How to Take Fabric & Put It Over Wood to Create a Wall Decoration

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Staple fabric to canvas stretchers to create a custom wall hanging.
Staple fabric to canvas stretchers to create a custom wall hanging. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

When it comes to snazzing up your home, textile wall hangings provide versatile decor suitable for many rooms. Artist originals and historic wall hangings can cost thousands of dollars at galleries and auctions, but you can find inexpensive fabric panels, prints or brocades at fabric stores that work just as well. Fabric and craft stores offer coupons routinely, so a smart shopper can buy the necessary supplies to create stunning wall hangings even on a budget.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 canvas stretchers in the dimensions of the finished wall hanging
  • Wood glue
  • Cloth
  • Small rubber mallet
  • Fabric, sized 2 inches larger all around than the finished wall hanging
  • Staple gun
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • D-rings
  • Screws
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Hanging wire
  • Scissors or wire cutters

Squeeze a dab of wood glue onto the tab, technically called a tenon, in the corner of one canvas stretcher bar. Squeeze another dab of glue onto the companion tenon on a second stretcher bar. Slide the two corners together until you get a tight fit. Wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth. Repeat the process for the two remaining stretcher bars, then glue and fit the final two corners to create a square. Leave the completed frame to dry overnight.

Insert one canvas stretcher key into each open slot on the inner edge of the frame, so that you end up with two keys at each corner. Tap each key gently with a rubber mallet if necessary to wedge it firmly in place.The keys strengthen the frame for long-term hanging; stretcher bars sold at hobby craft stores might not include them, however.

Position your fabric right-side down on a table. Center the frame front-side down on top of the fabric so the extra material extends evenly past the stretcher bars on all four sides.

Pull the fabric gently but tightly over the top of the frame and staple it at the center point to the back of the frame about 1 inch from the edge. Pull the fabric taut over the bottom edge of the frame and staple it about 1 inch from the edge, again at the center. Repeat the process on the two sides. Work out from the center points, spacing staples 1 to 2 inches apart all the way around the frame. Keep smoothing the fabric and pulling it taut as you move around the frame.

Tuck the excess fabric neatly under itself at the corners. Fold the fabric down, forming a diagonal tuck, and pull it taut, being careful not to tear it. Staple it down.

Measure one-third of the way down the stretcher bar edge on each side and mark the spot with a pencil. Attach a D-ring to each side of the canvas frame with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Cut a piece of hanging wire about 6 to 8 inches longer than the width of the frame to provide "give" on each side. Insert the wire into the D-ring on each side, taking up most but not all of the slack; check the tension by lifting the wire about 2 inches at the center of the frame with a finger. Knot it tightly on both sides. Wrap the excess wire around itself on each side, rather than cutting it off.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can buy canvas stretcher bars at craft and art-supply stores.
  • Lightweight fabrics such as cottons, linens and thin brocades work best for this project.

References

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