Monday, February 24, 2014

Design Wall, Ver. 2.0

Before we moved to this big, beautiful home, I had a lovely little studio in my previous house. My intrepid husband, always willing to do what I needed, built for me a fabulous, 7 foot by 7 foot design wall. It became a source of tremendous inspiration, as well as an excellent location to take photographs of my light-weight work.

Fast-forward to today: a new studio demands a new design wall. I'm going to take you through the process of building one of these incredibly handy- and for me, indispensable- tools.

While for the last wall I had a huge area to work with, this time I've made the conscious decision to take up some of what could have been my new design wall to hang my rolls of paper and painters' canvas. The new design wall will be 5ft 8in. x 8 feet. More than enough room!

We're starting with sheets of foam insulation. I like being able to stick t-pins into the completed design wall without hitting the drywall behind it, so we're doubling up the sheets.

Our first task is to cut them to size. The sheets come 4 foot by 8 foot, so we're leaving the 4' width alone and just trimming the 8' length to the needed 5 foot 8 inches.

These sheets come covered on both sides with a thin film of plastic which helps in making clean cuts, but in order to laminate one sheet to another (to get my double thickness), we have to remove the plastic from both sides of the insulation.

Next, the sheets need to be glued together. There is a special foamboard adhesive that needs to be used- other adhesives could easily eat right through the Styrofoam.

A thick bead of glue should do the trick. Then we position one sheet on top of another, making sure they are aligned well and that the stamped text on the sheets is facing the inside of the foam sandwich. Later on when we cover the design wall with batting and felt, you won't see the lettering shining out from underneath. We press the sheets together and tape them along the edges to keep them from slipping out of position while the glue sets up.

We go through the exact same process with two more sheets. Once we have two sets of insulation laminated together, they go under weights overnight to give the glue time to cure.

Because we had four fairly large pieces left over after cutting 2'4" off the end of each sheet, I have decided to create portable design boards with the excess. Here is one of them already glued and taped.

Once the twin sections of foam board had cured overnight, it was time to get them up onto the wall.

The first section went up using long wood screws with washers. The screws went into the studs because even though we don't expect the design wall to carry a lot of weight, it doesn't hurt to be safe.

The second section went up next, above the first.

As you can see, we didn't bother removing the blue painters tape. I hope that won't be an issue later on.

Next, two double-thickness layers of cotton batting went up.

We attached them at the top, around the sides and at the bottom with heavy t-pins.

It looks kinda crappy right now because we pooped out and didn't get the next layer- cotton felt- attached. Once we get that up, we will trim all layers of batting and felt to neaten up the appearance.

I'll post photos of it next weekend once it's finished!

In the meantime, create with your loved ones!


ILikeSpoons said...
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Lisa Chin said...

Ugh, my daughter keeps using my computer and I don't realize she has signed me out until I post a comment. Sorry about that -

Love the new design wall. It will be fabulous! Great job!

Jeannie said...

Thanks for this timely post! I am to the point of being done with the purge/move stage and a design wall is next on the list. (When we built the nest, the builder was impressed that I measured where the studs were. We have a "stud finder" but having a clue as to where they are makes it easier.) Have fun creating new works on the design wall!

Shoshi said...

Brilliant idea! I look forward to seeing the new design wall with some art on it. I've got a new studio too, but no room for a design wall, I'm afraid. I have a small display area for my finished pieces and work by others, which makes a nice focus in the room.

Kathy said...

When we built my design wall, we just used the thicker insulation--no gluing! Best design wall ever--wish everyone had space to make one. Can't design without one now!

Jane Davies said...

Can I just say? You don't need a husband to do this. It doesn't take a ton of strength, or special skill available only to those with a Y chromosome.

Brilliant idea, Judi!! THANKS for the step by step.