How to create a scroll wall hanging

divisions 4

This post explains how to create a fabric wall hanging in the style of a Chinese or Japanese scroll. I’ve been very influenced by traditional Japanese culture over the years including learning the language for roughly a decade. This is the inspiration behind the method.

Materials and tools
Backing Fabric – buy more than you think you will need.
A finished piece of textile art or art on paper
Thread in two colours, one to match the backing, one to match the art.
Tailors chalk
A tape measure
A round dowel – larger than the square dowel
A square dowel
A rip saw
A file
A pencil
3.5 mm nylon cord, chosen because it won’t stretch after hanging
1 mm artistic wire sold by bead shops (optional)
pliers (optional)
flat nosed pliers (optional)
A sewing machine

1. Wash the backing fabric to remove sizing or starch, dry, and iron the fabric. If you need to put the project aside for a day or more, iron it again.

scroll diagram

2.  Place your art on the backing fabric. The space at the top should be twice the space at the bottom. The shorter the piece of art the narrower the vertical edges should be when finished.

scroll detail 1

3.  Mark the top edge with chalk. I’ve used a photo manipulation program to make my chalk line clearer.

scroll detail 2

4. Wrap your fabric around the circular dowel and mark alongside the fabric edge.


scroll detail 35. Starting from the mark you just made, repeat with the square dowel.

scroll detail 46. Measure the total from the bottom of the marks. Draw a new line at the top at that distance from the first. Move your art up by the same distance so you can see how the process works.

scroll detail 57. Now is the time to decide on how wide you want the borders and don’t forget to add hem allowance.  Cut your backing fabric out.

8. Take the backing fabric and overlock or zig zag over the edges. (And I’m sure you don’t need a pic of that!)

9. Measure the bottom of the fabric and add two cm. Mark this on each dowel in pencil.

dowel10. Place the dowel so that the longer end relative to your mark is on the table. Face the table so the rip saw is in your dominant hand and the dowel is being held down to the table with the other. Rotate the dowel as you go to minimise the wood under the saw at any given point. When the short end is about to fall place something under one end of a similar height to the table for a cleaner cut.

11. Repeat on the other dowel before filing back any rough edges.

scroll detail 6

12. Working on the back: Pin and hem the vertical seams.  If you are using wire, it needs to be added when you pin the hem. Straighten the wire with your hands or flat nose pliers. Leave extra wire at both ends for later.

13. Measure the horizontal seams by wrapping fabric around one dowel at each end. Pin in place, remove the dowel and sew. When complete insert the dowel back in.

winding wire14. If using wire, wrap the four loose ends around the dowels.

scroll detail 715. Mark on the back where the art is to go on the front. This gives you space to embroider on the back. Mark all sides or you might make a mistake like this one:

scroll mistake


16. Turn your backing fabric over and pin your artwork into place. Change colour thread on the machine and sew the artwork down.

scroll detail 917. Cut a piece of nylon as long as your dowel. Wrap the nylon around the dowel and knot into place.

divisions 418. Ta Da! All finished.



Price $400. Contact Anita Morris to buy.

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All content © Copyright 2016 by Anita Morris.
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