There are several methods used by conservators and other textile professionals to hang tapestries. How you decide to hang your tapestry depends on the tapestry’s current condition and where you want to hang it. Hanging methods can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Use the information below to help you decide how to hang your tapestry.
First, determine whether the back of your tapestry is finished or unfinished. If it is finished, it probably has a backing fabric that includes a rod pocket. If it is unfinished, it has no backing and you can see the negative of the tapestry’s design. Consult a textile conservator for methods to mount unfinished tapestries.
If your tapestry is finished and has a rod pocket, hanging it will be a breeze. Hanging a tapestry with a rod pocket is essentially like hanging draperies. At its simplest, you run a rod through the rod pocket and place the rod in hooks.
A very basic and inexpensive way to hang a tapestry with a rod pocket is to buy a wooden dowel large enough in diameter to not flex in the middle when cut to length. Then cut the dowel slightly shorter than the width of your tapestry and feed it through the rod pocket. Once the dowel is in the pocket, tap a nail into each end of the dowel, leaving at least a quarter-inch of nail exposed.
On your wall, place large cup hooks where the exposed nail will drop into the hook. In this case, the nail heads act as tiny finials to help keep your tapestry mounting rod from sliding out of its mounting brackets, the cup hooks. This is an inexpensive and almost invisible mounting method.
You can hang your finished tapestry using the same idea above, but using curtain rods with finials and decorative brackets. This can dress up your tapestry and add to its overall attractiveness. There are also finials that can be screwed directly into wooden dowels. Depending on the brackets you choose, you can hang your tapestry flush with the wall or away from the wall by an inch or two.
Velcro(r) mounting is also recommended for hanging tapestries and can be used to hang tapestries on a curved surface such as a stairway wall. To use this method, you will need to have some basic sewing and handyman skills. Many variations on this theme are dependent on wall placement and condition of the tapestry.
If you are interested in Velcro(r) mounting your tapestry, do not use the self-adhesive kind. The adhesive can damage the tapestry and does not offer the strength that sewn Velcro(r) does. You also do not want the Velcro(r) backing directly touching your tapestry since it can damage the tapestry. If you would like to use this method, consult a textile conservator to advise how to mount your tapestry correctly using Velcro(r).
So there you have it.
Many tapestries made today come with backing and rod pockets. If your tapestry is unfinished or old, consult a textile conservator for the best methods for hanging your tapestry to protect this piece of art for years to come. Properly mounting your tapestry is important to its appearance and longevity, regardless of whether it is new or old.