Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Food Fight

It's been a war around here, a war between me and the food Avery eats. Or maybe between me and Avery's eating habits. She likes to toss her food on the floor if she doesn't like it or is done eating it. This is a habit we're trying to break, but you can't reason with her - she's 15 months old. The wall often gets splattered in the process of tossing food, and it's a nice matte finished paint. Not the best choice for a dining area, or for kids. But since we're renting, we didn't choose this, so I had to come up with another option to protect my walls, or at least minimize the amount of times I pulled out my handy Magic Eraser to clean it.

I found a gorgeous laminated fabric that coordinated well with the rest of our home and stretched it over DIY canvas stretchers. The stretchers were just a few dollars each at the art supply store, and I ordered the fabric here.

Assemble the stretcher bars - I asked the gal at the art supply for a demo, and she was kind enough to oblige. They just interlock at the corners, and she suggested I seal them with a bit of wood glue before pushing them together. You can let it dry overnight, but it should be good to go after an hour or two - the glue dried quickly.
(I also failed to get pics of this part of the process...oops!)

Iron your fabric - on the WRONG side of the fabric, with a dry iron, on low heat. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!! You will melt the plastic if the heat touches it directly. I found that the wrinkles were nearly impossible to eliminate completely, but this did help. Ask if they can roll the fabric instead of folding it; since I ordered mine online, I didn't think to specify this.

Lay your fabric face down on the floor (don't mind my ugly rental carpet).

Center the frame on the fabric - you want the side of the frame with the lip to be face down. Leave 3" around all sides to ensure enough fabric for stretching. I found this to be a bit much at the end, but better safe than sorry.
I even got out the straight pins and marked 3".

I borrowed from these two tutorials for the rest, found here and here. The first tutorial is excellent for how to finish the corners.
Stretching the fabric, getting ready to staple it in the center of one side of the frame.
 A finished corner

I had some extra fabric overhang, so I trimmed it flush with the frame, just to make it feel more finished even though no one will see the backside.

And voila! I now have a surface that is easy to wipe clean, and it adds some visual interest in our all brown and beige kitchen area. Now that it's done, I should have bought the fabric with the pink flowers, to tie in with her chairs. But, she won't throw food forever (I hope!), so I'll reuse this in another room where it looks nice with our other home decor. I think it'd make a lovely headboard one day.
I didn't hang this, just to ensure that the entire wall that she had access to would be covered. Even the floorboards. It is simply propped against the wall, and it is SO lightweight that if she knocked it over, it wouldn't hurt her.

Now we just give this a quick wipe after meals if she was particularly messy, and our wall is saved (as is our deposit).


Maegan said...

Yeah! I love Heather Bailey and her fabrics. We have that same lovely matte finish paint. When I use a magic eraser it takes the paint off, do you have that problem?

Meghann said...

I haven't noticed the paint come off this time, but it has seemed to before, in other apartments when I've used the Magic Eraser. I try and use a light touch with it just to be safe. It's not perfect, but they are less likely to notice missing paint than spaghetti stains. :)