How to Hang Fabrics

As an alternative to using fabric-backed wallcoverings, it is possible to decorate walls using ordinary fabrics bought off the roll from furnishing stores. The fabric should be firmly woven so that it does not distort on the wall, and should have a surface that will not attract dirt (glazed chintz would be a good selection, a heavily textured fabric a bad one); it should also be colour-fast, shrink-resistant and moth-proof.

Fabrics can be stuck straight to the wall surface using a thick ready-mixed paste. The paste should be spread evenly on the wall, and the fabric rolled gently into place. This method is best used for fabrics without a definite pattern pattern-matching is very difficult. Cut the fabric to length, allowing about 25mm at top and bottom for trimming, and roll it up inside out on a cardboard tube. Mark a series of plumbed lines on the wall at intervals about 25mm smaller than the width of the fabric, so the joins can be overlapped and trimmed after hanging. Apply the paste, slopping just short of the plumbed lines, and then unroll the fabric on to the wall. Press it into the angles at wall and ceiling, but leave trimming until the paste has dried in case there is any shrinkage. Hang the next length so that it overlaps the first by about 25mm, and leave until the adhesive has dried. Carry on like this, hanging corner pieces in two parts as for ordinary wallcoverings. When the adhesive has dried, use a sharp knife and a straightedge to cut through the material at floor and ceiling level, and also cut through both layers at the overlaps. Peel the waste strips away, apply a little paste beneath the seam and smooth the join carefully back into position.

Hang Fabrics

Fabric can also be stretched over a network of slim battens, a method that allows reasonable accurate pattern matching too. Use slim (25 x 12mm) softwood battens, and a staple gun both to fix the battens to the wall and to staple the fabric to the battens. Cut the first length of fabric and a batten to match the floor-to-ceiling height of the room. Staple the selvedge of the fabric to the batten with a staple every 50mm or so. Staple the batten to the wall against a plumbed line, draw the fabric across the wall and mark on it where the selvedge on the opposite side of the fabric comes. Staple another vertical batten to the wall at this point, again to a plumbed line, and staple the selvedge to it. Repeat the process for the second length, butting the batten tightly against the last batten of the previous length and positioning it so that the pattern coincides as closely as possible. Repeat the process across the whole wall surface; in the opposite corner the fabric will have to be stapled to the face of the corner batten, not to its side, to complete the run. Neaten the edges at ceiling and floor level by pinning lengths of beading to the tops and bottoms of the vertical battens. The seams between lengths will, of course, be more noticeable than with an ordinary wallcovering, but they could be covered with decorative braid or other trim.

A third way of fixing fabric to walls is to use specially made plastic fabric-mounting track. This should be pinned into place all round the perimeter of the wall to be covered; a self-adhesive strip on the track can then be exposed by pulling off the protective tape, and the fabric pressed into place. The system works best if the lengths of fabric are accurately seamed together first, rather like making up a curtain, into a piece big enough to cover the entire wall. When the fabric has been pressed on to the adhesive strip, the tension can be adjusted so that it hangs without creasing or distortion. The edges of the fabric are then locked into place-in a channel in the track, using a special tool sold with the track. The fabric can be easily pulled away from the track for cleaning. This track is available only from specialist shops.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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