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Subject: Displaying rugs

Displaying rugs

From: Ellis Shirley <shirley.ellis>
Date: Thursday, July 13, 2000
Joan Binzen <binzenj [at] mville__edu> writes

>I would like to hear from anyone with experience using velcro to
>hang rugs and other woven textiles.  Specifically, I understand the
>hook side of a velcro closing strip can be hooked into the back of
>the rug or textile.  The strip may then be attached to the wall by
>whatever means chosen.   I would like to know whether or how much
>damage this may cause to the rug/textile and over how long a period
>of time

When displaying rugs or tapestries it is the "loop" side of the
Velcro that is first machine stitched to a wider cotton twill tape
or prepared band and then this Velcro unit then gets hand-stitched
onto the back of the rug.  The loop side is used because it is
softer and will cause less damage to the textile should it come in
contact.  When stitching onto the textile be sure to stitch around
the yarns and not pierce them with the needle.  I like to use a
heavier cotton quilting thread or linen thread because it needs to
be relatively strong but yet not strong enough to break the original
yarns. You may also decide to secure a lining to the back of the rug
first, in which case the Velcro unit is stitched over and through
all.  The lining functions as a dust cover, barrier from the wall
and can provide additional support if vertical rows of stitching are

Once the rug is prepared then the "hook" side can attached to
whatever you are going to hang the rug onto.  We typically use a
wooden batten that we seal with a water-based polyurethane sealant.
The hook side of Velcro is then stapled on with stainless steel
staples.  This batten is fixed to your wall and then the rug with
the loop side of Velcro slowly and gently gets pressed onto it. When
removing it, be careful to slide your hand between the layers to
separate them rather than pulling directly off.  This reduces the
potential to damage the yarns.

Generally, for a heavy textile such as a rug or tapestry and if a
slant board is not a feasible display method, the Velcro technique
works well to distribute the weight of the textile.  This is
assuming that the textile is reasonably structurally sound.  I think
more damage would occur from the light illuminating the display than
the display method.

Shirley Ellis, MAC, CAPC
Textile Conservator
Department of Human Ecology
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2N1
Fax: 780-492-4821

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:5
                   Distributed: Monday, July 17, 2000
                        Message Id: cdl-14-5-005
Received on Thursday, 13 July, 2000

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