Saturday, February 13, 2010

How to make fabric panels

A few weekends ago, Mr. B and I packed everything up and took it to storage in an attempt to make our condo look more presentable. As a result, it looks completely empty and like no one really lives here. Since then, we've been trying to get some odds and ends to make our place look a little more stylish and lived in, but still spacious and move-in ready.

One thing we took out was our coat rack. It was a garage sale reject that my mom found curbside and it was the perfect fit for an odd little corner in the living room. I had intended to spray paint the dirty brass metal frame, but after we put some coats on it, you could barely see it anymore. Once we put it in storage, it made that little corner look crappy and uninteresting. I decided that something needed to be put on the way to draw the eye up and emphasis the high ceilings.

I picked up some stretched canvases on sale and bought a yard of some fabulous fabric that had some of the colors used in the living room. Other tools you'll need for this easy DIY project are some good fabric scissors, a staple gun, staples and an iron.

1. The first thing I did was layout the canvases and cut the fabric for each one. When cutting the fabric, you want to make sure you have enough to wrap around the edges of the canvas and staple on the back. Also make sure that the pattern is running the way you want it across the canvas.

2. You can either iron before you cut or after. I ironed the fabric after I cut. It's ok if not all of the wrinkles come out, because you'll be pulling the fabric tight across the frames.
3. Once the fabric is cut and ironed, you can start stapling the fabric to the canvas frame. Make sure the pattern is running the right way (i.e. straight, left to right etc.). I started on the long sides first. Pull the fabric tight across the frame and staple into place. With the first staple in place, make sure that you pull the rest of the fabric on the same side with equal pressure so the pattern doesn't get distorted and uneven.

4. Repeat on the opposite side, but on the second side you can pull tighter to make sure you don't have any gaps in the fabric on the front.

5. The other two edges are next. Think of this step as wrapping a present. I started by pulling the fabric from side 1 tight against the top of the frame and stapling into place so it doesn't move. I did all of them at the same time to keep the fabric tight all around.

6. The next thing you want to do is hold the very top edge of the fabric you just stapled and pull it across the top of the frame so that it lays flat against it. You are basically overlapping the fabric you just stapled to the top of the frame. Remember, you're 'wrapping a present'.

7. The last step is to pull the remaining flap of fabric up onto the frame so you can staple it. I found this step to be the most difficult to get right. Some of the edges, like this one, came out looking a little bulky close up, but up on the wall you can't really see it. You'll also see a little 'bubble' of fabric. It ended up not showing through to the edge, so that's ok too.

8. You'll want to repeat step 7 for the other edge and then repeat the entire process for as many canvases, or as much fabric as you have.

Mr. B and I were originally only going to do 3 panels, but we had extra fabric and 4 ended up looking better anyway. Since the canvases had a pretty thick frame on them, we just used a finishing nail to hang them. We ended up laying them out on the floor first to get the spacing and layout just right. Each panel is separated by 3" and centered on the wall.

What do you think? Does the wall look better before or after the panels were added?

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