle into the spaces in the woven fibres. Don't pierce the threads with the needle and risk damaging the rug. Adding a means to suspend the carpet should be approached with the same care that was lavished on making it.

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