Sunday, 3 May 2015

weekend craft - patterned canvas

Who doesn't love a three day weekend? I was feeling a bit creative this bank holiday, and given that I've been sorting out the flat over the last few weeks, I thought it was time to pay some attention to the artwork on our walls. Some areas I'm happy with, others I'm either bored with or have just never finished. You know those three black canvasses above our bed? After four years, they finally have something on them! A couple of years ago I did a tutorial for covering some plain canvasses as part of the V&As fabric craft challenge and I thought it was a good way to finish those bedroom canvasses and update the painting in the kitchen that I really went off of a long time ago. I could have painted all of them but to be honest I wanted a quick fix and I couldn't decide what to paint on them anyway. It's also a good substitute for renters if you want to introduce some pattern but can't wallpaper. So, earlier this week I took a quick trip to Ikea and picked out a few metres of very reasonably priced fabric.

On the left I chose 1.5m of Stockholm in beige for £7 per metre and on the right I got a metre of Trådklöver for £6.

Ikea have a great range of fabrics and there's plenty of choice if you want to go for a bit of colour too. The fabrics I chose are fairly heavyweight and excellent quality considering I got everything for under £17. I got more than I knew I would need of the Stockholm pattern as I was covering a fairly large canvas and I wanted the option to pick out part of the pattern without having any of the beige background showing. I chose the other pattern because I wanted each of the three canvasses to look different and this one gave me the option of having some of the white space showing.

The whole project was so easy and took no more than an hour and a half. Even though you're stretching the fabric over the frame, I recommend ironing it on the reverse before you start, especially if you're using heavyweight fabric. I loosely wrapped the fabric around the large canvas to get the pattern lined up in the way I wanted before tacking it in place on the reverse using thumb tacks. You could use a heavy duty stapler, but I don't have one and anyway, thumb tacks are easier to remove if you need to make adjustments as you go. Once the fabric was in place, I trimmed off the excess and tightened and pinned it all in place. I found a hammer was useful, especially to get the pins in properly on the corners where you have to push through several layers of fabric.

Here's the before and after, a great improvement I think!

I love how the fabric kind of resembles a street map and by taking only the middle of the pattern, it's more abstract and less obviously a leaf pattern. Remember that if you are covering an existing painting, you'll need a heavyweight fabric in a darker colour to stop the pattern underneath from showing through. It also covers the texture of the original piece, something that would have also been harder to cover with painting alone.

The three bedroom canvasses were already white so there was no need to worry about those things. The pattern placement was a bit more random though, as there wasn't much room for manoeuvre once I'd laid them out on the fabric.

I decided I wanted to middle canvas to have an all over pattern, so  placed that one first then worked out where the other two could fit while still leaving enough fabric to wrap round and pin in place (these are deeper frames) before cutting the pieces out. Here's the back of one of them to show you how they are attached.

So easy! Here's the before and after. I decided the cushions were too much with the pattern on the wall as well so I just reversed them to plain black.

If you fancy giving this project a go, you can pick up very reasonably priced canvasses from places like Hobbycraft. You can currently get three of the 40x40cm ones I used in the bedroom on offer for the bargain price of £10 at the moment and you can see their full range here.

I've also rounded up 10 really great fabrics that would be perfect for this type of project, all prices are per metre.

1. 'Mayrose D' £22.50 from Liberty A bold floral that's not too bright or overly fussy.
2. 'Majken' in grey and orange £6 from Ikea Perfect for kitchens and dining spaces.
3. 'Pavillin' in mustard £54 from Mini Moderns Also great for kitchens or any mid century inspired scheme.
4. 'Nazca' in Indian Blue £16 from John Lewis Great if you like a more boho look.
5. 'Kuuskajasakri' by Marimekko £46 at Skandium A pattern that will look more like a painting than a pattern.
6. 'Susanna Tana lawn' in pink £22.50 from Liberty Bold but feminine, this would be great in a bedroom.
7. 'Ramga' in green £14 from Fabrics Galore Great if you don't like florals and want something a bit more urban.
8. 'Trådklöver' in hearts £7 from Ikea A good choice for a kids room.
9. 'Dandelion Clocks' by Sanderson in blue and green £39 from John Lewis A total classic for modern or traditional living rooms.
10. 'Jurmo' by Marimekko £39 at Skandium A calming print that works either way up.

Let me know if you give this a go yourself!

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