How to Make Padded Wall Panels

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Decorating a new home or apartment can leave the walls bare if you are on a tight budget. Make padded wall panels to create inexpensive, large-scale art. They can be spaced like paintings, or arranged in a grid to create focal points. The inner base of the panels is foam, which provides a fair bit of soundproofing if you decide to cover an entire wall surface. Special skills and power tools are not needed for you to succeed at this project.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 1-inch-thick foam insulation board
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Fabric
  • Iron
  • Quilt batting
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Sawtooth hangers
  • Hammer
  • Determine the dimensions of your panels. If you want to cover an entire wall with panels that will butt up against each other, you need to measure the wall dimensions and divide by the number of panels needed to fill a grid pattern. Panels used as art can be any size you like.

  • Trace the dimensions of a panel on a sheet of foam insulation board using a pencil. Place a ruler along each traced line and press down firmly to prevent it from slipping. Cut along the edge of the ruler with a utility knife. Repeat the cut until you have sliced through the entire thickness of the board.

  • Iron the fabric you are using to cover the panels to remove wrinkles and creases. Lay the fabric wrong side up on your work surface.

  • Place quilt batting over the fabric. Use your hands to smooth it. Place the panel on the batting. Cut around the panel, 3 inches from each edge.

  • Fold the fabric and batting on the top edge over the foam board. Staple through the fabric at the center using a staple gun. Fold the fabric and batting on the bottom over the foam board. Staple in the center. Repeat with one staple on the remaining two sides. Beginning with one staple centered on each edge will prevent shifting and distortion of the fabric on the front of the panel.

  • Staple the remaining edges of the fabric. Fold the corners in the same way as you would when wrapping a gift, and staple them to secure.

  • Attach sawtooth hangers on the back of each panel at the top two corners.

Tips & Warnings

  • Foam insulation boards are available at home improvement stores and lumber yards.
  • Foam board panels can also be cut using jig or circular saws.
  • When using a fabric with a directional print, make sure the fabric is cut and attached to the panel in the right direction to avoid hanging prints upside down or sideways.
  • Hang panels like artwork, using the appropriate hardware or adhesive for the wall type.

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  • Photo Credit Stefanie White/Photodisc/Getty Images
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