My husband and I purchased an Otomi tapestry on our honeymoon in Mexico two years ago, and last weekend I finally figured out a way to hang it up. I'd looked for tapestry or quilt hangers online, but most of them were big and bulky, or just plain ugly. I wanted something simple and delicate to keep the focus on the beautiful embroidery.
The simple technique I came up with ended up being super easy and required less than $10 in supplies from the hardware store. It could be easily adapted to hang quilts, tea towels, or any piece of fabric you'd like to hang.
Click through for the step by step instructions:
I found these square dowels at my local hardware store for 79 cents each. I used the smallest size they had, 1/4" squares, but they come in a variety of sizes and lengths. Be sure to check all your dowels carefully to make sure they are straight and free of big flaws (shockingly, 79 cents doesn't seem to buy much quality control, some of them can be pretty ragged).
Conveniently, the 36" dowels I found were a good length for my tapestry, so I didn't have to cut them down to size. They did come with one end painted neon orange though. Rather than get out a saw, I just sanded the end down a little until most of the orange was gone. My dowels were a little rough in places, so I gave the whole length a light sanding.
After I ironed my tapestry to get it to lay as flat as possible, I spread it out on top of one of the dowels. Then I set a second dowel on top to make a tapestry sandwich.
Next I tied the two dowels together, and then wrapped the ends in twine for about an inch. It's important to wrap the dowels as tightly as possible so they grip the fabric in between them. I chose a neutral twine for this project, but you could easily change up the look by using something more decorative or varying the size of the wrapping.
Due to the weight of the thick Otomi embroidery, I added a few stitches along the length of the dowel to further secure it. I did two stitches 12" apart, along both the top and bottom. Depending on the weight of your fabric, you may be able to skip this step, or just do one stitch in the center.
The embroidery process seems to have warped the fabric in my tapestry, so you'll notice it doesn't lay completely flat. I tried to minimize it by evenly spreading out the excess fabric across the length of the dowel. Hopefully it will stretch and flatten a bit with time, but for now I'll just chalk it up to the handmade nature of the piece.