Sewing for the Home ~ Fabric Art

on September 26 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 96 Comments

We loved Jen’s first set of fabric art. Today she shares her great approach to adding a little (or big!) pop of fabric color in a room. Learn more about Jen in her intro and David and Daisy blog.

Fabric As Art

There was a great, huge expanse of nothingness in our bedroom, on the wall above the bed, and it needed to be filled. Large pieces of art can be expensive.

I thought there has to be some easy way to cover a wall with something interesting, without spending a fortune. I decided to use fabric. I chose a really bold, large print and stretched the fabric over stretcher strips. Here’s the end result– each piece is 24” x 36”.

SHFabA1.jpg

Excited? Ready to do it yourself? It was super easy … and cheap.

For this tutorial, I’m going to make 1 piece of artwork, 20” x 20” square, like this:

SHFabA2.jpg

Materials you will need:

  • 4 Stretcher strips, 20” long (prices range from $2 – $6 each), available at art supply stores, or if you live near an Ikea (and want this size) they have a set to make one full frame (4 pieces) for $5.
  • 1 yard of fabric (I used Inger from Ikea), or a remnant of fabric approximately 30” x 36”
  • Flat top push pins, approximately 30
  • A hammer (if you have problems pushing in the pins)
  • Picturing-hanging wire and screw set
Optional:

  • glue or screws to hold stretcher strips together
  • craft stapler

1. Cut the fabric into a piece approximately 30” x 36” in size. This will give you some wiggle room to decide on placement on the 20” x 20” inch frame.

2. Join the stretcher strips to form a frame. The pieces just slide into place at each of the corners. (Optional: When I’ve used stretcher strips in the past, I’ve found that they stay together, but if you are worried you can glue them or screw them together. I didn’t find this to be necessary).

Or, if you are using the Ikea frame (like I did here), attach the frame with 2 screws in each corner, using the pre-drilled holes.

3. Place the fabric on top of the frame, to get an idea of what will display. You may want to tuck the edges around to get a better idea.

4. Once you are happy with your fabric placement, carefully turn the fabric and frame over, keeping the fabric in place.

5. Starting with one side, fold the fabric over the edge of the frame, and use the push pins to pin the fabric to the frame. I pinned the middle first, then the corners, and then filled in along the rest of the edge with as many as I felt was necessary.

6. At this point, you should have the fabric secured well to one edge. Pull the fabric taut and pin to the opposite side, in the same manner as before. Check the front of the frame to make sure the fabric has not shifted. (This is why I use push pins instead of a stapler – I feel that I have greater control of the placement, and it is easier to remove the push pin to fix the fabric if it has shifted.)

7. Trim the excess fabric along the 2 pinned edges of the frame.

8. Now, pin the 2 remaining sides, making sure to pull the fabric taut and check to insure the placement is correct. Trim the excess fabric from these sides as well.

9. Fold the corners neatly, so you don’t have too much fabric bulk, and pin in place.

(Optional: Now that you have the fabric in place, use a stapler to secure it and remove the push pins. I don’t do this, but it will probably hold well for longer than the pins.)

10. Attach the small screws and picture wire to the back of the frame.

11. Admire your work!

Points to keep in mind:

  • If you are making more than one piece of art, and you are using a fabric with a distinctive repeat to the design, you will probably want to purchase additional fabric for matching.
  • Choose a large print. It looks better on the wall than a small print, and it makes a much bolder statement.
  • Have fun with pattern and color! If you grow tired of the look, all you have to do is remove the pins and switch out the fabric.
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96 Responses to Sewing for the Home ~ Fabric Art

  1. I am stunned! I just used that exact Ikea red and orange fabric for this exact project two weeks ago! I was shocked for a second when I saw the photo :) It does make for great wall art :)

  2. Cathy says:

    I love this and have used it in my bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. In my kitchen I covered my electrical panel with a 24″x36″ piece. Very economical but looks great.

  3. Jan says:

    Wow. Thats cool.
    I may need to make some!

  4. kitkabbit says:

    Just a reminder- If you are planning to keep your fabric panel for years and years, or it’s a collectible textile or something you think might become valuable— SEAL the wooden stretcher bars because unsealed wood emits acid which can many years in the future discolor your fabrics! I really enjoyed reading this tutorial, I’m about to mount some fabric as panels from Cicada Studio =) in my kitchen, and for the price I paid per yard, I’m going to make sure it can last for years!

    here is cicada studio’s website:
    http://cicadastudio.net

  5. jeanne aka nzlstar says:

    this would work great if i machine trapunto’d my ‘cant cut into that cuz its just way too pretty’ fabric. i’ve lots of those, no doubt i’ll need to do a few of these i coordinated colours and cover all the walls.
    three in a row…is that a tryptic? i think thats what its called. then again, i could just do some machine trapunto designs in plain colours too. i wonder if it would work as reversibles. have 9 or them and play with various sides showing. i have one big wall in the livingroom that needs something and this might do the trick. hmmmmmmm. lots to ‘thunk’ about on this project.
    uh oh, i’ll need to make my own frames i think, off to the lumber yard. must be somewhere online with free ‘how to make your own frame’, eh. off to find that now. :)) thanks for the inspiration.

  6. What a fabulous idea. I am wanting to do this for my home. Thanks for the “how to” and examples.

  7. Desiree says:

    This is great!! It reminds me a project that was done in my country (Cuba) many years ago in which a group of artists actually created designs for textiles. People could actually wear works of art!!

  8. Tammi says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial- I have some great fabric I’ve been wanting to do this with but didn’t know how to begin. This whole month has been great.

  9. Larissa says:

    Another easier way to do it with smaller blocks is to use canvas blocks that you can pick up easily and then just cover it. It is already square then and you just have to cut out your fabric and secure it so that the corners are neat.

  10. Holly says:

    This would be great for a kid’s room, especially as their tastes change so quickly. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Laura says:

    I have to try this–my apartment is so drab and that would really brighten things up cheaply!

  12. Erica says:

    What a great idea!!! And the tutorial is wonderful!! Thank You!

  13. georgia says:

    This is a fantastically awesome tutorial! I’m excited for my next trip to IKEA now! (and I finally have something to do with their gorgeous HUGE prints!)

  14. Lori Porten says:

    Love the idea with using push pins. Thanks for the tip!

  15. Anja says:

    This is a great idea. Thank you!

  16. Christy S says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have some fabrics that I can’t cut — they are much too pretty. Now I know what to do with them. thank you

  17. Nicole says:

    What a neat idea!

  18. Alma-Momma says:

    Crazy easy art!

  19. Bridget says:

    they look fantastic!

  20. M says:

    Wouldn’t it be great to take this to the next level with some hot glued emblishments, like fun fur yarn?

  21. Natasha Kirk says:

    Is there any way to use an old quilting hoop and make it look good as well? I Love the possibilities and how affordable this is and you can find new fabrics and change out your walls whenever you like.
    Thanks for the tutorial! Can’t wait to use it in several rooms of my house.

  22. eesh says:

    This is such a great idea! I did something similar a while back. I’ll have to make some more! I love your choice of fabric.

  23. I love this! I am totally going to try it myself! Thanks so much for the awesome tutorial!

    Lindsey

  24. Vanya says:

    That is pretty cool. I am defenately making some for my children’s rooms. Thank you

  25. Alex says:

    I have to try this. Now, if I can just find the right fabric!

  26. Teresa says:

    Thanks, this maybe just what I was looking for in my daughters room!

  27. Mari Virtanen says:

    I really love this. I’ve considered making one of those to our huge living room, it needs more colour. Thanks for the tutorial!

  28. Karla says:

    I love this idea and I am quite tempted to do seasonal ones that I can change out! Thanks for the easy to understand tutorial!

  29. Libby says:

    Love this. I have noticed this technique other places. So simple yet so stunning. Definitely keeping this in mind if I ever come across the fabric that is “right”.

  30. Marissa says:

    Thanks for the idea! I have a massive wall over the couch in our living room that I’m trying to fill. This seems like a fun and less expensive way to take care of it.

  31. Laura says:

    I love this idea! I have a similar blank wall above the bed in the guest bedroom, and I can’t think of a better way to fill it. Thank you so much for the idea and the great instructions!

  32. Rebecca says:

    Wow, I love the red fabric! The problem here for me i that i will find TONS of fabrics that would look great on the wall. BUT, lest I sound like a whiner, it seems so easy, that I could just change the fabrics out for a change of pace :) Great!

  33. Amy Hunter says:

    What a great idea, I think I’m going to have to try it!

  34. Sunny says:

    What a great idea! I am thinking a series of squares in my living room above my couch! Oh yeah, my husband is going to be thrilled! More fabric!

  35. I love making these, I made 5 about two months ago. I used the Ikea frames on 4 of them and made my own frame to fit a piece of remnant fabric that I had. I have to say the only downside is the horrible Ikea nails, staple gun was much faster and it worked great, also upholstery tacks worked wonders too.

  36. Terra says:

    This is such a fun idea! Now to pick the fabric I want to use…

  37. sandy says:

    Nice job and congrats.

  38. Beth says:

    Wow! I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the great idea!

  39. Rachel says:

    Love this post! Thank you so much for the tutorial! Now I just have to choose a fabric! :)

  40. Sara says:

    Why the heck didn’t I think of doing this? I have some fabric that I love too much to cut in to and have been trying to figure out the best way to turn it in to a hanging (scan it, photo copy, etc). I like this idea even better! Plus, I have some frame stretcher/pieces here in my craft room – what a great project.

  41. Suegene says:

    I was wondering how to do this as well, awesome tutorial!

  42. Carol says:

    Thanks for the great idea!

  43. Jeni says:

    I will be doing this! Thanks for the tips!

  44. Abbi says:

    I love this idea! I am planning to go out and find some fabric this weekend! My bedroom could definitely use some help!

  45. Jennifer N says:

    This looks so easy, and it is so waiting for me to do this to cover our blank white walls – it beats the effort of painting (and I know painting isn’t that hard – but you have to move furniture). Now, if only somebody could help me solve the cheap, dirty carpet problem so easily and frugally. Thank you.

  46. Karissa says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for the tutorial! :)

  47. Kati says:

    This is such a great idea. So easy but looks expensive!

  48. Sarah says:

    How great! I can think of a lot of other fabric-based projects this would work for, too…

  49. Lisa says:

    Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

  50. Courtney says:

    I recently moved and our walls are this awful bland brown (we can’t paint because we rent) but I can’t wait to make a large version of this with fabric that can accent the less-than-cute color. Thanks so much!

  51. Christi says:

    I love this idea. i hope to incorporate it into my daughters room!!

  52. Julie says:

    Oh wow! Those are gorgeous, what a great idea! I’m going to have to give that at try, we have a few bare walls that could use a splash of colour! Thank you!

  53. britt says:

    I am goign to have to finally go to the ikea that opened near me a zillion years ago. What a great idea!

  54. Eeva Valentine says:

    What a wonderful idea for affordable art! Can’t wait to try this one!

  55. tabitha says:

    I’ve been thinking about doing something like this in my home. I have the wall picked out, I just haven’t found the fabric I want.

  56. bethania says:

    It is a wonderful work of art: dispretensious and inspiring.
    Congratulations.

  57. amy says:

    Love this! I always say I could just look at fabric all day!!

  58. Erin says:

    So simple, yet so effective. A great way to change the look of a room for each season without spending a fortune – thanks!

  59. Tara Boos says:

    This is great as I often fall in love with the material itself and can’t bare to cut it up for quilts, I will now proudly display and decorate my home! Thanks!

  60. Janellybelly says:

    I think I might have to whip up a few of these for my new craft studio – thanks for the tutorial :)
    Janelle xx

  61. Ico says:

    So beautiful and so easy!! I think I will try to make some of them ! Thank you!

  62. Anna says:

    I think this is such a great way to lighten up any room!

  63. Teresa says:

    Ah, guess I should have read all of the comments before I searched all over Ikea for those stretcher strips. That’s all right, though, I was there to pick up other stuff anyways. I love the idea of using some of Jessica Jones’s fabric for this. I really love her new stuff.

  64. Di says:

    Neat idea! This would be a great way to showcase that fabric that is too beautiful to cut.

  65. JenO says:

    I did this in my son’s nursery…but with all the new fabric I’m finding…I need to do more!

  66. randa says:

    love it! fabric is too pretty not to do this :)

  67. katy says:

    i adore this project! what a perfect way to show off the amazing fabrics around these days. thank you thank you.

  68. Hannah says:

    Great idea! I have some awesome fabric that I ‘m too scared to chop up. I think I’ll frame it so I can look at it all day instead!

  69. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do over our bed in the master bedroom – and this is it!! I can’t wait to find that perfect fabric to do this with!!

  70. Becca says:

    This looks like something I could actually do. Now, just to find the right fabric!

  71. B says:

    I love this idea! I think it is such a great and simple way to dress-up a room.

  72. Christina says:

    What a great way to use fabric that you just can’t bear to bring scissors to! I think i’ll use a cheap canvas from Joann’s to make it even quicker.

  73. nicole says:

    Looks fun, can’t wait to try this out…I am thinking potential gift idea.

  74. Nutmeg says:

    This is such a great idea. I’ll put it on my (incredibly long) list of projects I want to do.

  75. Cassandra says:

    wow, this is pretty cool, and it looks super simple. and with a quilter for a mom, i think i’ll have absolutely no problem finding fabric to use. ;-)

  76. Estee says:

    Wow, I was just wondering how to do this today. Thank you :)

  77. Em says:

    I have actually used this exact fabric to cover the cork board that is the backing of my workstation that is part of my kitchen… it looks great :-)

  78. Joy Humphries says:

    Great idea! Thanks!

  79. erinmalia says:

    i did this with some of the modern flora fabric and i LOVE it! i used an artists’ canvas (available at michael’s with your weekly coupon) and a staple gun, but achieved the same result.

  80. looks good.

  81. UmmAdam says:

    sometimes you can find student artists paintings at garage sales (verrrrrrry cheap) and then just remove the canvas and reuse the wooden stretcher :) thrifty & green lol

  82. Love this idea! I’ve thought about framing fabric, but I like this idea much better.

  83. Debbie kelly says:

    What a great idea for fabric you don’t want to cut up ,but want to savor . thanks for the idea

  84. Tammi S. says:

    Love it!! Thanks! I wonder if I can use a stretch canvas instead of just the frame. I have some in my closet somewhere and I’m not sure where to just buy the frame ( I live in Hawaii, there is not many craft stores here). Would love for an Ikea store here. Thanks for the tuturial!!

  85. Jen says:

    Just to clarify … stretcher strips are at art supply stores. Artists create a frame size and stretch canvas over them. They are easy to put together, and that’s why I chose them for the project. You can use any wood to build a frame if you’d like … but I found those strips to be so easy to use.

    Then, at Ikea one day, I found the kit in the fabric section … so I tried that option this time around. Both worked really well …

  86. Christine Bolin says:

    Those are so pretty! What a great idea.

  87. amylouwho says:

    I’ve been wanting to do something like this but wasn’t sure how to approach it. Now I know! I can’t wait to cover up my ugly rental walls.

  88. Tina says:

    What an awesome project! This would be great over our bed. (Or really just about anywhere.) What a great way to showcase some favorite fabric too.

  89. Allie says:

    I LOVE this!!!!!

  90. Suzanne says:

    I love this idea!

  91. Emily says:

    Stretcher strips? I’ve never heard of these, but I feel a need to immediately go buy some. Thanks!

  92. Jen says:

    Thanks everyone … it really is easy! Have fun. I was debating doing something with the Anna Maria Horner prints too … they look like they would work for this type of project.

  93. Water Works says:

    Thanks for this great idea. I have a large empty space over my couch and a love for Anna Maria Horner’s prints. What a great look this will be.

  94. Amy says:

    Wow, such a cool idea! This would be a great way to display a quilt remnant, too.

  95. Kelli says:

    I have been thinking about this for above my headboard…perfect timing! Thanks for the great idea!

  96. tanja says:

    Wow! Looks like 70th artwork! Great! And so easy! Thanks for sharing!

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