Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Big Wall, Big Problem

I have what you might call a "problem wall" in my apartment. The first thing you should know, is that my ceilings are pretty high. I love having high ceilings because it means there is a lot of light and also that I can wedge more into my hall closets than you could ever imagine. The down side is that I am too short to change lightbulbs even with a step ladder, and also that the walls can look a little bare.

The issue with the "problem wall", which was over my kitchen table, was partly that it was tall, and partly that it has the buzzer for the door, the electrical panel, a light switch and a mysterious pipe. So, nothing normal would cover all that up. After a little thinking, this is my problem wall, now:

This is the wall before (the only before pic was from when I was apartment searching,  so there are paint supplies and things, but you can see all the obstacles).

The main issue is that the light switch is not flat, so hanging a picture was out of the question (also, I don't really use that light switch anyways because the overhead light is ugly). I initially thought I'd get a canvas and paint it, and I did get a canvas that seemed huge at the store (2x3). But once I was at home I realized that a. 2x3 was not as big as I thought, and b. that I am not a painter and no matter what I did it looked like something an 8 year old made. So, on to plan B! I decided to make a frame and stretch fabric over it.

First stop: where I also bought all the fabric for my quilt. You can see some of the things I was considering on my pinterest, which is the best thing for documenting shopping options I've ever found. The main hurdle was that this is really part of the living room, and the living room has tons of color, and a number of framed things as you can see (although the bright light from the windows makes it a little difficult to see what they are). I wanted something light and clean looking, so I tried to pick something that would coordinate with the light colors of the pillows and in the rug (not more red!).
This is what I picked- in real life it is more blue/grey then purple.
Then it was off to Home Depot where I bought 4 pieces of wood, each 48 inches long. To do this, I got  1x2's (as a side note if you are a wood buying newbie- the size it says it is won't be right. that is because you can get raw cut wood that is full of splinters and is actually 1 inches by 2 inches (or 2x4 or whatever) but when they smooth it down, obviously it gets a bit smaller). All I cared about was that the wood stuck out far enough from the wall to cover the light switch. The 1x2's were 8 feet long so I got a nice man at Home Depot to cut them for me, which he did for free. I also bought some nails that didn't look thick enough to split the wood, but did look long enough to go all the way through and into the other piece.

Then I nailed them together.

Then, I got excited so I put it up there to see how it would look. The red you can see is some tissue paper I taped together which I put up to check out spacing- as you can tell, it was a good idea because one of the main things I learned was that my initial idea about how big it needed to be was wrong. The tape is because I thought the fabric might sag, but it turned out to be a waste of both time and tape.

The first key step here was to IRON THE FABRIC and WASH THE FLOOR, otherwise it would be dirty and wrinkly, which is not what you're going for, here. Then I tried my best to line up the pattern with the edge, and went around and glue gunned the fabric. For some reason I cannot fathom, the wood did not seem exactly straight, but I soldiered on. If I had picked a less geometric pattern, I'd never have noticed, but, lesson learned. One of the benefits of this is if I get sick of the pattern, I can easily glue a new one on!

And... here it is!


Anonymous said...

I love this project- you did a terrific job! I was wondering when you glue gunned the fabric to the frame, did you put the glue on the outside edge? I was having trouble figuring out the best place to glue fabric to frame- Thank you!

LittleBull said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yellowfish said...

Good question.... I wanted the edges to look clean and neat, since you can see them. So, I glued the side that is now against the wall-- the very back, and wrapped the fabric around the side and across the front. A hard part was being sure the fabric was tight but not too tight. It also used a lot of glue! but, I think if you glued the sides, the part of it that is against the wall would look messy.


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