Thursday, September 11, 2014

A World of Orange

Back when Dylan and I were living in apartments, I started getting the itch to decorate more and more. While we weren't able to paint walls, per our lease agreements, and we didn't have much money as college students for nice furniture, that didn't stop me from browser-shopping, or from sometimes biting the bullet and clicking that "Submit Order" button. Eeep!

One of the sites that I used to frequent was Urban Outfitters - their modern design and funky patterns really hit home for me, and I loved that they were affordable, too. When browsing their site once, I came across their Atlas Tapestry, and knew at that moment that I would have this and would hang it in my house. I didn't know where, because we didn't have a house, but I had to have it and had to have it in Orange. The Turquoise color was also very eye catching, and bright, but since orange is my favorite color, it was perfect.

I ordered it, and was so excited when it arrived, that I didn't open it, and instead, kept it in it's box for two years. Yeah, I know that doesn't make it sound like I was excited about it, but I could see the tapestry through the clear cellophane bag that it was packaged in, and I knew that if I took it out and unfolded it, that I would never get it back to the way it was and it would never fit in the bag again. So there it sat for three years until I finally had a room for it in our house, or in other words, about two months ago.

Instead of just tacking the tapestry up on the wall, I wanted to mount it so that it looked a little better and it wouldn't stretch out over time. So, I grabbed some 1" x 2" x 4' boards from the hardware store to make a cleat so that I could hang the tapestry on the wall.

Problem was that I couldn't find the attachment for the table saw that allows you to make 45 degree cuts, like you normally would in making a cleat.  Instead, I made a cleat with a notch in it so that the two pieces of wood would stay together when one was placed on top of the other. The piece on the left in the picture below is the one that I attached to the wall, with the cut out up against the wall, so when I added the top piece, they locked together.

The next step was to attach the two cleats to the wall. I measured the size of the tapestry, and gave myself a little buffer from the corner of the walls so that it didn't touch completely. I also wanted to make sure that the tapestry didn't hit the floor, because then it would just get covered in cat hair and thread and fabric scraps, which is not what I wanted. Once I had the height figured out, I marked the wall and then used my combination stud finder and laser level to mark both the studs and make a level line where the top of the cleat should be. I broke out my nail gun to attach the cleat to the wall, nailing it into the studs, which ended up being about every 18 inches. I left a two inch gap between the two cleats, that way I could get the length that I needed, since the tapestry was just over 8' wide, slightly longer than my two cleats. 

With one part of the cleat attached to the wall, I then turned to attach the tapestry to the other half of the cleat. One suggestion before you start stapling your tapestry is to iron or steam it. I totally forgot to do this, and you'll notice in the pictures below. Way too many wrinkles, so get those out before you hang it, otherwise you'll feel like an idiot, like me!

I used a staple gun and put a few staples through the edging of my tapestry, attaching it to the side that would be facing the ceiling, that way the staples and the seam wouldn't show when it was hanging on the wall. If your tapestry has unfinished edges, you may want to fold the fabric down and iron it in place, that way you have more for the staples to grasp on to. I would hate if you went through one layer of the fabric and the threads ripped or pulled so much that it ended up not being secure over time. 

Also, you don't need to be precise about where you are placing your staples, but just so you know, I placed a staple every ten inches, and then once they were all in, I used a hammer to just make them flat to the cleat. 

With the tapestry attached to both pieces of the cleat, it was time to hang it up on the wall. Attach your cleat to the pieces that you have already attached to the wall, and then spread it out a little more to make sure that it is taut and not loose or baggy at the top. And the last step is to stand back and admire your work. 

Don't worry, yours will look much better than mine if you remember to iron or steam it before you attach it to your cleat! But, I still kind of have an issue with the way this looks. I was really hoping that this wasn't going to look juvenile and college-y, but it turns out that it kind of does. 

So, now I'm brainstorming on how I can make this look less young, and a little more "designer." I know that I definitely need to iron or steam it, and that that will help it look better right from the start, but I still feel like it's missing something. Do you think that fully framing it in would look better? Should I add a weight to the bottom to make it a little more flat? Any other suggestions?
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