Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weekend Project - Create your own fabric

I created this fabric to cover my chairs at the Home & Garden Show a couple of years ago. I'm sure you may have seen them pop up in photos elsewhere on my website as well. The end result was durable, fun, and totally original since I designed and laid the pattern on the fabric as well. Here's how I did it:

1. I found a base fabric and color that I liked. This yellow fabric is a durable canvas and was on clearance for less than $1 a yard.

2. I sketched out my design. I knew I wanted something geometric and contemporary to contrast with the antique rose-back chairs.

3. Once I had the design in my head, I laid it out in AutoCAD. If you don't know or have CAD, you can draft it out on a large piece of poster board instead.

4. I printed out my design from CAD and taped it down to a large piece of poster board - large enough to cover the entire seat of the chair.

5. Once it was attached, I used an exacto knife to cut out all the shapes to create a sturdy template.

6. Next, I measured and cut each piece of fabric to fit over each chair seat. Once they were cut out, I laid the poster board template out on each and traced the pattern onto the fabric with a pen.

7. Now this is the hard part! Once the pattern was traced, I used fabric paint and a thin paint brush to paint the black lines onto the fabric. This was time consuming to get a nice, clean edge between the black and yellow. It also took two coats to get the fabric paint on nice and thick where no yellow showed through.

8. Once the pieces were dry, I attached the fabric to the seats using a staple gun, then screwed the seats back onto the chair.

Mine took several hours to do since my design was complex with lots of edges. A simpler pattern, or even a large graphic would be much easier to do.

The finished product was worth all the time and effort and was waaaaaaaay cheaper than buying buying fabric (plus, I couldn't find any fabric that was just that's why I decided to make it myself). The fabric paints are flexible so they hold up to the fabric shifting around when someone sits down. They still look like new after two years!

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