One of the issues with having tall ceilings is the large expanse of empty wall… it can be a blessing and a curse. Often times it is difficult to find large artwork to fill the wall, and most large-scale artwork typically is expensive. In the past I’ve usually gone the route of printing a design onto a canvas and then stretching it out onto a frame myself.
Usually I would print a design onto a shower curtain using Society6.com and then I’d make a lightweight wooden frame on which I’d stretch and staple the fabric. I’ve done that a few times, but wanted to try a different method. I’ve always liked the way posters and newsprints look when hung on wooden frame hangers like these below.
Given the size of the print, I knew this would be a fun opportunity for a DIY solution. Instead of printing onto a curtain this time, I decided to print onto the tapestry fabrics Society6 now offers. The size I picked was 68x80 inches. The print arrives folded, with a lot of wrinkles, so it is worth taking the time to iron it fully on both sides to smooth out as many creases and wrinkles as possible… no one wants to see a wrinkly print hanging on a wall!
Construction of the hanger was pretty simple and straightforward. I picked up some thin floor molding wood that I had cut to size, and then I gave it a quick sanding to smooth out minor imperfections on the surface as well as to round the sharp corners. Since the print was about 68” wide, I had the wood cut to 70”.
I sandwiched the tapestry print in between two wood pieces and clamped them in place using a gator clip on one end, making sure that the fabric was as straight as possible along the edge while leaving about a quarter inch margin to the edge.
Once the fabric was sufficiently straightened I clamped the opposite end with another gator clip. Next I secured the wood pieces and fabric in place with my staple gun, placing a staple about every 3 inches or so, on what will end up being the rear side of the hanger. I then repeated the process on the opposite side of the fabric. In order to hang the completed piece, I used a small OOK cleat to secure it onto the wall. The OOK cleat was incredibly simple to apply since it includes a level for easy aligning.
Below you can see the image I printed. I wanted something very colorful, but also that had a figure in it. While looking around for inspiration I stumbled across a set of beautiful paintings by German artist, Ernst Deger. His painting Portrait of a Young Woman was perfect, I loved the downward glance and how it would interact with the couch in the living room. A few hours of Photoshop later, I had transformed his painting into something reminiscent of an acid trip.
I’ve already started thinking of ways to improve the hanger for future tapestries I might make. One of the toughest parts of the process was trying to make sure the wood pieces were level with each other and the room. Since they’re stapled in place, I had to remove the staples and tuck a little more of the fabric into position and then re-staple and check the level again. I think for a new version I will probably drill a few holes through the wood pieces and tapestry, and clasp them together with a short bolt and nut; that way if I need to make any adjustments its a simpler process than removing the staples and re-stapling.