Ever since buying my first house, I have been drawn to big artwork. I have a lot of open wall space in this house, and no consequences for putting holes in the walls. But I also have a tight budget and can’t bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars on art work, even if it’s truly amazing.
Over the weekend I remembered seeing a few pins on Pinterest about framing fabric, and felt inspired. I went to Joann’s and searched around in their fabric aisles for awhile until I found what I really liked. At first, I was going to frame fabric for my staircase and guest room as well, but considering how long it took me to find what I liked for my bedroom, I didn’t feel like committing to another hour of finding fabric to decorate the rest of the house!
FYI, affiliate links are used in this post. What that means is that if you click on some of the links and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support helps me run this blog, promote posts, and pay off my student loans. Thanks!
Pick Out Your Fabric
In the end, I chose Keepsake Calico Metallic Dot Navy Gold and Keepsake Calico Metallic Rose Navy Gold (I was unable to find either online, sorry). Both were navy fabric with gold accents, and were 50% off per yard. I have loved polka dots since I was a kid, and the gold roses were so classy looking that I had to have them. I bought 1/2 yard of the polka dots, and had the idea to also turn the rose fabric into pillow cases so that I could keep a consistency in the room. I asked for a yard and a half of that. When the sales girl unrolled the polka dot fabric, there was an already cut piece, shorter than a full yard, on the roll. She asked if I wanted that and informed me that it was technically a “remnant” piece and should have been separately marked at a reduced rate. I said sure! All in all, I paid $14.17 after taxes for the fabric, $11.98 for the roses and $1.90 for the remnant share of the polka dots. I had a coupon, but it was on full priced products only, so I wasn’t able to use it. Remember, if I didn’t buy extra of the roses, it would have been closer to $5 for that fabric.
Pick Out Your Frame(s)
I looked around the frame aisle, but everything was a bit too pricey. Don’t get me wrong, they were good deals for framing photos, but I was trying to save money on this project. I was looking for a darker frame because I thought that’s what would look good in my house. In the same shopping center was a World Market, so I went there to see if they had anything I could use. They didn’t. Then I went to Michaels. They had a big frame sale going on as well, but because I was looking for a huge frame and not a regular photo-sized frame, it turned out to be $60 after the sale prices to get what I was looking for. No bueno. I looked online at some store ads and finally I went to Target.
I thought I wanted grey or navy frames for this project, so I found some frames that were 18 x 24, and really cheap. I didn’t think white would look nice in my room. Just FYI, the frames are cheap, not inexpensive, the quality is $14.99/frame quality. I wasn’t looking for super classy, ornate frames for this project. I just needed something to hold the fabric on the wall. I got home, held the fabric and frames up to the wall, and realized the frames looked terrible.
Optional: Paint Your Frame(s)
I have a yellow room. I painted it when I first moved in. I thought I’d really enjoy the color because I had a bathroom in high school in Nevada that was bright yellow and you never needed to turn on the light during the day because it was so bright and cheery (oh, and because the sun actually comes out in Nevada). As it turns out, I hate the yellow in my room. Nothing looks quite right and my beautiful Pottery Barn comforter that I bought on clearance 5 years ago doesn’t match in the slightest, even though I was certain it would. The old me would think, “Sweet! An excuse to buy new bedding!” The new me thinks, “I don’t want to spend $100 on a duvet cover when I could put that toward my student loans!” I stood in my room for awhile and looked around. Then I realized that all of my trim is white. I painted it an updated, fresh white color not that long ago. Why I didn’t remember that white DOES look good on my yellow walls is beyond me. I didn’t want to go back to the store, and I knew that the cheap frames weren’t available in white, so I took the paint I used on the trim and painted the frames. This part is totally optional.
I didn’t have any newspaper or anything to lay the frames on, and even though it wasn’t raining that day, I couldn’t paint outside because the Cowboys game was about to come on. So I used the frame inserts for one frame, and then took a magazine I’d already read and deconstructed it for the second frame. (That’s fancy craft-people word for “took it apart,” as far as I can tell.)
The “glass” on these frames is a thin plexiglass, glued to the frame. At first, I tried to paint with it still attached and it got glue everywhere. Then I tried to take the plexiglass off. It cleanly and easily popped off with just a bit of pressure. I got cocky when this happened and on the second frame I just went to town taking the plexiglass off… and it cracked. Greeeaaattttt. I obviously couldn’t return it, that was clearly my fault, and I’m sure whatever it costs to replace is more than I paid for the frame. But the game was about to start and I didn’t want to go back to the store. So I just pressed forward.
I put three coats of paint on these frames. I didn’t sand them because they’re cheap. If I had gotten a fancy wood frame from a thrift store or yard sale, I probably would have sanded it just to be sure.
Cut Your Fabric
This is way easier than cutting fabric for a sewing project. Simply lay the fabric down, take the back of the frame, lay it on top of the fabric, and grab a pair of fabric scissors (I use these ones but if you don’t have fabric scissors, sharp regular ones will work OK), leaving 1-2 inches of extra fabric all the way around. Easy Peasy! Of course, don’t let a child perform this part of the task and even adults should be careful when cutting things.
Iron Your Fabric
When you buy fabric from the store, it’s usually in pretty good shape, but it always has a crease. I forgot my iron at J’s house, but thankfully my roommate has one and she let me borrow it. I prefer my Black and Decker iron, but hers worked fine. I did have to use some elbow grease to iron them. I first tried to skip this step and they looked HORRIBLE so I knew it was really important to have the fabric look crisp.
Because I picked a fabric with metallic gold colored accents, I ironed the fabric from the back side and not the front.
Lay The Frame Upside Down With The Glass Inside
Gently use the ground or something soft so that you don’t risk scratching your frame.
As it turns out, I liked mine better without the plexiglass in it, but if you have decent glass in your frame it would probably look the best and hold up better with the glass inside.
Insert the Fabric
Simply lay the fabric print side down on top of the glass.
You’re almost done! Wasn’t that easy so far?!
Lay The Back Of The Frame Down On The Fabric
and pull tight.
Close The Back Of The Frame
The frames I chose have those metal push down things that go all the way around. I held the backing down and pulled on the fabric near each metal thingy (their official name), and closed the metal on top of the fabric. Then I moved on to the next one.
Flip the Frame Over and Admire Your Finished Product
Now is your chance to make any changes, adjust the fabric, or do some more ironing. After this, it will go on your wall so make sure it’s the way you want it.
If you have a measuring tape, perfect. If you don’t care if it’s centered, then skip this step. If you want to make sure it’s level, but don’t own a level, your iPhone compass will do the trick.
Mark Where You Want the Frames
Using a pencil, of course.
Attach Hanging Product
You can use a hammer and nails, or something like command strips. I used the command strips because they were near by. I kind of wish I had used a nail because I wouldn’t have had to worry so much about it being level (the nail takes care of that itself). But they are so easy to use and don’t damage the wall, so I can’t complain too much about the extra leveling step.
Now I’m on the hunt for the perfect chair and side table to make this corner in my room a quiet time or reading space!
Admire Your Job Well Done!!
Wahoo! That’s it! You now have a gorgeous piece of artwork in your house that didn’t cost you a fortune! Celebrate yourself! You rock!
To summarize for easy screen shot capabilities, here are what you’ll need and the steps:
- As many frames as you’d like to fill your space
- An iron
- An ironing board
- Something to attach the frames to your wall, like nails or adhesive that won’t damage the wall. I used these command strips.
- Optional: Paint, a paint brush, something to lay down under the frames so you don’t paint your floor, a paint rag
- Go to the craft store or check your stash for fabric. The size you need depends on your frame. I bought 1/2-1 yard.
- Find the right number and size of frames for your project.
- If your frames aren’t the right color, paint them.
- While the paint is drying, iron your fabric so that you and your guests won’t see the fabric creases or wrinkles.
- Also while the paint is drying, use the back of the frame as a stencil to cut the fabric to size. Make sure to leave 1-2″ of extra fabric on all sides so the fabric can pull tight and will be held in.
- Put the glass back on the frame and set the frame upside down (if you painted, don’t do this step until your frames are dried).
- Set the fabric in the glass, print side down.
- Lay the frame backing on the fabric and pull tight from all sides.
- Fold the fabric over the backing and close the frame however it’s secured.
- Optional: Gluing or stapling the fabric to the back of the frame. I didn’t do this and I got confirmation from another blogger that hers have held in frames with no adhesive for over a year with no issue. But if you’d feel better, you can do this step.
- Measure the space to center your art in the way you’d prefer.
- Hang on the wall.
- Stand back and admire your handiwork.
- Pour yourself a glass of wine.
- Take a photo and post it on Instagram to show the world your incredible craftiness (and feel free to tag @brittany_wmsb in it so I can cheer you on as well!).
And that’s it! You did it! You go, creative-artist-friend!