Don’t have millions to spend on wonderful art to decorate your home with? Meet the modern tapestry. You can fill your walls with color, or patterns, or a country scene from the 1800s all without damaging walls that you may be renting. All you need it fabric, and liquid starch. And some elbow grease.
This idea sprang on me after watching the show Sherlock. In this particular embodiment of our Modern Sherlock, Watson & Sherlock live together in their Baker street apartment, and they have this gorgeous accent wall. It looks like this.
Sexy right? Sherlock is good looking too and Watson, adorable as always, but that wall is to die for right? Maybe not the smiley…Okay I may be alone in this. However, I thought I could make my own accent wall. Mind you there are so many different ways to do this, paint, stenciling, or wallpaper. I rent an apartment however, and I wasn’t going to be allowed to use black paint, or anything that permanent. So my solution: Fabric accent wall.
For those of you that aren’t as insane or ambitious as I am (you are ambitious already if you just want to put fabric on your wall), you can go to any local fabric store and select the fabric you so desire to live with you. Measure your wall so that you buy enough fabric of course, but if you are poor like me, you might want to do a half-wall. When measuring your fabric you will probably want to buy 3 or 4 inches larger than your wall size.
I went out and bought a nice minty blue-green fabric with the intention of putting my own design on it.
For my damask/Victorian pattern I designed what I wanted, and bought a sheet of stencil material.
It’s thin plastic that you can cut yourself with a stencil cutting tool or something really really hot and pointy. You could also use an x-acto knife, hack saw, butcher’s knife, or finger nail clippers. I cannot guarantee any desirable results from those tools.
So next I traced my design onto the sheet and cut it out. Then the danger began as I free-handed placement of my stencil and sponged the black paint onto the fabric. I used black acrylic paint, mixed with textile medium. You can find this in the paint section of Michael’s or Jo Anns. The “Fabric Tex” helps bind the paint to the fabric better. This won’t be too detrimental to your project if you don’t have it. The textile medium helps more with T-shirt painting so that you can wash your shirts and not risk the paint washing away right off the bat.
So the tedious painting and destruction of a sponge commences!
I recommend having wax paper underneath your fabric so that whatever you are painting on doesn’t look like your wall. If you are not painting your fabric like me you won’t have this issue at all! You get to skip all those steps.
Once your fabric is dry, you can go straight to starching your wall, or you can be like me and paint more shiny things on it. Gold paint is what I have put into question. I chose to be a little uneven with my sponge painting so there is an irregular consistency of the stencil that I like, therefore I chose random parts of my pattern to add gold accents to. My little twist to it. I can’t have someone else’s art in the bedroom now can I (as I look to the left of my bedroom where Gustav Klimt posters hang).
And on we go! What I suggest is that for such a big piece of fabric have someone help you. I enslaved my dear sister. First I wetted the wall with my liquid starch. Don’t dilute the starch and you can find it at some stores like Fred Meyer, or… WalMart. You can use a spray starch but I assume that takes more time and I can’t tell you how to do it!
So wet the wall along the top edge of your wall, and then lay your fabric on top (with help from your assistant and some step-stools) then add more to the top of your fabric so that it is wet. I used a kitchen sponge to apply all the starch. Once you have your wet fabric on the wall I used a spackle knife to smooth out air bubbles in the fabric. You could also use an architect ruler, or a binder, or a butcher’s knife. I cannot guarantee any desirable results from those tools.
Once your fabric has been applied, let it dry and then trim any extra edges off. If you have a half wall like me you can go to home depot to get some wood trim/molding and paint more gold on it! Then nail it to the edge of your fabric. And VOILA! Pretty, pretty wall. You will want to touch it a lot. Feel free to do so. My accent wall brings all the boys to the yard. Okay maybe not. But from fandom to imagination,
to a -starch- reality, here is the lovely wall.
"Oh wall! Full often hast my cherry lips kissed thy sweet threads!"
Thanks Sherlock. I can think more clearly when I stare blankly into this beauty and clasp my hands together under my chin.
For when you end up hating it, want a different fabric, or are moving: Just soak the fabric off the wall with water! You might want to wash the wall with some dawn or something afterwards, but its as simple as that!