How To Hang a Tapestry
Tapestries bring color and texture to any wall, but you have to know how to hang a tapestry right for the full effect.
Wallpaper, painting, or stencils may not be your thing, or you might want to decorate your walls with deeper, richer hues and patterns. A tapestry might be the answer to just such a decor dilemma. These traditional textiles instantly add texture, color, and pattern to a space, but there’s more than one way to display them. Take a look at how to hang a tapestry, and pick a method that works for the given space. The tapestry can then set the room’s mood.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Take note of the tapestry fabric. A tight weave may get holes if punctured by nails or pushpins, while a thin weave lets them through without a problem. If you want to prevent fading, don’t hang a tapestry in direct sunlight. Over time, that sunlight can bleach the fabric of its colors.
How to Hang a Tapestry on a Rod
A curtain rod pushed through the rod pocket on the back of a tapestry provides a strong, stable way to display textile artwork. It also protects the fabric from holes. (Note: Not all tapestries have a rod pocket, but keep reading for a way to circumvent this problem.)
- Curtain rod and hanging brackets
- Screwdriver or hammer
- Level (optional)
- Stud finder (optional)
- Wall anchors (optional)
STEP 1: Select a curtain rod that’s the right size for the tapestry.
Measure the tapestry. The curtain rod should be four to eight inches longer than the width of the tapestry, depending on the rod design. Check the rod’s length range, which is generally listed in the description. The tapestry width should fall within that range. For example, a 30-inch tapestry would fit a curtain rod that adjusts from 28 to 48 inches.
The tapestry should have a little clearance on each end but not much. Two or three inches on each side should do. Keep in mind that if the rod has finials or other decorative end caps, the rod measurement only includes the length of the rod that actually holds the tapestry. Make sure there’s space on the wall for the end caps.
STEP 2: Attach the tapestry to the rod.
Gently slide the curtain rod through the rod pocket. Antique or delicate fabrics require a gentle hand with this step. Too much tugging and pulling can damage the fabric, especially if it gets snagged on the rod.
Depending on the fabric type, you may want to steam or iron the tapestry before putting it on the rod. If you’re unsure of the fabric’s content, stay on the safe side and steam it rather than using an iron.
STEP 3: Hang the rod brackets according to the package directions.
Curtain rods hang differently depending on their design. Check the packaging to determine what tools you may need. Common tools for hanging curtain rods include a stud finder, screwdriver, level, or hammer.
Heavy tapestries will need the added stability of a stud to act as an anchor for the screws and brackets. If there’s not a stud in the right location, a wall anchor can add stability. Measure from the ceiling to each bracket to make sure they’re level. Check the measurements and markings with a level to make sure the rod will hang straight. Attach the brackets according to the directions.
STEP 4: Hang the tapestry.
Once the brackets are in, there’s not much left to do but hang the tapestry. The rod should rest on the two brackets, hiding them from view. The finials or end caps typically attach after the rod (and tapestry) is in place.
Pro Tip: If the tapestry doesn’t have a rod pocket, use curtain clips to attach the tapestry to the rod. Large square or rectangular tapestries can drape over the rod as an alternative hanging method.
How to Hang a Tapestry Using Nails, Pushpins, or Tacks
Nails, pushpins, and tacks are a simple hanging solution for tapestries that aren’t too large or heavy. They also work better for looser weaves because the nails or pins fit through the weave without damaging the fabric. You can adjust the tapestry’s drape by adding more nails or pushpins—more space between the nails creates a casual drape, while less space looks more formal.
STEP 1: Place the corner pins first.
No matter how many nails or pushpins are used, they should be equally spaced. You’ll probably need a helper for larger tapestries. Hold one corner while placing the first corner pin. Use a hammer if you can’t get the pushpins in by hand or if you’re using nails.
Support the center of the tapestry while placing the second pin or nail in the other corner. For a small tapestry, you may not need more than these two pins.
Pro Tip: Measure the distance from the ceiling to each pushpin to make sure the tapestry hangs level.
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STEP 2: Place support pins, starting in the center.
Large tapestries typically take more than two pins. Once you’ve placed the two corner pins, use a measuring tape to find the center of the tapestry and place a pin in this location. Measure from the center pin to one of the corner pins. Divide this number to determine the center of this measurement and place a pin there.
Repeat this process (measuring between two pins and finding the center) until you’ve installed as many pins as the tapestry needs for adequate support.
How to Hang a Tapestry Using Command Strips or Velcro
If you’re wondering how to hang a tapestry without a rod or how to hang a tapestry without putting holes in the wall, Command strips or Velcro are excellent options. These methods offer a clean appearance and don’t put holes in walls. They’re a particularly good option for renters or for hanging tapestries on curved walls.
STEP 1: Determine where you will hang the tapestry, and prepare the wall for the adhesive.
Command strips and Velcro both require adhesive to hold the tapestry to the wall. The adhesive may come off in the presence of humidity or too much heat. Consequently, the tapestry should not hang in kitchens, bathrooms, and near heating vents. Direct sunlight may also cause the adhesive to peel off the wall.
Prepare the wall by wiping it down with a damp cloth. This removes any dirt or dust that could weaken the adhesive’s hold. Let the wall dry completely before applying the adhesive.
STEP 2: Measure and mark the hanging line with a pencil.
Measure from the ceiling to the hanging point and make light marks where each corner of the tapestry will hang. Draw a light line between these two points. Use a level to make sure the tapestry will hang straight along this line. It’s easier to make adjustments at this point than after the tapestry has been hung on the wall.
STEP 3: Apply the Command strips or Velcro to the tapestry.
Follow the directions on the Command strips to apply them to the tapestry. That typically includes peeling off one side of the backing and pressing the command strip sticky side down onto the tapestry.
You’ll need strips at each corner and equally spaced along the top of the tapestry. The larger and heavier the tapestry, the more strips you’ll need. You can also apply Command strips or Velcro to the bottom of the tapestry so that it lies flat against the wall.
STEP 4: Apply the Command strips or Velcro to the wall.
Remove the remaining backing from the Command strips, and line up the strips with the pencil line drawn on the wall. Press on each strip in place to strengthen the hold. Do the same for the strips on the bottom edge of the tapestry.