Posted by Jim Bond on 03-02-2008 03:19 PM:

Advice on hanging on wall

I recently discovered this Forum and, since I think I may be a latent oriental rug addict, expect to revisit it often. Pardon my making my first-ever post of such an elementary one. I would like to hang one a 3 X 5 (possibly) Yomut rug on the wall, also a 1 X 5 torba. I would be grateful for advice on how best to do that. One rug merchant recommended I have loops sewn onto the backs, then hang them on a rod that runs through them. However, the idea of all that stitching going into the knots makes me a bit uneasy. Using the alligator clips the rug merchants use for displaying rugs in there stores was not recommended for long-term hanging. Any other methods I might consider?

Posted by Steve Price on 03-02-2008 05:29 PM:

Hi Jim

First, welcome to Turkotek.

Stitches through the foundation of a rug won't hurt it a bit, although I've never found the sewn-on loops method to be very satisfactory. It makes setting the rug's position on the wall kind of inexact, and it's surprising how obvious it can be if the rug isn't parallel to the nearest vertical or horizontal feature of a wall (like a corner or a ceiling).

For lightweight rugs like a 3 x 5 or a torba, I find that the strips carpet installers use (about 3' long wooden slats with lots of little nails sticking out of them) work very well. I screw them into the wall, then just hang the rug (torba, juval) on the little nails. This lets me adjust the angle of the rug very easily, and also gives a couple of inches leeway in the height.

Another method that works well, but is a little more trouble, is to glue some velcro onto a thin wooden slat, screw the slat onto the wall, sew (loose basting stitches are adequate) the mating velcro onto the back of the rug a little below the top, then hang the rug by the velcro. This, too, gives a lot of leeway in the angle and the height.

For even smaller pieces (say, bagfaces that are about 2' square), just tacking them to a wall with two or three wire brads suffices.


Steve Price

Posted by Paul Smith on 03-02-2008 06:26 PM:

Jim, Steve--

I tried the carpet tack-strip technique once on a small Tekke rug, and I was convinced that all those nails chewed up the back of the rug a bit. I believe in the "first, do no harm" policy on these things, and I think those strips do some damage.

I have had fabric sleeves with a wooden piece in them put in, which I think is the official museum technique, and while it does no damage, I didn't like the way it held the rug away from the wall. The other problem is that if the piece is irregular in any way, it looks pretty bad.

So, I asked my favorite dealer what he does, and he uses those heavy T-pins and snips off the "T". I asked if it ever stretched out the fabric and he stressed that you have to use a bunch of them for a large piece, but he even hangs main carpets that way. I found that the wire brads Steve mentioned are the same thickness (and need no snipping), so I have been doing that ever since. Even on a pretty big Luri main carpet I have hanging here, which has eight or nine of those brads, there is no stretching. On that one, I am thinking of trying the velcro technique because it is pretty large and heavy, but on any of my other smaller rugs, the brad thing works great. I use five or six on a prayer rug.


Posted by Steve Price on 03-02-2008 07:07 PM:

Hi Paul

My impression is that the little nails on carpet strips wind up going between the foundation yarn strips (pushing them aside, sort of), not penetrating them. This may not be the case for extremely finely woven rugs, which could account for Paul's experience with a Tekke. Since they're spaced every half inch or so, they spread out the stressed area from which the rug hangs. I would be more concerned with putting, say, three or four small brads through from the front than putting thirty or forty similarly sized brads through from the back, which is essentially what carpet strips do. The stress is more concentrated with the smaller number of hanging points. Anyway, I've never seen any sign of damage (fraying ,etc.) from using carpet strips or brads, although I don't use either one on anything that isn't pretty light weight.

Museums use a number of mounting methods, the best of which may be to set up a slightly slanted board, cover it with a fabric to give its surface some friction, then lay the rug onto it. This pretty much spreads the weight out over the rug's surface rather than suspending it from a small region near the top, and is completely noninvasive.

To make a long story short, I think there are lots of ways to do it that will work just fine in a home setting. I would avoid covering a rug with glass or plexiglass, which can trap moisture and cause damage, and I'd avoid putting it in a place that gets significant sunlight.


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 03-02-2008 10:15 PM:

Hi folks,

I've used the nail strip method and the "sew on a sleeve" method. The latter is definitely more sewing than I usually need. I do agree with Paul, though, that the carpet layers' strips have a tendency to chew up the back of the rug. It is because the many little points just grab onto the back surface of the rug, like industrial strength velcro, and can abraid it if the rug is moved too much, or removed and reapplied too often. I think it works well if one puts the piece on with care abnd leaves it alone.

Another method I've used successfully is to work a number of stout lengths of thread (button and carpet thread works well) at one end of the rug through the back rug to the front, around one or two warps, then through to the back again, at regular intervals along one line of weft. The result is that you have several double lengths of the thread along one line of weft at the back of the rug that can be tied to a rod. Ten inch intervals or so work fine. When the thread is first worked through to the front of the rug, it is necessary to bury it in the pile before pushing it back out the rear so it won't show on the surface of the displayed rug. Kabish? You now have a rod tied evenly to the back of the rug along one horizontal, and the rod can then be suspended to something anchored to the wall. This method is best used with rugs that have some stiffness to them, as the very supple ones will hang over at the top. (Did anybody say, "Baluch?")

I would mention that if you plan to stick brads or other fine nails through the rug, try to work the point of the nail through an interstice, rather than just drive the sucker through there. I mean, find a natural little gap in the weave. These rugs don't like getting stabbed, but you knew that.

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 03-03-2008 06:30 AM:

Another method that works well, but is a little more trouble, is to glue some velcro onto a thin wooden slat, screw the slat onto the wall, sew (loose basting stitches are adequate) the mating velcro onto the back of the rug a little below the top, then hang the rug by the velcro. This, too, gives a lot of leeway in the angle and the height.

I use a variation of the method above: I staple the Velcro onto a wooden slat, drill two holes at the corners, tie a string through them, stick the Velcro-ed rug on, and hang the whole thing to a hook like a painting… which gives a lot more leeway in the angle. It also makes it much easier to exchange locations between pieces.

Smaller, lighter pieces, like the Jaff Kurd bag face in this photo, can be nailed on the wooden slat with tacks, instead of using Velcro.

This kilim was already hung during its Caucasian life, as the six loops still sewn on one side can testify. That, however, produced some distortions so I hung it from the other, straighter, side. I had a sturdy four inches hemp band sewn on the back parallel to the edge (and hidden by it), leaving the top inch un-sewed.
I screwed the usual wooden slats on the wall for the whole length of the kilim and then stapled the un-sewed part of the hemp band on the slats.



Posted by Jim Bond on 03-03-2008 06:36 AM:

Hi, Steve, Paul and Richard:

Well, I have to thank you all for your excellent advice. I think I'm going to "like this place." The carpet strip idea was one I thought of just the other day, and the idea of possibly using brads spaced at frequent enough intervals is definitely worth considering. Thanks, again, guys!


Posted by Richard Larkin on 03-04-2008 06:49 PM:

HI Jim,

I was wondering whether you were considering giving us a look at your soon to be hung Yomud.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jim Bond on 03-04-2008 10:21 PM:

As a matter of fact, I have been intending to post some photos of the Yomud (to verify that it is, in fact, that tribe's). I'm also planning on posting photos of a tekke rug that I picked up at a local antique shop, where it had be placed alongside several junk rugs. (Antique Roadshow, are you heading this way?) I must admit, though, I'm a little hesitant to do the above because I'm pretty much a beginner and there are some very knowledgeable guys on this forum--and I wouldn't want to distress them in the event my new acquisitions aren't the real deal....

Posted by Steve Price on 03-05-2008 05:36 AM:

Hi Jim

Ruggies deal with disappointment every day. Don't worry - they can take it.


Steve Price

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 03-05-2008 09:24 PM:



I tried the velcro thing once, but it took a lot of work to sew one piece onto the rug and, as with the tack strip, it must be nailed or screwed onto the wall, so if you have pieces of different sizes they do not easily interchange places. I use upholstery tacks. They are like typical tacks, but longer and sturdier. As Steve says, the heavier the piece, the more tacks.
Steve said ruggies are often disappointed. But you said you did not want to distress us.

Disappointment is finding a faded synthetic dye on the piece you just got from e-bay.

Distress is finding moths inhabiting your rug collection.

Discouragement is comparing your rugs with other folks rugs.

Depression is when you try to sell your rugs.

I suggest just enjoying what you have, visit Turkotek to see what others have and keep an eye out for the next nice thing.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Richard Larkin on 03-05-2008 10:20 PM:

Hi Patrick,

I encountered the problem of using the carpet laying strips, then finding that they were too long when I wanted to put a smaller rug up there. I put it up anyway, and just let the extended ends of the strips stick out.

"How tacky!" said all my friends.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jim Bond on 03-05-2008 10:22 PM:

I don't know if it's kosher to bring up a different subject on this thread, but since you brought up the subject of dyes, how can you tell vegetable dyes in a rug and synthetic dyes?

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 03-05-2008 11:05 PM:



The only way known to differentiate between vegetal dyes and synthetic dyes (other than expensive and invasive chemical testing) is to eat some of them, a cup or so will do fine. If you feel OK afterwards, they were probably vegetal. If you feel a bit queasy, they were synthetic.

Unfortunately, quite often the symptoms do not appear for up to 20 years or more and some synthetic dyes are probably cancer-causing.

Helpfully yours,

Patrick Weiler

P.S. I do not recommend this method of dye testing and please do not sue me. My only asset is a hideously dyed Pak Bokara mat as shown in an earlier posting.
On second thought, please sue me. It would allow me to pass along the Pak Bokara.

Posted by Steve Price on 03-06-2008 06:18 AM:

Hi Jim

The dyes issue is less straightforward than you might think. I suggest going to our home page and using the Google thing to search for "natural dyes" (or "synthetic dyes"), using the Search Turkotek option. It will turn up a lot of information from which you can form your own opinions about how to do it and how reliable the results are likely to be.


Steve Price

Posted by Jim Bond on 03-06-2008 07:24 AM:

Thanks, Steven. I think I'll try your approach to determining whether a textile has been vegetal or sythetic dyed. Patrick's method could lead to someone asking at my funeral the ultimate of punning answers to the question, "What did he die of?"

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 03-06-2008 07:38 AM:

Wise decision Mr. Bond.
You Only Live Twice after all…

Posted by Richard Larkin on 03-06-2008 07:54 AM:


Don't think for one second I've forgotten that khorjin you brought back from Turkey (Boteh tribe) with the bite out of it. Having seen your portrait in the Gallery, I knew just about anything was possible, yet I never considered dye testing.

Good colors in that piece?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jim Miller on 03-06-2008 12:45 PM:

Here is my solution to hanging small rugs.
I have used the brads, but unless the piece is very small/light, I hate to put that much localized stress on the warps that rest on the brad. I have tried sewing on velcro or fabric strips, that better distribute the weight, but I can't sew for beans and I like to rotate the pieces I hang, so that doesn't work well.

What I did discover are these small wooden clamps that are used to hang quilts. They are essential two small (1-2 inch) pieces of molding back-to-back and held together with a thumb screw. So they form kind of an open ended clam shell but hinged in the middle. I place a wooden dowel in the clamp on one side of the screw and the rug on the other side and clamp down with the screw. The clamps are smooth (unlike alligator clasps) and I place them every 8-12 inches depending on the weight of the rug. I then hand the wooden dowel on hooks that are already in the wall. The down side is that the hanging apparatus shows. But the upside is that within a few minutes I can switch out rugs that are on display. It is kinda nice every month or so to dig through the high tech rug depository (back shelf of my clothes closet) and dig out old friends that I can then see on a daily basis.

I found the clamps on an online quilt supply store.

Cheers to all

Posted by Jim Bond on 03-09-2008 08:37 AM:

The attached link leads a a site that discusses quite a number of alternative methods for hanging textiles on the wall. You'll note that the writer is an adamant opponent to using carpet installation strips, maintaining the damage the rug and eventually rust. The trouble is, from my point of view, most of the suggestions she lists involve sewing, which is not among my meager list of talents.

Posted by Steve Price on 03-09-2008 08:56 AM:

Hi Jim

Marla generally knows what she's talking about, and I put a lot of credence into things she says. But the fact is that tack strips have been used for carpet installation for decades, and I've never heard of them rusting. I suppose they would if a flood hit the room, but otherwise I don't see how it could happen.

As for the little tacks tearing up the fibers, unless somebody has a method for sewing that doesn't involve needles penetrating the textile, how can tacks that are about the diameter of small needles do more damage than sewing does?


Steve Price

Posted by Jim Bond on 03-09-2008 10:47 AM:

Thanks, Steve. You made several very good ...ahem.. points. Blessings and salutations on you for sparing me the chore of learning how to sew (for finding someone I trust with my rugs).


Posted by Richard Larkin on 03-09-2008 05:11 PM:

Hi Steve,

I think the big fear about the nail strips is that the points tend to be less refined in the finish than one finds on sewing needles, so that tiny barbs and hooks lurk waiting to abraid your rug. Also, the ends are faceted, they way a pencil point would be that you sharpened with a knife, rather than the smooth cone end of a needle. The overall result is that as the piece moves on the strips, due to handling or whatever (e. g., my office is next to the railroad track, and the vibration can be significant) there is some potential for "sawing" action on the back of the rug. Finally, with a needle, one can carefully work it through interstices in the weave, thus minimizing the potential for damage too the fabric.

Posted by Steve Price on 03-09-2008 07:21 PM:

Hi Rich

I hadn't thought about the shape of the intruding piece of metal. You're probably right ,which means that I'm probably wrong. I hate it when that happens.

Steve Price