Fabric Art Display – 9 ways to hang a pretty fabric as your artwork

How to display fabric

A thing of beauty is a joy forever, said John Keats, and the best way to enjoy this beauty is to display it in a prominent place for you to view it forever. A beautiful textured or embellished fabric, a painstakingly made quilt, or your favorite fabric artwork ought to be prominently displayed for all to enjoy. The question is, What is the best way to do it.

There are many fabrics you may want to display, and you may have your own reasons for displaying them – sentimental reasons, aesthetic reasons, professional reasons; whatever it is, the method used to showcase the fabric largely depends on the fabric’s type, material, and condition. For example, You can hang a quilt easily by many methods, but a thin shawl will not properly hang just as easily.

Different ways to display fabric 

1. Hang a fabric using Velcro

display fabric

When you want to display a sturdy rug, quilt, tapestry, or carpet, an easy method to use Velcro(Hook and tape); in this method, a strip of Velcro is sewn to the top back of the fabric to be displayed. The use of Velcro prevents unnecessary stress on the hanging edges of the fabric

The soft fuzzy part of the Velcro is attached to the fabric. The stiffer Velcro strip is glued to a board which will be attached on the wall.

Choose a wooden board or slat half-inch shorter than the width of the material. The wooden slat should be varnished and completely dried. Treat the wooden slat with water-borne polyurethane varnish to protect the fabric from wood acids.
You can glue or staple the fabric onto the board. Staple pins can get rusty and accidental contact of the staple pins with the fabric will cause damage to the fabric unless you use non-rusting staples or tacks. You can install the finished slat to the wall using mirror plates, D rings, or eye screws/eye bolts.

Start sewing the fabric and the velcro from the center and then proceed towards the edge, preventing the fabric from getting stretched in one direction.When threading the needle, use a thread with the same color as the background of the fabric. Now match the two sides of the Velcro tape together from one edge to the other.

2. Hang the textile on a rod

display fabric on the all

Using a casing and rod to hang is a popular way of displaying textiles, especially rugs and even quilts.

This is how it is done – Casings of heavy cotton or linen is sewn at the top of the textile. Another option is to leave extra fabric at the top of your display fabric as you are making it and make a casing with the extra fabric at the top. Casing should be sewn in such a way that it is just inside the rod, without showing the rod but you should also not let the fabric hang out on the sides.

If you have a small wall hanging, hang it with a rod with cup hooks and a Nylon fishing line or string. For a 1/2 to 1 inch wide rod, you will need to leave 4 inches extra for making the casing. Make the casing or sleeve, and then insert the dowel in the sleeve. The hanging rod can be suspended from cup hooks using string or a fishing line.

A metal rod shorter than the textile is inserted into the casing. The rod is fixed on the wall using screws or angled nails. Instead of metal rods, ridged steel strips can also be used which is easy to hang on walls on slanted nails.

The casing must be attached on a straight line, otherwise the textile will hang in an irregular shape

3. Frame your fabric behind a glass frame

This method can be used to frame a flat fabric. Cut out extra yardage from the fabric and Iron all wrinkles out of the fabric. Ensure that when you stretch the fabric and fold the edges to the back of the board and under the glass, it is not stretched out of grainline or crooked. And ensure the glass is perfectly clean. 

4. Mount textiles on stretchers

Canvas stretchers are wooden frames on which a heavy fabric is stretched and tacked or stapled to the frame. They can be made of soft cotton flannel or linen. Museums and exhibitions often use this method to display their textiles.
The textile is hand sewn on the stretched fabric with or without leaving a border. In this method, most textiles need to be stitched out only along the ridges but also in other areas. This helps the weight to be distributed evenly.

Care must be taken to choose threads that match the color of the fabric so that the stitches won’t be visible on the front of the textile. Sometimes a shadow box frame or plexiglass box is used to mount stretchers to provide further protection.

5. Mount using Velcro-stretcher combination

In this method, a neutral color fabric is stretched over a wooden frame. A piece of hooked Velcro is attached by sewing to the back of the textile to be hung. This is then pasted to the stretched fabric.

Suppose the textile to be hung is heavy like a rug, the frame must be fitted with a fibreboard on which the backing material is stretched. In addition to it, more Velcro hooks must be attached to the back of the textile or rug, for proper support.

6. Mount textiles 3M command adhesive strips

3M command strips are 3M brand adhesive strips which can be applied to wall (not wallpapered wall) – but you cannot hang very heavy fabrics with it. This is a temperory option when you want to display in a hurry. There is a weight limit to these strips so your fabric has to be within this weight limit. The best thing about these strips is that they can be removed from the wall anytime without causing any damage.

You will have to clean the surface with rubbing alchohol for it to work properly. You will need a seperate material to attach to the command strips – you can sew felt or Velcro strips to the fabric for attaching to the command strips. 

The process goes like this – sew the extra material to the back of your display fabric. Attach the command strip on the wall. Adhere the fabric with the backing material onto the command strip.

If you do not mind attaching adhesive strips to your fabric, you can use Picture Hanging Strips. You can adhere ashesive strips included in this package to the back of your fabric – no need for sewing extra backing material as described earlier. 

7. Mount textile using foam core

This method is best suited to mount lightweight textiles or small articles. Foam is used as backing over which fabric like linen, velvet, or cotton upholstery is stretched. Stretched material is fixed at the back of the foam. The textile or article to be exhibited is pinned or stitched to the mount. Unlike solid surfaces, it is easier to sew on the foam board. The only thing is stitches must be placed not too close or else foam can get torn. The whole thing can be framed with a plexiglass box if you want.

8. Mount textile using facing and board method

This method is used when you want to showcase the edges of your fabric – this method doesnot take the fabric to the back; instead the facing is taken to the back.

Use a treated wooden board, painted or varnished so as not to spoil the textile with wood acid. The board should be of the same size or a little shorter than the width of the fabric. Hand sew a heavy fabric facing along the fabric edges. The facing can be six or seven inches wide or wider in case it needs additional support. The facing is then folded over to the back of the fabric. The facing is pulled over the board and stapled or tacked along the entire width.

9. Hang with clips

This is useable only for small fabric artworks. It makes a very charming display.

Related posts : How to display embroidery work. ; Make embroidery pendants and display your embroidery as jewelry

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.