18 September 2013

DIY pelmet boxes: upholstering

I’m back today with the next step of my DIY pelmet boxes, a.k.a. how I put some color and pattern around my windows without sacrificing my beloved white curtains.

And if we’re being honest, it was shopping for colorful, patterned fabric that gave me the swift kick in the pants I needed to do this project. Remember when I stumbled upon the big fabric sale at JoAnn?

I originally popped in to get the nailhead trim for my bulletin board. While there, I discovered the fabric sale, and that’s why I ended up going back later... for this!

Yup, the Waverly Chippendale Fretwork! I mentioned at the end of the fabric therapy post that I’d picked out one of those patterns for a future project, and that was it. I’ve loved it for years, and when I realized it was on sale and would be perfect for pelmet boxes in our bedroom, I grabbed two yards!

Total cost: well... total cost was $10, because the $20/yard fabric was marked down to half-price, and either the fabric lady or the cashier lady didn’t note that I had two yards instead of one. Oops! I didn’t notice until I was home studying my receipt, and by then they were closed... although let’s be real, I wasn’t keen to argue with getting $40 of fabric for $10. Whoa! I also picked up two yards of batting from Hobby Lobby, which was about $11 with one of their usual 40% off coupons.

All right! So yesterday, I left off with the pelmets constructed and bare:

I was thrilled when I finally got to the upholstering step. I just laid my newly-constructed pelmet boxes to make sure I cut the batting in such a way to make sure I would have enough:

No Illustrator mockup this time, although I did make sure the fabric would work in the original hand-sketch. There’s no frustration like the frustration of running out of fabric halfway through a project!

To attach the batting and fabric, I first tried duct tape. It seemed weird, but that’s what another tutorial used (I can’t find it now, but I saw it somewhere), and the duct tape worked so well for the foam-core board construction...

Uhh, no. That worked about as badly as I expected. Barely gripping the fibers, absolutely no tension. Don’t do it.

Jenny’s tutorial used her big staple gun, but I worried that would go through my board (and perhaps into the carpet below). So, I stuck with my good ol’ Swingline, last seen upholstering cardboard to secure our bathroom cabinet skirt panels. Just like then, it worked like a charm this time!

First I stapled on the batting...

Then I stapled on the fabric, making sure that my pattern would fall in a similar place on both pelmets for the big windows.

And speaking of big pelmets... I realized, when I designed the dimensions, that I would run into a fabric-width conundrum. See, like most fabrics, Waverly Chippendale Fretwork is 54” wide. That’s perfect for the pelmet that would butt up against a wall on one side, shown above – it’s 48.5” across the front, and has one “wing” that’s 5.5” inches. 54” wide, perfect! But the other big pelmet would have wings on both sides. That meant widening the fabric somehow, which I did by attaching a panel with iron-on hem tape:

I very nearly ruined my precious fabric by having the iron too hot (that’s what happens when the dial falls off and you just leave the iron on “mediumish-hot” for years). But after a bit of scary shrinkage, I made it work, and stapled it right on!

The photo is unfortunately blurry, but I think you can see it worked just fine! And even if it wasn’t perfect, it’d be nearly against the wall anyway. You’d basically have to be standing on my nightstand to see this side of the pelmet.

And thanks to careful planning, when it came time to upholster the very last piece, for the dormer window, my remaining fabric piece was just the right size. High five!

So that’s how I upholstered these – with criminally cheap fabric, ill-fated duct tape, a regular desktop stapler, and hem tape to magically widen the fabric as needed. Simple!

We’re hours in to this project, but we can’t stop now! Tomorrow I’ll show you how I finally got these suckers on the wall. I’m bouncing with excitement for the reveal, dear readers – see you then!


Rachel said...

I'm so glad my house is not the only one held together with staples and duct tape! These look beautiful!