How to Hang a Quilt with Picture-Hanging Strips

Welcome to my first web tutorial!

A couple years ago I was gifted an excellent modern quilt in my guild’s annual Secret Gift Exchange.  The best place to hang it (and almost the only bare space big enough in our apartment) was over the fireplace, on a brick wall.  I wondered: how am I going to hang a quilt on a brick wall?  Any adhesive strong enough would surely damage the quilt, now or when I took it off, and I quailed at the thought of trying to install hardware onto brick.

Then I realized I could hang the quilt the same way I had hung a framed poster and three bulletin boards on the same brick surface: with picture hanging strips!  Command makes these two-part strips that lock into each other like velcro, to hang framed things on the wall without damaging the paint.

command strips

One set of strips go onto the back of the frame, the other onto the wall, and they lock together to hold the frame in place.  This creates a stronger grip than the poster-hanging strips, and can take a lot more weight.  On an uneven surface like a brick wall, this will work even better with a quilt, because the quilt is flexible and can bend around any irregularities in the surface.  All it takes is one extra step and a little whip-stitching, and you can hang a quilt on an unfriendly (or lease-protected) surface with the greatest of ease.

How to Hang a Quilt with Picture-Hanging Strips: The Tutorial

This is a straightforward process that anyone with a minimum of sewing skill can perform.

You will need:

  1. A quilt
  2. Picture hanging strips.  You’ll need one pair for each end of the quilt, and one for every eighteen inches of width along the top edge.  (So, for this 30″-wide quilt, I’m using three pairs of hanging strips.)
  3. Scissors
  4. Needle
  5. Thread (basic sewing thread is fine)
  6. Thimble (recommended)
  7. Optional: someone to help hang the quilt and make sure it’s hanging straight

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Here’s a summary of the instructions, for people who like to get right to the point, or for you to check later:

  1. Take half of the strips; remove the paper and adhesive backing.
  2. Whip-stitch the prepared strips to the top edge of the back of the quilt below the binding, one an inch from each corner and every eighteen inches, being careful to only pick up the backing in your stitches.
  3. Gently attach the remaining wall-strips to the quilt-strips.
  4. Position the quilt on the wall.
  5. Remove the paper backing from the wall-strips, and press into place gently.
  6. Peel off the quilt, apply pressure for 30 seconds to each wall-strip, and then wait for an hour.
  7. Hang the quilt!  Re-align the strips on the quilt to the strips on the wall, and press hard, locking the strips.  Enjoy!

And now for the details and pictures.

Preparing the strips

For the strips that will attach directly to the quilt, we’re going to sew them on, rather than using their adhesive.  They can easily be removed later if you want (much like a hanging sleeve), and the adhesive won’t actually hang on to the fabric anyway.  So the first step is to remove the sticky part of the strip.  Fortunately, they’re designed to make this easy: it’s the same thing you do to pull them off of the wall.

First, divide your strips into two equal groups.  Set one group aside to use later; this step is just for the ones we’re sewing onto the quilt.

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Take your first strip, and peel the paper backing off.

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Next, take the tab at the bottom of the strip between your thumb and forefinger.  Holding firmly onto the other end of the strip with your other hand, pull the tab sideways to peel the adhesive off the back of the strip.  It should stretch and peel off fairly easily.

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Your prepared strip should now look like the bottom one below.

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Repeat with the rest of the strips that will be sewn onto your quilt.

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Applying the Strips to Your Quilt

First, decide which way is up on your quilt, or which way you want to be up.  We’ll be sewing all of the strips along the top edge, on the back, just below the binding.

Position one of your strips on the back of the quilt, on the top edge you’ve selected, near one corner.  I recommend leaving an inch or two between your strip and the corner.  You’ll see why later on.

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Holding the strip in place with your thumb, use a whip-stitch to sew the strip down to the back of your quilt.  Pick up just a few threads of the backing fabric with each stitch, as if you were sewing on a hanging sleeve.  (For beginners, be careful to just pick up the back of the quilt with your stitches; don’t push the needle all the way through, or the stitches will show on the other side!)

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Stitch down the whole outside edge of the strip, tying a knot once or twice as you go.  When you get back to where you started, tie a knot and cut.  I don’t think there’s any real need to bury the ends, but if you want to, then by all means!

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Repeat to add a strip at the other top corner of your quilt, and another one about every eighteen inches along the top edge.

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Hanging the Quilt

From here we’re going to be following the manufacturer’s instructions for applying Picture Hanging Strips, which you can also read on the back of the package.

Once all your strips are sewn on, take up the remaining strips.  Gently attach one to each strip that you’ve sewn onto the quilt, making sure they lock a little bit, but not completely.

You may need an extra person for this step, depending on how big your quilt is.  When you’ve decided where you want to hang it on the wall, position the quilt on the wall, making sure it’s hanging flat and level.  While holding one half of the top edge in place, fold the other half down at an angle, and peel the paper backing off the strips.  Gently fold that side of the quilt back into place, pressing firmly on the strips.

Repeat for the other half of the quilt.

Gently peel your quilt away from the wall.  The wall-strips should stick to the wall; if one comes off, disengage it from the quilt and put it back in the right place.

Hold pressure on each wall-strip for thirty seconds.

Wait for an hour.

Now you can hang your quilt!  Align your quilt-strips with the wall-strips, and press hard; you should hear the velcro locking into place.

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If you suddenly decide that it should actually be an inch to the right, fear not!  You can peel off the quilt and move it about an inch either way, and press it back into place again.  (This is why we left an inch or two at each corner when we sewed the strips on; it leaves room to hide the end of a wall-strip that might otherwise poke out and be conspicuous.)

Enjoy!

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