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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The "Great Wall of Fabric"....a fabric backdrop tutorial

You've seen all those fabric wall backdrops  haven't you?
They are so cute and easy and inexpensive right ......
 Yes, they are cute and they really aren't hard to make...just time consuming...
but they are not inexpensive! I repeat...they are NOT inexpensive!
Here is our story...
maybe it will help you if y'all are planning one of these in the near future.

We did not have a huge reception venue.  It was extremely charming but not overwhelming big. It is the bluegrass hall that Marcus and his family play at a couple times a month and Lydia kind of fell for her banjo playing man in this very building so it holds a special place in their heart .
We knew it wouldn't be as roomy as the family life center at the church. But we decided to go with.
It's a big open building with a gorgeous ceiling and hardwood floors...

But as you can see in this pic...the "kitchen" is right there in the open.
We wanted a way to separate it some and hide it.

and that is how The Great Wall of China Fabric came to be.

We found a web site that gave instructions on how to make the frame.
It is made of PVC pipe.
Here is the {link} we used. 
Your materials you need will depend on the measurements of your wall.

We wanted an eclectic look with lots of texture but we also were on a budget so we had to selective with our fabric.  Our wall was probably much longer than the average wall because of the size of the room and the length of the counter we were placing it behind. It was a massive 10 feet long and 7 feet high which made for lots of fabric.$$$$

**You need to start ripping your strips of fabric long before the day you need them.** 
This process takes time people.
Here is my my mom helping out on one of her visits
She is a fabric ripping beast I tell you!

She ripped all my fabric and then said I needed more. I was like, "No way mom...we have enough! That is a lot of fabric!"  But she kept insisting we would need more. 
Well, you are never too old to heed your momma advice and her word of warning kept running through my head so I convinced Nick to help me tie the strips to the pipe for a "test run"one day at home ....just to make sure.  (I definitely didn't want to be caught lacking the day of the wedding)

Well, we used up all the fabric.
It looks good right?..

Yeah....well that side of it does!  
My Momma was SO right. 

We only had enough fabric to cover half of it!

Yikes. I had to buy double than what I had anticipated.

Fortunately, there are a few Walmart stores left in the world that still has a fabric dept and we were able to get some extremely cheap fabric in the colors we wanted.
I so wish I would have kept track of how many yards we used.
Each strip was 2 1/2 yards long and you get around 15-18 strips in a 45in piece of fabric.....

This was Lydia the day before the wedding.
She loved The Great Wall of Fabric

Basically once you have your pvc frame made,
 you just have to tie on  the strips of fabric and viola! 
A beautiful backdrop.

But here are a few tips

  • If you are making one as long as ours, you will need support in the center.  We ended up adding an extra pipe and t fitting in the middle of ours.  When you have this much fabric, it gets super heavy and will begin to sag. (see the above picture with Chris and Blake holding it up)
  • We also added some extra support on the bottom by adding a "support foot" to the bottom of the frame and sat sandbags on top to weight it down.  (Are you now getting why I call this thing the Great Wall of Fabric?) ** if you have questions about this just send me an email
  • Also  I had planned on wrapping my pipe with fabric but my amazing momma just whipped up some covers on the sewing machine. Just take a wide strip of material and sew it together leaving a hole large enough for the pipe to slip through.  You can see that in the pic below on each side and on the support pipe in the  center.
  • Use any fabric you have on hand.  The sheer polka dot fabric was actually a curtain panel I bought at Dirt Cheap for $2!  
I pride myself in finding cheap ways to do really cute projects..
but this one snuck up and bit me.  I originally spent about $60 in fabric and about $20 on the pipe.
But for what what you see in the picture below, I had to buy double that.  So it ended up being an expensive project in my book!  But... even at approximately $150 ,give or take, that is pretty good for such a stunning backdrop.

It worked  out great for doing what we needed it to do in hiding the kitchen...

However, I don't intend to make another one any time soon....
At least not one 10 feet long and 7 feet tall!!!

Stephanie :)


  1. You should rent that thing out to people! You would make your money back. I am SURE someone would not mind paying $25 to rent it. LOTS of people. You can thank me for my brilliant ideas later.

  2. Or you could sell it on Etsy! Awwww yeah....

  3. Oh my goodness!!! This is too adorable and i adore it! :)


  4. Lovely! I had one made for my wedding out of ribbon and I was astounded my how much work went into it!

  5. hahahahaha LOLing right now!!! love your candid humor about it all---what a beautiful result!!!

  6. love it! I used to make garland for my is a lot of work!!!!!!! love the great wall of fabric...job well done :)

  7. it looks really cute, and what a great solution.

    i tend to discover that all the projects i think are going to be cheap are COSTLY. boo.


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