Fabric as Wallpaper: How to Attach It?
July 11, 2010 7:01 PM   Subscribe

I need to stick a 4'x4' piece of canvas to the wall like wallpaper. I would use wallpaper paste but it would make the black and white fabric look like ass. What should I use to make it permanent and awesome?
posted by Foam Pants to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Starch should work for this, as long as it isn't really thick canvas.
posted by kellyblah at 7:11 PM on July 11, 2010

I would use contact cement. Carefully measure the canvas. Mask off an area of the wall equal to the size of the canvas. Apply a light coat of contact cement to the wall. Apply a light coat of contact cement to the canvas. When they are both dry, apply the canvas to the wall. Work in a well ventilated space.
posted by Old Geezer at 7:12 PM on July 11, 2010

Are you talking about artist canvas? Perhaps acrylic mediums would fill the bill. They come in different varieties and textures-one might work well for you.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:12 PM on July 11, 2010

I'd probably use hot glue to affix it to some kinda thin, stiff substrate (cardboard? Luan ["doorskin"]? Foam board?), then hang THAT from the wall. Hot glue is pretty damned good at sticking fabric to other stuff without destroying the fabric itself (take it from someone who has made zillions of household crafts and Halloween costumes using little more than hot glue). You'd have to do it in little sections, and the hot glue gun itself would probably be a pretty crappy tool for doing so - melting them in a double boiler or some such and then brushing the glue on in a thin layer with a foam brush would work, I bet.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:16 PM on July 11, 2010

3M Super 77 spray adhesive - tape off the sections of wall you don't want overspray on, spray the wall, spray the canvas, and stick into place.
posted by fixer at 7:37 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: If I used contact cement, do you think I would have to apply to the fabric? I don't really have a place to set out a large piece of fabric to apply and dry a glue.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:17 PM on July 11, 2010

Contact cement only works when both surfaces it has been applied to have been placed in contact (hence its name). So, yes contact cement would have to be applied to the fabric.
posted by ShooBoo at 4:37 AM on July 12, 2010

If it is not necessary that it be actually stuck to the wall as fabric and that what you want is simply "flat and on the wall", I suggest stretching the fabric over a 4x4 square of 1/4" masonite (generally available pre-cut at big DIY centres), then using standard picture framing hooks to hang it. Use staples or double-sided carpet tape on the back of the masonite to hold the fabric in place.

Advantages: you can remove it from the wall for dusting or cleaning. You won't get wrinkles now or ever. You won't get glue or funky stuff on your wall, or on your canvas. You can take it apart later if you need to.

If you absolutely must Stick Fabric To Wall you're looking at a fairly difficult job, as glues will make wrinkle-free hanging difficult. You could staple the fabric to the wall, edges only, and then put some thin edging around it to hide the staples, though.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:11 AM on July 12, 2010

I'll change the recommendation to 1/4" plywood. I'm not sure what the weather is like in Juneau, but if you experience a big change in humidity across the year, the masonite might warp a little due to those changes. Plywood will be fine.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:15 AM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: It has to be on the wall like a wallpaper. Like I said, I would use wheat paste but the paste would make the black look nasty. It is a very stiff canvas, I don't think I need to worry about wrinkles.

I thought about using 77, god knows I use all the time at work. I am concerned about it getting on everything. I mean, I use it in a ventilated hood to control overspray (and so I don't die of glue lung).

I'm wondering if I should try carpet glue applied in a very thin layer. I don't want it to be lumpy underneath. There is also carpet tape if it is thin enough. I'm going to head to Home Depot after work.

I'm not sure what an acrylic medium is. I'm used to working with construction stuff. Is it a glue of some kind?
posted by Foam Pants at 11:46 AM on July 12, 2010

Use clear gesso on the back of the canvas and then use wheat paste or whatever you want.

Is the canvas not primed? What's the black painted with? Whatever it is it'll probably eat the canvas in a few years.
posted by cmoj at 12:05 PM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: It's just a piece of white upholstery fabric in a thick canvas with a factory-printed black pattern on it.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:27 PM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: I went with carpet tape. It was very thin and quite sticky. I think I should have used more but the results look pretty much how I wanted them to. It isn't as permanent as I would like but I think it will hold up for a while. The material was thick enough, and the tape was forgiving enough, that wrinkles pretty much worked themselves out. Here is a picture of it with the trim mostly attached.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:29 AM on July 13, 2010

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