The tapa cloth tale
This colorful magic on my ceiling is called tapa cloth, or mulberry cloth. It is made from the bark of mulberry trees and dyed with its berries. It’s a rare piece, probably something very special to the family that made it, and I (miraculously) found it while treasure hunting on the Goodwill website. (I put this cloth on the ceiling about 9 months ago but I didn’t have a blog then and now I do.)
What is tapa cloth?
When I bought this online, it was labeled as “rug”, it was in the “art” category, and it looked super small in the picture. I remember looking at the dimensions and thinking it was definitely a typo. (193” by 168”) But I bid anyway, won it, and when the huge box arrived I did a happy dance.
Then the box sat in my shed for like 6 months.
Until, creativity suddenly struck. I was 7 months pregnant in a loopy mood and decided to drape the giant thing on the ceiling of our guest bedroom. IT WAS NOT EASY.
It’s not like wallpaper; it was one giant heavy cloth, and I didn’t want to cut it into sections and possibly ruin the peice. So I decided to roll it up and attach it to the ceiling as if I were rolling out a rug, except upside down. I attached the corners and edges with a staple gun and used spray adhesive on the ceiling. I uninstalled the chandelier, cut a small slit, and reinstalled the chandelier right over the tapa cloth.
My pregnant arms were sore, but it only took about 1.5 hours and I was done!
The finished project did not look like a wallpapered ceiling. The tapa cloth itself had flaws, the hand-dyed pattern was not straight, and my ceiling was definitely not straight. But the end result was breathtaking all the same. I used to lay in that room and drink in all the beauty and variations of the cloth. It was like having a piece of art on the ceiling!
We have recently moved from this house and the buyers wanted to keep the tapa cloth, though I considered removing it and taking it with me. It makes me happy that it lives on with a new family in all its glory.
If anyone sees another giant tapa cloth for sale in the wild, please let me know!
Until next time friends,