Tips for hanging rugs on the wall

Written by joan norton
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Tips for hanging rugs on the wall
Rugs should be hung using museum textile conservation techniques. (tapis image by arabesque from Fotolia.com)

Proper handling is important for the long-term preservation of textiles such as rugs. Antique rugs may be more fragile than they appear and care should be taken to inspect them for weak spots before hanging. Using push-pins or rings to hang rugs creates tears in the fabric and distorts the weave pattern. Carpet tack strips create small holes that rust and weaken the rug. Simple hanging and framing methods are the most effective ways to display a rug's beauty.

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Casing

Casings made of heavy cotton twill rug binding or linen fabric are hand-sewn to the upper back of the rug. Use heavy cotton buttonhole thread to sew evenly along the top and bottom of the casing, catching two warp threads of the rug with each stitch. The casing should stop one inch from each side edge. A metal rod slightly shorter than the width of the rug is inserted into the casing. The rod should be painted, varnished or shellacked to prevent rusting. It is supported by two slightly angled nails or screws in the wall. Do not hang the textile in direct light. "One of the greatest threats to textiles is light. The worst damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from natural daylight and from fluorescent light bulbs," according to The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.

Velcro

Secure the soft, fuzzy side of a fabric hook and loop fastener, such as Velcro, to the rug using a simple overcast stitch. Attach it in a straight line, not following the contour of the rug's weaving. Glue or staple the stiff, sticky side of the fastener strip to a wooden board. Mount the board to the wall where there are studs. The rug is now pressed into place by attaching the fastener strips together. Large, heavy Kilim rugs or weavings require two parallel strips of fabric fasteners to support their weight. Adhesives should never touch the weave of the rug. Wash your hands when working with textiles because oil, salt and soap residue weaken the rug fibre.

Mounted Frame

A linen-covered frame provides a rigid rug mounting that is easily hung on the wall like a picture frame. Stretch and staple heavy linen fabric to a wooden frame, canvas stretchers or a piece of heavy plywood. Grey or beige linen provides a neutral background. The rug is then hand-stitched to the linen cloth using a simple, large stitch going all the way through the rug. The stitching does not show on the front of the rug when neutral or matching thread is used. The rug needs to be secured along each edge and in widely spaced intervals across the centre. This method is effective for flat-weave rugs. Heavier rugs such as hooked or looped yarn rugs should be mounted with casings.

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