Weekend Project: Framed Fabric

By April (Bolt Employee and all-round great person). 

Here's a cheap and easy way of making a little fabric go a long way.  Here at Bolt, we regularly switch out the fabric we have on the wall by re-stretching new pieces.  Do you have a
piece of fabric you have been holding onto for years that you are too
afraid to cut into? Or maybe your fabric is just a scrap that you saved
from a project that gives you inspiration-- get it on the wall!



  • Frames (varying sizes)-- If you are making your own frame you might want to have a right angle
    on hand to make sure that your frame is square before you put the
    fabric on it (at most any art supply
    store you can customize the size you want by buying different lengths
    for the four sides sides).  This method can be useful if you are
    stretching a
    piece of fabric that may need a custom size frame.  You might try the
    traditional art store "stretch a canvas" frame, or repurpose any wooden
    frame, just so long as it is able
    to withstand the depth of staples you choose.  Sources for great frames in the neighborhood:  Collage, Artery (Frame shop on Vancouver Ave.), SCRAP, or your favorite thrift store. 

  • Fabric-- If
    you choose to do series of wall hangings think about color and scale of
    your grouping. Get started with a favorite fabric, color, or theme and
    build off of that.   I chose this piece for it's color and theme plus
    I needed something to show off my new bed spread (I just finished
    sewing it at Modern Domestic last weekend!).

  • Staple gun and extra staples

  • Hammer

  • Optional: flat head screwdriver or pair of pliers for taking out misplaced staples

Iron your fabric(
if you don't have an iron spray the fabric down with water and let it
dry flat)!  This is crucial, there is nothing worse than going through
the process only to stare at a crease on your fabric on the wall as it is not easy to iron once it is on the frame. I use
starch on my fabric to help it keep it's body.

Cut your fabric to size by giving yourself enough space to
fold your fabric over at least once along each side.  If your
frame has a wider depth, make sure to compensate with extra fabric when
measuring for that depth.  The example here is a 1/2'' frame, I gave
myself at least  2" on all sides.

The first four staples are the most important.  You want to staple
the center on all four sides first, alternating to opposing sides each
time, pull the fabric between each staple but not so much that it will
warp the design on your fabric.

Now the rest will fall into place.  Start about 1.5'' from your center
staple and lay in the next one.  Rotate your frame to the opposite side
and staple again, rotate staple, rotate staple.  For  every staple on
the frame there should be one on the opposite side in roughly the same
spot.  The idea is to keep the fabric evenly stretched across the frame.

Once you have reached the corners make an effort to keep your
folded over fabric neat and taught, lay in a staple close to each
corner.  You will be left with the wings of fabric that can be awkward to
deal with, so just fold your fabric over the corner and secure it a few
times on the back, it is OK if you are stapling over other staples.

You may want to decide which way the folds go according to the
print on your fabric.  If the fabric has a direction to it, choose the
bottom and top for the fold over, or fold all the fabric over onto the
sides.  Feel free to trim the wings of fabric on the back once you are
done stapling your corners. 

Finally, take your hammer and hammer in all the staples that may
not of traveled deep enough in the wood.  This last step will help the
frame hang flush with the wall. 

You're done!