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Topic: starch+fabric wall decal, plus painted light switchplate (dino-deer showdown!)  (Read 9110 times)
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« on: November 10, 2008 09:42:45 PM »

Hi all, first post (now I have 10, actually so I'm editing to put the pics in place of the links). Sorry for the low photo quality--nighttime pictures with a webcam, boo!
Like many folks who rent, I am stuck with white boring walls that can't be painted per my lease. After looking at a bunch of craftster threads, I was reminded of the technique of applying fabric to painted walls using laundry starch, and decided to give it a go.

I wasn't really sure about that fabric when I started, and up on the wall with that awful light switch, I was afraid I'd wasted a lot of time. So I decided to paint the light switch cover with acrylics. (I was talking to a friend on the phone who gave some creative input on subject matter: "Paint a dinosaur shooting laser beams!")

Then up on the wall it went--now they are having a showdown! I like them both a lot now. Funny what those little details can do.

The dino light switchplate I just did with acrylics--later I will spray it with some sealant to prevent chipping. Since switchplates are so easily replaceable, I am not worried about my lease.

For the deer, I didn't take pictures of the process but it's pretty simple.

First, I found an image I liked online and traced it straight from my computer screen to tracing paper.
Next, I traced that onto some graph paper. I touched up the graph paper version where my tracing was inaccurate. I did a bunch of stuff where I measured the dimensions of the graph-paper deer and the wall where I wanted to paste it, figured out aspect ratios and everything, but then I realized I could just convert my 1/4" squares to 2" squares and that would be a good size for my wall. The final dimensions on the wall are something like 36x56 inches.
Then I cut two large pieces of kraft paper and taped them together so they would be big enough for the full size deer. Using my quilting ruler, I made a graph of 2" squares on the kraft paper and used my smaller picture as a guide for drawing the larger one. Then I cut out the kraft paper deer and ironed it on a low setting to keep it from rolling back into a tube. I taped it on the wall to see how I liked it.
It looked good, so I marked a few spots for later reference when hanging the fabric, so it would be even. I then pre-starched my fabric (a slippery something--maybe acetate?--it was a curb find!) with spray starch and an iron. I felt like a 50s housewife, haha. The spray starch made the fabric MUCH more manageable, and I think it slightly diminished fraying as well. I used the cheapest brand of spray starch in the store. And I pretty much always recommend ironing any fabric before use (if it *can* be ironed, of course); I couldn't believe the difference in my sewing years ago when I just started ironing more often.
Next I laid the fabric on the floor and tried to decide if I wanted to pin it or weight it. (Oh that reminds me: measure twice, cut once!! I thought I had enough fabric but the deer's antlers got a little chopped off in one area. oops.) I don't have sewing weights and I don't eat canned goods, and I was feeling too lazy to pin at this point (drawing the graph took a long time!). So I decided to just wing it, going slowly and carefully. I used a uni-ball pen to trace because a sharpie would have left marks on my hardwood floor.
Now here is where I diverted from plan a bit. I intended to go over the outline with some fray-check to keep the threads from unraveling. If I'd been able to use a sharpie, that would have been nice too, for the visibility. However, it worked without either one of those things so while they might have helped the process, it's not a big deal.
Finally, it was time to put it up! I used some low-tack masking tape to hold the deer in place in just a few spots along the top edge (the deer's back). Then I went to town with some "Sta-Flo" liquid starch, undiluted, and a foam brush. (I put a towel down underneath in case of drips.) I used a gentle touch while saturating the fabric, and allowed the fabric to tell me where to go, since I was worried about it stretching out of place and coming out crooked. On the edges, I tried to follow parallel to the cut, to minimize pulling any threads lose. Once most of it was up, I took off the tape and finished covering all areas. That's it, really!

A couple last thoughts: Since the fabric is a synthetic, I don't think there is any risk of bleeding onto the wall since the color is bonded to the fiber differently than in cottons or other natural fibers. If I'd used cotton, I would have prewashed in warm water just to be safe.
Also, the pen marks on the edges DO bleed a little bit; I noticed this as I glued it up. I am hoping they will wash off with soap and water or a little rubbing alcohol when it's time to take it down, but if you are worried, you can just cut inside the lines of your pattern, or use chalk or something else washable.

Thanks for checking out my project! It's the first crafty thing I've done in ages and it felt so good to be making things again.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009 09:34:34 PM by lucidflower » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2008 06:27:39 AM »

Wow that stag is amazing, and thanks for the tutorial, I might give this a try!

« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008 01:26:46 PM »

Wow that stag is amazing, and thanks for the tutorial, I might give this a try!

You're welcome, I'm glad you liked it! And thanks Smiley
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2008 07:15:52 AM »

Awesome idea! Thanks for the tute!
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It all seemed like such a good idea at the time...

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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2008 05:49:06 PM »

wow, that's great!  I've also got bare walls in a house that can't be painted per the lease.  Now I think I might be able to do something with all those empty spaces!
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