After working on my fabric store project, I discovered that working with fabric has several advantages:
1. Much wider range of patterns, colors, textures, etc., to choose from.
2. Much neater - no messy pastes or drippy papers.
3. Quite a bit less expensive than made-for-dollhouse papers and carpets.
I have used fabric on all of my Christmas gift bags, mainly because you can find more tiny Christmas print fabrics than you can find tiny Christmas print papers!
Fabrics that I have used include:
1. Upholstery fabrics and velveteens for carpet. Keep an open mind when searching - I once found an upholstery fabric that wasn't fuzzy but was a beige textured weave that looked very similar to grasscloth - used it in my beach-theme Christmas bag and another upholstery fabric that looked exactly like berber carpet. I used felt for the carpet in my fabric store living room and it worked all right because it wasn't one solid color - it had a little black shading to it. But mostly, felt is a bit "flat" looking for carpet.
2. Dress weight cottons and polyester/cotton mix fabrics for wallpapers. I have also used this weight fabric for flooring where I wanted a linoleum or tile look. Find a pattern that looks like linoleum or tiles and use the iron-on shiny clear vinyl to give it that "just-waxed" look
3. White cotton pique (which has the tiny waffle weave in it) for a textured ceiling look.
I'm sure that, using the carpet tape method described below, you could use even the delicate fabrics - silks, satins, suede cloth, etc., to achieve some really lovely and unique looks.
So...the first step is going to the fabric stores and finding the fabrics you want. Most rooms will take, at the most, 1/2 yard of fabric because that gives you a piece 18" x usually 44 or 45" so you'd probably have enough left to make pillows, bedspreads, curtains or something else you might want to add.
Next, get some double stick carpet tape (and forget you ever heard of glue!!)I get mine at Wal-Mart. They have a regular and an indoor/outdoor and I like the indoor/outdoor best - it's sturdier. Miniature shops sometimes sell a very good carpet tape that I've used, but it's yellowish colored and on the lighter weight fabrics the yellow color shows through and changes the color of the fabric. Also, purchase several sheets of white posterboard (just the cheap stuff like kids use for school projects).
For covering walls, follow these steps in the order given:
1. Cut the poster board to fit all three walls.
2. Cover the posterboard for the back wall with the carpet tape running it horizontally from side edge to side edge and cutting off any overhangs.
3. Peel the backing off just the top piece of tape and carefully place your fabric, trying to make certain that any pattern runs evenly across the top (ceiling edge) of the posterboard and leaving at least 1/2" overhang of fabric on each side. Then peel off the rest of the backing strips (I usually do two or three at a time) and gently press the material down working from the center out to the edges. Don't pull at the fabric.
4. Cover both side walls with carpet tape, but this time leave about 1/2" overhang of tape on each side edge. Wrap these overhangs around to the back of the posterboard. Cut off any other overhangs.
5. Again, peel off just the top piece of backing from the tape and carefully line up your fabric, making sure the pattern across the top is the same as the pattern across the top of the back wall and again leaving about 1/2" overhang. Wrap the overhang of fabric around to the back where it will adhere to the tape you wrapped around earlier.
Now you're ready to install the covered posterboard pieces. This can be done either with carpet tape or with glue. With carpet tape, you don't have the mess and you don't have to wait for drying time but the walls need to be well sealed and smooth or the tape has a tendency to come unstuck after a while. With glue, you will need to weight the pieces and tape the edges at the open sides of the room until the glue dries, but once it's dried, it's on there. Whichever method you select, install the back wall piece first, leaving the loose 1/2" overhanging fabric out to bend around the corner. Then install the side pieces over that overhang. This makes a very neat corner.
For covering floors just cut the posterboard to fit and affix the fabric with the carpet tape. On these, don't wrap around any of the edges because it would create too much bulk.
And that's all there is to it. That's a lot of words for what is really a simple procedure, but hopefully it will save you some of the trial and error I went through while I was experimenting.
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