How to make fabric panel wall art | How About Orange

October 26, 2007

How to make fabric panel wall art

Here's how to make a giant piece of wall art for your room.

Choose some fabric with a large-scale pattern. Go to your local art supply store and buy 4 lengths of wood frame made for stretching canvas. The wood strips have corners designed to interlock. (Or you can cover an existing blank stretched canvas, but it will get pricey if you go very big.)

At my local art store the wood strips were standing in bins, available in lengths all the way from super short to too long to manage. I bought 2 each of 50" and 34." Each piece was just a couple bucks. Push the corners together, pounding them with a hammer if needed. Cut your fabric to a size somewhat larger than your frame; you'll need enough to wrap around to the back. Iron the fabric; wrinkles will show!

Position your fabric the way you like it and use a staple gun to tack it down. I stapled along a long edge, then did the opposite side, pulling it very tight. Next do the short sides, one at a time. Trim off any extra fabric that hangs past the inner edges of the frame. To finish the corners, tuck in the extra fabric as if you're wrapping a present and then staple it down. It doesn't matter how you do it as long as it looks tidy from the front. The art store gave me a wooden tool to help with this, but it's not essential. Attach a picture hanger (or maybe two if your panel is large) and hang.

This fabric is Pernilla from Ikea, now discontinued.

125 comments:

flanthrower said...

Oh wow! So cool! Thanks for the tutorial. I'll definitely have to try that one out soon!

caroline said...

so smart to use the wood frame. i made some for my little boys room but i used an actual canvas under. probably a lot cheaper to do it with the frame and it probably is a lot smoother. great job!

Brad & Kath said...

A.) Love the room. Reminds me of the Bleakley's guest room, with the dark color. So cozy and sleep-in-able.

B.) Just put the three columns on my new budding blog prettygoodsshop.com . Thanks again for the tutorials tips!

Marie said...

Oooo, that looks too easy. What a great way to decorate. I need to find something like that for my kids playroom. Thanks for the great idea.

Sarah said...

What an awesome, cheap idea! I have a huge red wall that is absolutely blank, and now I know what to do for it. Now to find some cool fabric. :)

sunny said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

I have vaulted ceilings and blank walls.... thus need four different large fabric panels for wall art. I never knew how to do it. thanks for the clear tutorial!

Jess said...

A grouping of panels of coordinating fabrics would look great! And the best part is they're really light and easy to hang.

Darci said...

so very cool. I am doing this over my mantle surrounded by small mirrors...but I do like the 4 panel idea.

InnaC said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial!
Sounds easy enough to make.

love.boxes said...

Very cool!

s'mee said...

Your whole blog is awesome! I have added you to my blog roll. Thanks!

Jessica said...

thanks for sharing this interesting idea! i am always looking for home tips.

Myrannda said...

Thank you! I have vaulted ceilings in my living room, and something like this would be wonderful! Also, I adore that room. The dark color is beautiful, and the tree is amazing.

Rebecca said...

That is such a great idea! And easy enough for me to do. I'm getting all kinds of ideas for decorating. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Jayne said...

What a great way to co-ordinate a room. Thanks for sharing.

SalGal said...

This is just fantastic! Thank you SOOOOO much for this idea/instructions!

ben and natalie said...

What a cute blog, thanks for all of the fun ideas!

Lucky Designs said...

I love your guest room. My mom and I have been doing this for years. It is so nice to be able to change the decor in a room so easily.

Mymsie said...

Thanks for the tute!

P.S. Have you seen Wee Wonderfuls' post about orange?

Affinity said...

wow. i love what you did to the room!
i did a fabric frame for my home and i used 1 x 1 inch thick wood strips as the frame. very cheap but more work :(

Joanna Butchart said...

wow what a fab tutorial

Laurie said...

Great idea and complete fabulous!

Becki Becki Bo Becki said...

I sincerely appreciate your smart, easy, and gorgeous tutorials. I've always wanted Marimekko in my house, but could never afford it. I've talked about opting for the more affordable alternative: hanging great fabric. Now I'll try!

Jess said...

Mymsie, that Wee Wonderfuls post is so cute!

TrashyDivaLiving said...

I love your wall art. I did something very similar a few months back. I didn't know about the canvas stretchers at art stores, so I just used some cheap lumber from Home Depot and a staple gun. You can check out mine at http://www.trashydivaliving.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=52&Itemid=41

laissezfaire said...

have been wanting to do something like this. Thanks for the clearly written instructions!

Anonymous said...

what a great idea!

I saw your link on CRAFTzine.

amandajean
crazymomquilts.blogspot.com

Jess said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Joanna said...

Jess,

I've been a huge fan of your blog for several months now. I loved this idea. I hope you don't mind, I posted a shout-out to it on my blog, www.eighthst.com.

Great work!

wren said...

Excellent! Thanks for posting this.

Lemonsweet said...

I am a Huge fan of your site and love your great tutorials! Thanks for this one because this is Exactly what I have been wanting to do for my living room! You rule!

jen said...

thanks for the idea! i've got this BIG burgundy living room that just feel so dark .i need to lighten it up somehow, and now i'm thinking of putting some green fabric up... do you happen to have more photos of your living room?

Kate said...

My walls will soon be thanking you for the how-to and inspiration! Google pointed me toward your blog when I typed in "easy to make wall art"

Jess said...

That was helpful of Google. :) Good luck with your project!

Floaty Toes said...

This is great! I am going to do this for sure!

Farmers' Friend said...

Jess, could you share the name/source of the fabric you used in this project? You and your blog are such an inspiration!

Jess said...

I've updated the post to include the link to the fabric.

faizis said...

i got here thru google too! yes, ikea has pretty cool fabrics for wall art..just wasnt sure how to do it..then i got here!

thanks so much for this post :)

Blogging Molly said...

I used to love watching design shows when I was a kid, and one of the first design ideas I remember gleaning was a fabric wall panel like the one you made, only this was back in the eighties, and the fabric they used was a splatter print in shades of mauve, aqua, gold and black. I have finally lived long enough to see the twenty year cycle of trends. I jus bought three stretcher bar frames at the thrift store the other day with a similar project in mind. Thank you too for the blogger template tutorials - I can't wait to convert to three columns!

Kelly McCants said...

Thanks so much I just had a great idea and went over to google to see if anyone had a tutorial and here you are!!!!

I have linked to your wonderful post, come buy and check it out!

ModernJUNE.blogspot.com

Many crafty thanks! Kelly

Anonymous said...

very cute! I love this stuff!

Check this product out! Great interior decorating art!

www.letterperspectives.com

rocyn said...

I bought my fabric to try this today and looking at the strings where it was cut, I wonder if I should be doing something to make sure it doesn't eventually fray? Maybe that would never happen where the fabric is stapled behind the frame, but I wasn't sure. Thoughts?

Jess said...

I wouldn't worry about it, since it never gets touched once it's on your wall. Unless you're going to take it down and play with it a lot, I think it should be fine. If you have a pinking shears (one of those zigzag-edged scissors), you could trim the edges with that to keep the fraying to a minimum, but I don't think you'll even need to do that.

rocyn said...

UGH. It would seem I chose the wrong fabric. First, it has a bit of stretch to it. Second, it has vertical lines. Third, it has colour blocks.

I cannot get it stretched evenly over the frame so that the verticals and horizontals are square. Any ideas to save this project?

rocyn said...

D'oh, a link might be nice:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y170/rocyn/crookedcanvas.jpg

Jess said...

Rocyn, I guess I would check first to make sure your wood frame has squared-up corners that meet at 90 degree angles. Test with a T-square or compare to the corner of a book or picture frame or something. If it's not square, pry out your staples (letter opener or flathead screwdriver should do it), take off the fabric, and square up the frame. If that's not the problem, try undoing your fabric and realigning it. I'm guessing you'll be able to see the repeat on the underside of the fabric, right? Make sure your frame is parallel to all straight lines in your print. When stapling down the fabric, make sure you tug with consistent force when you stretch it and staple it down. Try putting the staples closer together, perhaps, as you go along. If it's still crooked, take out the staples and try again. That's all I can think of for tips!

canadasue said...

brilliant blog and wonderful website!
I think I'll try doing this with my next quilting project...

Fabric Panel Attempt said...

Thanks for the idea. I made some fabric wall panels for my bedroom. I did 8 total panels (4 x 2 rectangle) and posted the results on my site.

I wish I would have stapled the corners the same way as you, some of mine were a pain to get right.

http://areallygoodname.com/2008/02/26/fabric-panel-wall-art-weekend-project/

natalie said...

very cool! i've been trying to figure out what to do with our bare white walls! your site is way super cool! :) i just discovered it and find myself coming back everyday!

Wooden Batik of java said...

hi Jess, its me Rizka again, from Jogja Indonesia. Wow, your blog is now a must see for me..yours and all the links are inspiring! by the way, i wondering whether you only use the fabric or are open to any type of fabric? i am finished uploading photos of the Batik Textile in my blog http://www.woodbatikofjava.blogspot.com
these are special textile, because the design drawing, the wax covering, the dyeing and wax removing are doing manually. altough we also have printed Batik textile. Some of the dye are also natural dye, from certain plants and fruits.
wanna have some? the price is affordable and reasonable, for a basic quality textile of 2 meters, its starting from 50 000 Indonesia Rupiah or equivalen to 5 US Dollar !
mmm, dreaming to see one ( or some ) of your project using these Batik Textile ...smile.. thanks and keep the good work girl

tru said...

Great idea... I'm thinking free/recycled frames and attaching the fabric to the back. I was wondering what to do with those frames. ;)

Joan said...

I made all my wall hangings with styrofoam panels. You can find large pieces at the hardware store in different lengths and widths.. and cut them to fit the size you need. Then I just lay the fabric over them and staple it down in the back. It's economical, very light, and it holds it shape beautifully.

Jess said...

Good tip!

Mary Kelly said...

oh I like that idea. Ikea just opened up in our city too and I've been looking for a way to use some of that fabric. It's so flippin cool.

great idea

Tina said...

I'm planning on hanging up my favorite fabric. I wasn't sure if I should use some sort of sealer to protect the fabric. What would you recommend?

Jess said...

You wouldn't need to, but if you want to protect it with something, brush on acrylic gel medium (available at any art store). It comes in matte or gloss and dries clear.

soju designs said...

Thanks for the how-to...I just did a Google search for putting fabric on a wood frame and your blog was one of the results. So glad to come upon it. Found the same wood frame supports at my local art supply store in New Haven and then headed over to Ikea for some fun fabrics. Looking forward to adding some much needed art to the home. Glad I found you!

Jess said...

Cool.

workingirl said...

i just stumbled upon your blog and totally LOVE it - such a great idea. and i love that you used ikea fabric :)

Christina Shaver said...

What a fabulous idea! Thank you.

Michele said...

I did this with an ikea print! I actually think I might make a few more of these, for my apartment.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3190/2743008750_3f4e5be6e0.jpg

Jess said...

Looks great!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess - LOVE what you've done and the tutorial seems very easy to follow. One question - we don't have an Ikea anywhere close to where I live (DARN IT!) but I have found some other great fabrics locally. My question is, do you think a thicker upholstry type fabric will work, or do you recommend a thinner cotton instead? Thanks!

Jess said...

Upholstery fabric will be fine. Probably better than thin cotton, actually. Have fun!

Christina said...

I finally make one! We don't have a headboard so I used to it spruce up the area behind my bed.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3181/2931718849_8419da7e52_b.jpg

I made a matching pillow case to tie in the fabric :D

Jess said...

Christina, that's lovely!!! Thanks so much for showing us.

Maria said...

I just made two 2' x 2' panels to use in lieu of a headboard and it turned out pretty great! I just had some issues tucking in the corners and I could probably use some heavier duty brackets to keep this straight on my wall, but overall this worked out really well! Easy and not too expensive.

Rhiannon said...

I've come late to this post but its been bookmarked as I've wanted to know how to do this for ages and you make it look like something i could actually do!

mary straton said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I have some fabric I've been wanting to hang for ages, but I was afraid I'd have to have someone build a frame for me. I can do this!

Brad and Ali said...

Could you suggest a online fabric store that carries fabrics like this one. I am having the most difficult time finding anything like this in my store in my city.

Jess said...

I'm not sure... you could browse through the online stores in the fabric shops section at the bottom of the sidebar on the right. If I ever come across something, I'll let you know.

Anonymous said...

I seem to be a late comer to this sort of art and I think it is really neat. One question I am asking though is do you have to treat the fabric with anything say for dust. As this is what I am worried about I just want to make sure I have covered all angles before starting my project it's a pressie for my hubby so I really don't want to find I should haves after. Can anyone advise please?

Jess said...

I didn't treat my fabric with anything, but you could brush it with some acrylic gel medium (choose from matte or gloss), and probably thinned with water, which will give it a sealed surface. I've brushed it onto stretched fabric before, and it works well. There might be some kind of acrylic spray you could use, too. I'd ask at an art store or hardware store.

rads said...

Hi Jess,

First off i love your site! I am planning to make a bunch of these panels for my white apartment walls.
I got some spray-on varnish for acrylics and oil paints to coat them so they are easier to clean over time. Or should i buy acrylic gel medium as your previous suggestion?

-Radiya

Jess said...

Thanks, Radiya. Uh, I don't know. I'd say test the spray stuff on some scrap fabric first and see if it works. Make sure it dries clear and doesn't discolor the fabric. (Of course, some discoloration might happen slowly over time, which you can't really test very easily!) My personal feeling is, if in doubt, try it out. What the heck. Plus, spraying on some sealer will be a lot easier than brushing on gel medium.

rads said...

Hey Jess,
Yes ..I am new to you and your site .. stumbled upon it and have been trying to devour it since then. This would be my first project here. so wish me luck :)

Anonymous said...

wow that such a smart idea to share with everyone,i'll definitely try it thanks

The Pitter Patter Boutique said...

Hey Jess!

I can't find the interlocking wood frame anywhere! I live in Southern California and I've tried Joann's, Michael's and Home Depot. Can you offer any suggestions? Where did you find yours?

Thank you!

Jess said...

A Dick Blick art store (now called just Blick, I believe.) You need to be looking at art supply stores, like for fine artists, not hardware or crafts.

rads said...

Hi Pitter Patter Boutique,

I live in SoCal and these interlocking frames are available in Michaels B&M (Art / paint, canvas section). Joann sells them online only but they charge shipping. You can avoid shipping by buying these from joann through amazon.

HTH
-Radiya

Lynder said...

Hi There,

Just a question regarding lifespan for these fabric panels. You made this one over a year ago - has the material become loose at all? Has anything degenerated in it and what can we do to avoid it going like that? Also - how do you clean it? Thanks a million for the tutorial - it's incredibly helpful!

Cheers,


Lynda (Ireland)

Jess said...

No, it hasn't loosened as far as I can tell. I just dust the top edge with a fluffy Swiffer duster.

drjenna said...

I made 3 of these and used thumbtacks instead of staples to fasten the fabric to the frame. This is a great option if you don't have a wood stapler - mine turned out fabulous!

Anonymous said...

This idea is just wonderful.. I am buying a new home and was considering making my own large canvas paintings. Only prob was I have never painted anyhting for my walls.. This idea will let me choose kitche' fabric and rock out my new space.. ( My kids will love this for their rooms too!!)

Pamela said...

What an awesome, interesting idea and a great way to co-ordinate a room. I would definitely got some nice decor stuffs at home depot

paulien said...

Very useful tutorial! I bought some lovely african printed fabric which I want to hang up on the wall; will definitely look for the wooden frames at an art shop. Great tips on this site!

SarahinSalem said...

Had trouble finding a wood frame, so I just bought a cheap poster board at Walmart for $10 and then taped the fabric to it. Looks great!

Mooch Designs said...

This is my very first blog! I developed an online fabric wall art and cushion business a few years ago for the less crafty people without the time or inclination to make their own wall art. We also sell fabric and I would be happy to pass on any hints and tips. The website is: www.moochdesigns.com.au

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the idea. I have this huge wall in my dining room and have no idea what to hang....getting a large print would be way to expensive, so this idea is not only very creative but super cheap (my hubby will be happy about that). Now, just have to look for fabric that will go with the room.

Anonymous said...

amazing!!!! thank you so much!!!

J said...

I just did this project with two cheap canvases from Michaels ($6 - originally $10 for a 2-pack of 16 x 20 but I used a 40% off coupon) and some fabric from Ikea. Covering the canvases with the fabric worked great! Thanks for such a fun idea.

Anonymous said...

I just made it, very inexpensive! only about 10$ for a small one. It looks great! :) thanks so much! Two thumbs up for sure!

baluoct27 said...

Thanks... for sharing. Nice post, good information. keep posting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great blog information!I'm finding this whole blogging world a great resource for any topic, and really inspirational.

kate said...

I love orange too! It's the best of red and yellow, all in one package! Go ORANGE!
wall art

grubbygirls said...

Just did it! It cost $12 total...so I'm in love. Check out the link below for pics and a how-to. So easy a college student could do it!

http://grubbygirls.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/how-to-fabric-panel-wall-art/

Also, if you are looking to add some oomph to a room without straining your skill set or your wallet, check out the link below for a look at three things you didn’t know you could wallpaper…

http://grubbygirls.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/i-know-its-called-wall-paper-but-ima-put-it-on-my-fan/

Tricia said...

I just linked my blog to yours. Thanks for your genius ideas.

Tricia leafytreetopspot.blogspot.com

http://leafytreetopspot.blogspot.com/2010/06/five-pretty-ways-todecorate-with-fabric.html

jacqui said...

what a fabulous idea. I was going to ask for the time involved, difficulty level, and cost, but I've gotten a good idea from all 97 comments before me!

If you don't mind, I'm going to post a link to my blog (http://site.timelesscountrydecor.com/blog/). It'll be up sometime next week.

-Jacqui

ps. definitely added you to my RSS feed!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog and tutorial in a google search for "fabric art varnish." I've had a framed piece of upholstery faric in by bedroom since 1988, and it's still my favorite art in the house. Now I'm making quilt squares for framing and wondering if they need a protective topcoat. I'll try your suggestion of acrylic gel. Sounds workable. Thanks for the tutoral.

contemporary metal wall art said...

A bit of excitement that I feel because I can wait to see the masterpiece that I made.I read once your site and get interested to do also a fabric wall art using the old fabric sheet that are been stock to my grandmother cabinet.Hope that it will look fabulous as like your work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I'm thinking about doing this to make a tall headboard by using 6 squares and hanging it on the wall.

The Hainsworths said...

super radical, i had the idea just needed you to tell me it was a good one, thanks!

Anonymous said...

i am thinking of using this fantastic idea for covering the sides of my container store metal shelves. they used to be in my closet but now have to be exposed due to smaller living space; and i absolutely hate looking at my clothes in those bins. covering the sides will minimize this and add a great look to my new apartment. well, thats what i am thinking anyways! the only caveat is now to attach magnets to the back of my would be canvas....

Jude said...

Awesome post! Thank you for sharing this tutorial.

sarah said...

I sincerely appreciate your smart, easy, and gorgeous tutorials. I've always wanted Marimekko in my house, but could never afford it. I've talked about opting for the more affordable alternative: hanging great fabric. Now I'll try and should I find joann fabrics coupons :) thanks

jelly said...

Thank you for the tutorial. Now I have Marimekko on the wall, and I'm a pro with a staple gun. Yay!

Khadijah Lemle said...

Thank you for this tutorial! I'm going to try this one at home. I want to redesign my room and I think a fabric panel wall art is a good addition.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I have been trying to figure out how to do. Thanks a million..

Robj98168 said...

Just a suggestion... scour the thrift stores for psintings on canvass, remove the painting and you have a frame for your fabric!

Jamison said...

I do this all the time for my customers who want my art stretched, its really easy

Lyndee said...

I'm thinking about doing this will vintage flour sack towels. Any suggestions?

Diane said...

Funny, I just converted a very large, rather loud and unappealing painting into a lovely piece of art with my most favorite cotton sheet. I have had this sheet in my closet for 15 years, pulled it out, admired it and put it back. I got the idea last year to make art with it but just got to it. I was searching how to seal the fabric to protect it from soil and dust when I found your site. I'll be sticking around. Acrylic gel medium, eh? I'll test on a scrap piece first, but was wondering about clear acrylic spray paint?

Jess said...

Yeah, try it! I have some Krylon Satin Finish for artwork and crafts that I've been meaning to test, but haven't gotten around to it.

Maggie said...

Thanks for the tips! I am going to keep my eye out for the DIY frames to save some money and also for big print materials. Can’t wait to give this a try!

Mayalynnrin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow that was like clicking on one of my own photos! I did the exact same thing with that same fabric from IKEA! good minds think alike!

Jamie said...

I LOVE this wall art! I hope it's okay, I featured it in a round-up on my blog today.. You an see it here:

http://frugal-home-design.blogspot.com/2012/06/decorating-with-fabrics.html

Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of work!

miller andrea said...

This large scaled fabric canvas is looking very attractive, you did an admirable work, thanks for sharing this fabric panel wall art. I just want to say thanks for sharing this great post.

Lori Ranger-Gonzales said...

Hi I covered a blank canvas with IKEA fabric, but not sure how to attach L-Brackets to the back of the frame and then to the wall. Do you have any how to's on this? Any help would be appreciated.

Jessica Jones said...

Lori,

I just used a couple sawtooth picture hangers on the back of mine; no L brackets. I used a hammer and little nails to attach a hanger in the top left and top right corner, then hung the frame on two corresponding little nails in the wall. If your frame is smallish, you'll only need one sawtooth hanger in the center at the top.

lauren@bluepromocode said...

Great idea, love the photos. I especially like the look of the black and white print against that dark red accent wall - they look great together.

Anonymous said...

I have just done some screen printeing on to fabric and stretched it over a wooden frame. Do you know how I can protect it from dust/dirt. Are there any sprays?......

Jessica Jones said...

I haven't tried these, but a clear acrylic spray might do the trick. You could test on a fabric scrap:

Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic
I think I've seen it at Michael's or I'm sure you can get it online.

Aleene's Spray Acrylic Sealer in Matte or Gloss
Amazon has it.

springcolours said...

this is awesome, thanks for share.

Amanda Smith said...

I have a similar problem in my bathroom and was searching for a solution. This is a great idea!! Thank You.

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