2 Aug 2011

Make your own textile art!

My boyfriend, (let's call him S), and I spent many months scouring flea markets and second-hand stores, looking for a large-scale piece of artwork for our dining room. We needed something to hang on a wall that was once a fireplace mantle (the previous owners filled in the fireplace, but someday I hope to bring it back!).

Because we're on a tight budget, we needed to think outside the "frame" a bit. (Frames themselves can be very costly, not to mention the piece inside it!). Should we hang something  unconventional, like a weathered old piece of wood, like that funky old piano part we found on a neighbourhood walk? Should we just clad the raised mantle area in wallpaper? Nothing seemed quite right, until...

A few weeks ago, we came across this lovely piece of crewel fabric at the flea market. It was very reasonably priced, and both S and I enjoyed the earthy tones and embroidered texture of the piece. At first I thought S would find it a little too "hippy", but he said he liked the stylized, graphic quality of the flowers.

So after measuring the dimensions of the wall and the fabric, S constructed a 42" x 42" wooden stretcher frame. From there, we used a staple gun to staple the fabric to the back of the frame. Easy stuff — anyone can do this!

The only tip I'd give you if you're going to try stretching canvas or fabric is to make sure you staple in an alternating pattern. In other words, staple in this order:

1. Top middle
2. Bottom middle
3. Left middle
4. Right middle
5. Top right-of-middle
6. Bottom left-of-middle
7. Left above-middle
8. Right below-middle
9. etc.

Hope this will make sense when you see the diagram at the end of this post. Keep alternating staple placement until the frame is complete. At the very end, you can just fold your corners neatly and staple them down a few times.

I was very happy with how it turned out! Have a look:

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