Buying art for your home is always a tricky one. It's very personal and if you're anything like me, you know what you like when you see it - it's just that you don't see it that often - and rarely at an affordable price. Get it right and the art on your walls can transform your home and really help to express your personal style, so why not take matters into your own hands?
Most of us aren't blessed with the artistic talent required to knock-up a painting worthy of display, but as Megan Stevenson, owner of vintage fashion and homeware emporium Cha Cha Cha explains, there are other ways to go. "Stretching fabric over canvas is a very effective, and cost-effective, way of filling a wall. All you really need is some fabric, a hammer and a staple gun." Sounds simple enough - and actually it is.
Here's Megan's "How-To" guide to get you started:
1. Sourcing your fabric
• The key is finding a bold, graphic print, as these tend to work best as art. This often means vintage, so ask your mum, your grandma or anyone else who you think might have any old material stashed away.
• Don't restrict yourself to fabric on a roll - an old duvet cover, sheet, curtains or even a dress could work just as well.
• Curtain factory warehouses are another great source of fabric, as is eBay.
• If you can't get your hands on any vintage fabric at a reasonable price, Ikea has some great vintage-inspired patterns that would also work well.
2. The frame
• Any good art shop will sell wooden struts that you can knock together yourself with a hammer and nails into whatever size frame you need.
• Even simpler, you can just buy a ready-made frame or canvas and stretch the fabric over it.
3. Stretching and stapling
• Make sure you buy enough fabric to cover your frame, leaving about 1.5-2 in extra on all sides to wrap around.
• Lay out your fabric (display side down) and put your frame on top of the fabric, in the centre.
• With a staple gun, staple the fabric to the underside of the frame across one side. Then stretch the fabric across to the opposite side of the frame (side two), pulling the fabric taut before stapling it to the underside of side two.
• The fabric should be perfectly smooth, with no 'give' and no wrinkles for a professional-looking finish. The key to achieving this is stapling the material to one set of opposite sides of the frame, then the other.
• At each of the four corners of the frame, fold and tuck in the fabric as you would when wrapping a present or doing a hospital corner on a bed.
• To avoid fraying, finish by applying tape to the edges of the material on the underside of the frame.
Megan, who also makes lampshades, cushions and stool covers from vintage fabrics for Cha Cha Cha, pinpoints the appeal of doing it herself, the vintage way: "For our parents everything needed to be new and matching. Our generation is about uniqueness."
If you do decide to create some unique art, let us know how it goes.
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