Sometime over the weekend that special guy I’m doing a home office redo for got REALLY invested in the process, and I’m so glad he did!
Husband Chris’ home office doubles as our guestroom, and he agreed to help me hang this small, 2-by-3-foot boho rug over the guest bed. I saw the rug on the Target website while researching a shopping post on the Project 62 line and knew it would be PERFECT for this room, if only I could figure out how to work it in. The price was right, too–just $17.99!
My original plan was to replace the three prints hanging over the guest bed in this photo with three vintage ceramic ashtrays. Growing up in the 1960s, I carry a clear memory of most of the adults I knew smoking cigarettes, just like on the Mad Men television series. So every living room–including ours–had elaborate matching ashtrays on the end tables, flanking the sofa.
I see such ashtrays all the time on ebay for under $10. And though neither Chris nor I smoke, I thought, why not hang them on a wall? So I bought three, even though I had NO idea at the time where I’d hang them.
They languished in a storage basket on my bookshelf for months while I mulled it over. When this project came along, they seemed like a perfect fit. And then that rug came along, and I thought the ashtrays could go either above or below it.
Eventually we decided the best arrangement would be ON the rug itself, but more on that a little later.
How we hung the rug
Before getting into the nitty-gritty rug-hanging details with Chris, I researched different techniques on the Internet. Everything I found seemed either overly complex (and time-consuming) or overly destructive to the walls. So Chris and I talked, and he had a better idea (no surprise there)!
Please note that this is not a suitable method for hanging a large, vintage/antique, or other textile with tight weaving. My rug was loosely woven and inexpensive. Although this method did not damage it, I wouldn’t have risked it with some other textiles.
For this project you’ll need:
- A staple gun (ours is electric)
- 3/8-inch staples
- A piece of wood 2 to 3 inches wide, 1/4-inch thick, and the same length as the top of your rug (we bought a length of aspen the right width and thickness for a couple dollars and cut it to length with a small hand saw)
- Broad-blade screwdriver
- Large-size Command picture hanging strips (we used 3 sets)
- Level (ours is the electronic laser variety)
- Step ladder
First we trimmed the wood length to fit the top of our rug with the saw. We positioned it snugly so that it spanned the space between the turned-back edge hems and was just a smidge below the woven top edge.
Then we stapled from the front at about 4-inch intervals, across the top of the rug and into the wood. We did our best to hide the staples in the striped pattern of the rug (left) and under the fringe on the edges (middle). We made sure the staples were secure by giving the top of each one a good whack with the hammer. Then we used the screwdriver blade to raise the rug fibers (right) and disguise the staples a bit more.
This is how our rug and its hanging strip looked from the back.
Then we applied three large-size Command picture hanging strips to the wood, evenly spaced left, right and middle, pressing firmly on each for 30 seconds as per instructions. We stuck the other half of each set onto its mate but left the protective paper intact.
The final step of positioning the rug was the toughest part. We had to decide how high we wanted it, then strike a level to align the top. This is a tall headboard, so we ended up using it as a guideline instead of where the wall and ceiling intersected (which was, not surprisingly, not level anyway).
We wanted to center the rug over the headboard, over and below as well as left to right, which eventually involved marking its left and right edges on the wall and moving the bed for better access. We did this with pencil marks (erased later) and sticky notes, LOL!!
Only when we were sure we had it right did we peel the paper off the Command strips, position the mounted rug on the wall, and press and hold for another 30 seconds.
How we hung the ashtrays
Two of the three ashtrays had rimmed bottoms that would interfere with contact if we used Command strips, and wire-and-spring plate hangers wouldn’t clip up and over the sides of the ashtrays. So I opted for a new-to-me product that’s been around more than 40 years with rave reviews–plate disc hangers.
For this project we used:
- Three 3-inch plate disc hangers
- Dishwashing soap and water
- Three bulldog hangers with nails (2 medium, 1 small)
- Step ladder
Plate discs adhere to the back of porcelian, china, earthenware, glass and unvarnished wood so you can hang decorative items invisibly.
Hangers come in different sizes to use with different-sized items. I originally bought too small of a size–1/4 inch, which only holds an item up to four inches in diameter–so had to size up to a 3-inch disc to offer more support for my 6-7 inch ashtrays.
The manufacturer makes it clear you MUST follow the directions to the letter if you want the discs to do their job, so no short-cutting:
- Wash the item you’re hanging with dish soap and water, rinse thoroughly, and allow to dry overnight.
- The back of each cloth disc is saturated with adhesive, which must be activated carefully. With your fingers, mix a little water at a time into the glue on the disc until the entire surface is activated.
- Leave for 3-7 minutes until the glue gets tacky.
- Apply the disc to your item, making sure the hanging ring is in the correct position. Press firmly and rub well to expel any air. I used a nylon pot scrubber like a burnishing tool to help with this.
- Allow to dry overnight, and test the strength of the adhesion by pulling firmly on the ring before hanging.
If and when you want to remove the hanging disc, simply run warm water over it, or immerse in water. The disc will release, and the glue should leave no residue.
We used brass bulldog hangers to hang the ashtrays on the rug and secure them to the wall–a smaller one on the yellow ashtray so it wouldn’t show–and worked the nails between the rug fibers before hammering into place.
We couldn’t use the laser level to position the ashtrays because the rug fringe interfered with the beam, so we eyeballed it to get correct spacing.
The yellow and green ashtrays are smaller than the other two, so we had to take into account the middle point of both the rug and each ashtray individually to make the grouping look balanced.
And as I mentioned before, the yellow ashtray–which is also an odd shape, rounded but not a circle–required a smaller bulldog hanger that would not show at the top.
The actual hanging process took a LOT longer than we thought it would. (Mounting the rug onto the wood was the easy part!) But it turned out great, don’t you think?
I may keep my eye out for a few more of these ashtrays to add to this arrangement–possibly two above and two below, staggered over the spaces between these three. What do you think? Too much?
Check out our other wall arrangements…
Remember the plan for the gallery wall?
And then how when it finally came time to hang all the elements, I couldn’t find the “office” sign but added the bow-tie shadowbox instead?
Well, in changing out storage bins on the bookcase shelves, I FOUND the “office” sign!
Chris thought it was in the way sitting in the whiteboard tray, as I had it in the plan, so we hung it (with another Command picture hanging strip), below the bow ties.
Speaking of the bookcase (more on restyling it in a future post), I added some retro-styled ceramic pieces next to the map and over the light switch.
The small leaf bowls are vintage midcentury modern. The green wall sculpture is more recent but fits the mood of the room. I picked it up for $2.99 on ebay!! It has a few minor glaze flakes but is signed and dated. Back markings indicate it’s part of a larger ceramic installation, so maybe someday I’ll find the rest of it.
And speaking of whiteboards, you can see a smaller one in the letter sorter in this “before” view of Chris’ desk.
He decided on his own he wanted to spiff it up with a frame and hang it. I made the KBO print (“Keep Buggering On” – Winston Churchill) for Chris two Christmases ago, and it used to sit on a low corner table you can’t see in this photo. He decided to hang it over the whiteboard instead. He also moved the printer and generally tidied up.
I think it was that bright orange retro lamp that inspired him. It arrived from Wayfair Friday and put a whole new spin on his attitude toward the redo. I’ve since lost count of how many times he’s told me how much he loves everything I did and how enjoyable it now is to work in his new digs.
So if you’re thinking environment counts for nothing and real men don’t decorate or care about decorating their spaces, you’d be, uh, WRONG.
Check in with the checklist
I’ve actually finished and checked off more than I’ve shared with you to date. Did you pick out any of them in today’s photos? A couple of the few items left are biggies, though, and you won’t want to miss them.
If you want more…
Chris’ office still doesn’t look like the one inhabited by Mad Men‘s Don Draper (actor Jon Hamm), but we’re getting closer, so stay tuned.
- Shop & Rock Friday this week will provide the low-down on what I bought and where for this redo, tie up some loose ends styling-wise, preview yet-to-be-tackled makeovers for this room redo, and serenade readers with one of Chris and Susan’s favorite Sinatra tunes.
- Review this room’s transformation: Suit Up for Menswear Boho Chic x 12 (inspiration), For My Valentine: Mad Men Boho Chic -1, For My Valentine: Mad Men Boho Chic – 2, and Mad Men Boho Chic Home Office – 3.
- Just for the fun of it (that is, the fun of drooling over The Don!) check out Everything Don Draper has ever worn on Mad Men, season-by-season. courtesy of GQ.
- Shop my Etsy store for lots of authentic midcentury modern accents and other vintage accessories.
- Go Mad Men shopping on Amazon by clicking on the (affiliate) links below.