Make: simple fabric covered wall hanging

Hey everyone. Things have been a little slower than normal on the blog for the past few weeks because we’ve been out of town visiting family. We’re back home and I’m drowning in laundry, but I have lots of fun posts in the pipeline that you’ll be seeing soon (like instructions for a DIY rocket launcher, recipes from Grandma’s sweet shoppe, a how to photograph toddlers post, and easy instructions for making your kids travel pillows with cool carrying bags). So stay tuned! In the meantime here’s one more post that originally appeared at the Ribbon Retreat blog.

Have a bare wall and some favorite fabric? Spruce up any room with a fabric covered wall hanging like the one above. To get started, you’ll need:

1/2 yard of three coordinating fabrics (I used Verona Teal Dot by Riley Blake, Fly a Kite Cream Ice Cream by Riley Blake, and Hometown Bicycle Solid by Moda)
a fat quarter of another coordinating fabric (I used Verona Green Flowers by Riley Blake)
scraps of white or cream AND black or brown fabric (I used some old cream muslin and dark brown felt)
about 1/4 yard of Wonder Under
owl pattern or other pieced animal pattern (I used the adorable owl pattern available free here, and enlarged it about 150%)
2 ‘ x 4’ sheet of 1/8″ thick MDF
glue gun
saw tooth picture hangers

Step 1: Purchase and cut the MDF

You can find 2′ x 4′ sheets of MDF at any hardware store. I bought mine at Home Depot for under $4 in the Hobby Wood department. Ask the nice employee at the back of the lumber department to cut it into three 15″ x 24″ pieces (you’ll have a 3″ x 24″ piece left over).
Step 2: Make your pieced owl

For my wall hanging, I covered two of my MDF panels with patterned fabric, and one with a solid fabric that has a pieced owl sewn onto it. Start preparing your owl by cutting a piece from your fat quarter that is large enough for the owl body. Cut a strip from a short end of one of your half yard pieces that’s large enough to cut out two wings. Cut scraps of other fabric large enough for two eyes, two pupils, and the beak (you can make the beak brown or yellow, depending on what fabric you have on hand).

Lay out your piece of Wonder Under, rough side up (paper side down). Iron the fabrics you are using for your owl, WRONG side down, onto the Wonder Under. Use DRY heat, leaving the iron in one spot for about 10 seconds, then picking it up and moving it over. Try not to let your iron touch the Wonder Under itself, or you’ll get adhesive on your iron.

Once your fabric is firmly adhered, flip over the piece of Wonder Under and trace your pattern pieces on the back. Cut out each piece.

Place your pieces down where they will go to see how cute the owl is going to look.

Step 3 – Adhere the owl to a half yard piece of fabric

At this point you can peel the Wonder Under off your fabrics. The paper will come off, leaving the adhesive on the fabric. This can be a little tricky – just start working at an edge with your fingernail until you can see the paper begin to come away.

Pull the paper away slowly. Be sure you aren’t pulling all the adhesive off as well – you should be able to see and feel it on the wrong side of your fabric.

Now iron the owl body onto the lower RH corner of your solid colored half yard piece. Make sure it’s at least two inches away from the bottom and RH side of the half yard piece.

To iron it on, lay a damp pressing cloth (I used a thin cloth diaper, you could also use a thin tea towel) over your owl piece. Set your iron down (hi heat) for 10-15 seconds, then pick it up and move it to the next area. You’ll probably need to get your pressing cloth wet a few times during this process.

Check the edges of your owl to make sure it’s well adhered. If it’s not, lay the damp pressing cloth down and press again.

Repeat the process to adhere the wings, eyes, pupils, and beak.

Now you’ll want to sew around each piece on your owl. You could use a zig zag or blanket stitch, but I just used a straight stitch in cream thread.

Sew about 1/8 inch inside each piece, putting the needle down and the presser foot up to pivot at each corner.

Since I used dark brown felt for the pupils, I simply secured them by hand stitching an X in the middle of each circle. Now you are done with the hardest part!

Step 4: Glue fabric to MDF pieces

Start by ironing your three half yard pieces of fabric (one of which has the owl on it now) to get out all the wrinkles. Lay one piece of fabric, right side down, on a clean counter or table, then lay one MDF piece on top of it. Make sure the fabric is positioned so that any patterns are centered and the owl is placed where you want it. Trim the extra length of fabric at one short end so the fabric is about an inch and a half larger than the MDF of all sides.

Squeeze a stream of hot glue all the way down one long side of the MDF. Quickly fold over the fabric and push it down into the glue to adhere (you can do half at a time if you’d like). Repeat on the other long side, gently stretching the fabric as you go so it’s taut underneath the MDF. Be careful not to burn yourself, or you’ll have to walk around for two hours holding ice against your pinky finger (not that I have any personal experience with that).

When both long sides are glued down, start working on the corners.

Flatten the fabric below the MDF board, then fold it straight back up.

Fold the fabric under diagonally and glue down, making a nice sharp corner.

When all four corners are glued down, glue down the short sides, again stretching the fabric gently to keep it taut. Repeat with the other two fabrics and MDF pieces.

Step 5: Hang your new decor on the wall

The last step for your wall hanging is to glue on a saw-tooth picture hanger. They look like this:

Just measure three inches down from the top of each fabric covered MDF piece (on the back), and glue the picture hanger in the middle. (I had the top of my MDF piece down toward me, so I measure three inches up from the edge, then glued down the sawtooth hanger.)

Get some nails up on your wall (space them 18 inches apart) and your new wall decor is complete!

It looks great and it’s totally doable in an afternoon.

Now if you’ve fallen in love with that adorable owl pattern as much as I have, click here to see the troupe of owl softies I made to match the wall hangings. I was just going to make one for my baby girl, but her big brothers decided they needed some too. An owl softie (or two, or three) is the perfect way to use up the leftover fabric from this project!


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