...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I warned you this post was coming.  I decided to hang my custom fabric art with twine and grommets just to be a little different.  Here’s how I added the grommets to my drop cloth.  I purchased this Bostitch grommet kit from Lowe’s for less than $7.

The hardware guy at Lowe’s told me it was meant to be used on tarps but since it was the only grommet kit they carried, I figured I could make it work.  I measured my drop cloth and calculated how many grommets I would need…I came up with 7.  The shiny gold metal wasn’t the look I was going for, so I spray painted the grommet fronts black.  {If you won’t be seeing the back of the grommets, there’s no need to paint the back.} I’ve got a stash of black and white spray paint in our basement just for projects like this.

Next I used the tool in the kit that looks like a cylinder to cut a hole in the fabric for the grommet placement.  One end of the cylinder has a sharp metal ring on it that cuts through the fabric when the opposite end is tapped with a hammer.

As shown above, you will need a hard solid surface under the fabric.  I just grabbed a wood scrap from the garage and pounded out a small hole.

I pushed the front of the grommet {the part I spray painted black} through the hole.  This shows what the grommet/fabric art looks like from the back…

I slipped a {gold} ring onto the back of the {black} grommet.  Remember, you won’t see the gold ring from the front.

I wasn’t able to take any photos of this final step, as both of my hands were preoccupied. Basically, I placed the tool from the Lowe’s kit that splays out the back of the grommet onto the back of my pushed-through grommet.  There’s also a circular ‘base’ to put underneath the front of the grommet to hold it in place while you splay the back.  Then I pounded, and I mean POUNDED, it with a hammer to flatten out the grommet and secure it.  This takes some muscle.  At first, I was just tapping and getting nowhere fast.  Then I got mad, took it out on the grommet and it worked.  I repeated all of this for 6 more grommets.

If you look closely, you’ll see a little gold peeking through the black spray paint where the grommet got scratched while I was hammering away.  I wasn’t planning on that happening but I ended up liking it.  It lends an older, worn look.

On a side note, I actually traced and painted the text onto the drop cloth while it was hanging.  I had a transparency made {at Staples} and projected it onto my hanging fabric.  I found it much easier to paint on a vertical surface as opposed to painting it on the floor.  I outlined each letter and filled them in with a 1″ foam brush.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it took me about 10 minutes to finish one letter.  {You do the math.}  But I wasn’t in a hurry, and I took frequent breaks.

I did have to be careful not to saturate the fabric with paint so that it didn’t soak through to the wall behind.  But all-in-all, I preferred standing up to hunching over.  We’re very much enjoying our new artwork.  Layne has just learned to read, so he likes to sound out all the words.  Then he always asks, “Why did you put that on the wall?”  Like I’m some crazy person.  Maybe I am.



Dana – I’m bookmarking this. Great tutorial!

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This is so awesome. Your art work looks great!
I’ve been thinking of buying fabring to make custom curtain pannels and this is a great idea to incorporate the grommets into the panels. Thanks for sharing this tutorial, im definitely buying those soon.

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Found your blog through an Apartment Therapy post about Halloween decorations, and now I am adding you to my blog reader. Looking forward to all your ideas!

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What kind of paint did you use on the grommets? I tried enamel (dried for three days) and it scratched up really badly when I set the grommet.

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replied on October 31st, 2010

Carolyn – I just used black gloss spray paint from Lowe’s. Nothing special. Mine did scratch up a bit after I set them but I kind of like that they look worn, old.

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how much was the grand total that was spent on this project?

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replied on January 8th, 2011

Natalie – If you’re wanting to know how much the grommet kit cost, it was less than $7. The total cost of the entire fabric art was less than $25…I already had the paint….with paint included maybe $40.

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Just curious… what font did you use?

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How exactly did you go about getting a transparency made??

Did you pick the font and email it to Staples??

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replied on March 15th, 2011

Arell – I chose my font and layout {just by eyeballing} and created a document on my pc. I printed out the quote onto paper at home using my pc and printer. I took the paper printed image to Staples and had it printed onto a transparency there. It took just a few minutes.

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How did you project the transparency? Do you own a projector? Rent one? Just curious.

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replied on July 14th, 2011

Salina – We actually borrowed a projector from HH’s work. You could try asking a local school, library or university to do the same…we thought about that before we remembered that HH’s work had one.

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