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thereby hangs a tale how to make a giant fabric photo wall hanging by Jen Hinst-White | 1 2 3
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gathering supplies
Now that you know how many pages you'll need, you can get your supplies.

  • Iron-on transfer paper. You can get this at any office supply store. The transfer paper is the most expensive ingredient in the project; our hanging consisted of 42 rectangles -- seven columns of 6 sheets each -- so we spent about $50-60 on the transfer paper alone.
  • Fabric. Fortunately, cheap fabric abounds; you can get unbleached muslin for a buck or two per yard. We decided to make our hanging using vertical strips that were each one tile wide by six tiles long. To figure out how many yards we needed, we calculated how long each strip needed to be (adding a little to allow for hems on both ends), multiplied it by the number of columns we had, and then divided it by four (since the muslin was 44" wide and each column was only about 11" wide).
  • Rods. We bought two bamboo poles, one to hang the top of the fabric from and one to weight the bottom. It's tough to get perfectly straight bamboo, and it made the hanging a bit skewed; I would recommend regular old dowels or poles instead.
  • Needle/thread or sewing machine. You'll need to make a wide hem on the top and bottom of the strips to run your rods through.
  • Optional: drill, heavy-duty twine, hooks. There are probably a number of ways to hang this thing, but this is what you'll need if you use our method.

Do a paper run-through first. It's tedious, but will give you a taste of the finished product before you go ahead with your iron-on transfer paper. Remember you are working with the reverse image here -- your finished product will look like this test print, but flipped.

If you're satisfied with your paper run-through, go ahead and print your iron-on transfers. If you want a seamless image without a grid running through it, trim the blank edges (a paper cutter comes in handy here).

cutting and ironing
You're about to embark on the most repetitive…er, meditative step in the whole process. Each transfer takes a few minutes to iron on; you may have at least a few dozen transfers. It's a little time-consuming. It helps if you can schedule this step to coincide with This American Life.

To begin: take a moment to fold the edge of your fabric around one of the rods so you know exactly how much room you'll need to leave for each hem. (Keep in mind you'll need a hem at the top and bottom.) Once you've figured out the exact length and width for your fabric panels, cut however many strips you need. It's important that they're all the same size. We decided to tear the fabric rather than cutting it with scissors, leaving the edges raw for a more natural look, but you could certainly hem the sides of the column if you wanted a tidier finish.

hop along this-a-way...

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