Saturday, July 2, 2011

Carpet Tacking Strip

Ah, the carpet tacking strip question/statement…….

Yes, the archival framer and I talked about this quite a bit……

He was horrified to learn that this is such a common method of

hanging rugs….

The carpet tacking strips will play h*ll with your rugs over the long term…

The nails are not galvanized and will rust….

Plus the sharp nails and nail edges cut at the fibers of the rug…..

The wood is not sealed and the acids from the wood will also eat away at the wool fibers…..

Kind of reminds me of this……


Have I hung rugs using carpet tack strip…….yes

Do I have any rugs currently hung using carpet tack strip…..yes

Am I searching for a better method…..yes

So what started all of this experimentation?

I wanted a way to hang my rugs with just a few nails in the wall,

where I could take the rugs down and they would also be suitable

for hanging in gallery showings.


I’ve only done two showings and once the rugs are there it is a

nightmare to figure out how to hang the rugs.

Galleries don’t exactly want you nailing carpet tacking strips to their walls.

He (the framer) had me use the thicker wood strips to keep the rug from hanging flush

to the wall (I requested a method where the rugs would hang flush to the wall)…..when it

hangs flush, it easily traps moisture, which can also be damaging to the rug AND the wall….

in the form of moisture and mold.  When the rug is hung a bit away from the wall it lets air

circulate around the front and the back of the rug.

For most rugs, you would probably not need the wood along the bottom

of the rug as well, however, for these particular rugs…..they had lots of

embellishing which needed to be weighted at the bottom to have the rugs

hang correctly.

In the future we will also be experimenting with Velcro and perhaps an innovate

way to hang smaller rugs with galvanized or stainless steel wire…..I’ll let you know

how these come along as I work on them.

We put so much time and effort into our rugs….I think it’s time we start thinking more

about how we hang them as well.


  1. Tammy:
    Excellent post. I had no idea. I live in know we (well, not me, so far) have humidity and mold.......even tho I run the a/c all the time and live in a brand new house.
    This was eye opening to be sure!!!
    Keep searching girlfriend and I'll keep reading. Thank you for giving us the "Paul Harvey" version of an answer. GOOD JOB!!!!! xoxoxoxox

  2. Tammy,thanks for all this information. I knew carpet strips were bad,but not the rest.

  3. Tammy , I think that the rug hooking community owes you a debt of gratitude for your research. You get through the nitty gritty and we can all benefit. Keep up the good work and I think that this would be a great article for Rug Hooking Magazine. You are an innovator and I know that you will come up with something.

    Have a great weekend. JB

  4. I can see that now - heck carpet tack strips only cost a few pennies so they aren't sealed and protected. I only have a few hanging on strips - most of mine are either on quilt hangers or nailed to the wall. If I do do a sleeve on the back of the rug I generally use an old yard stick I cut to fit (the old ones are stronger it seems) but I guess that wouldn't help the moisture problem, but then again rugs on the floor are flat against a surface (except one of mine when the cats decide to roll themselves up like taco's in it). Either way - I hope you find what works for you - and great topic to hear what others come up with and do

  5. I hang my rugs on frames covered with black wool. My husband makes a frame out of 1x2's then I cover the frame by stretching black wool over the fronts to the back and stapling it along the back. Then i take my finsihed rug (that is hemmed and finished with rug binding) and sew it to the wool on the front of the frame. The frame is the exact size as the rug and with black wool and I always us black binding it disappears when it is hung on the wall. This is a really great way to turn your rug from a "rug hanging" on the wall to a "piece of art on the wall". Museum mounting it is called. And great thing is one or two nails is all it takes. Then when you are ready to use your rug on the floor it only takes mintues to take it off and toss on the floor! And this whole process takes no time at all.
    Hope this helps somebody with the ease if hanging a rug.

  6. Nice work Tammy! This is a subject that deserves more consideration in the rug hooking world. Our rugs are works of art and need to be displayed as such. I would add to the many great recommendations already stated to rotate your rugs often and do not let them hang in sunlight too long. I think Julia has a great idea that you do something for rug hooking magazine....... or start your own e-zine! You GO Girl!!
    Cathy G