I have wanted to create wall art by stretching large-patterned fabrics on canvas frames for a while but just haven’t gotten around to it. Quinn’s birthday party seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the technique and make a big impact. This Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voile fabric pattern is too small to work with a frame this large for wall art but with the letters on top it somehow works. This fabric is an almost sheer voile but with a cotton or canvas you could easily use just stretcher bars, available in bins at any art supply store, rather than a stretched canvas and save some $$.

Get the easy DIY for the DIY Happy Birthday Sign after the jump.
What you need:

8.5″x11″ card stock. I cut 6 – 3.5″x4.25″ rectangles from each sheet.
Alphabet stencils (available at any office supply or craft store)
Acrylic Paint. This was Folk Art Artists’ Pigment – 481 Aqua.
Artists Canvas Frame or Stretcher Bars
A piece of fabric 3″ longer and wider than your canvas.
Sponge Brush
Staple Gun
Ruler & Pencil
Baker’s twine (or any yarn/thread)
Decorative tape. I used Washi Tape
Tiny adorable clothes pins for added farm-y cuteness.

1. Lay your stencils out on your cards in position. An easy cheat here would be to simply print out your letters directly onto the card stock from your computer then cut.

2. Hold a stencil in place and use your sponge brush to dab paint into stencil.

3. Lift stencils off and let dry.

4. Place your fabric down WRONG-SIDE-UP and place your canvas on top.

5. Starting at the center of one side, fold your fabric up over the back and staple into the wooden frame.

6. On the opposite side, directly across the frame pull the fabric tightly without stretching it and staple.
7. Pull the opposite sides tightly and staple at center.
8. Now working on all sides simultaneously, add staples, working your way from center, out to the corners, pulling tightly as you go.

9. When you get to the corner, fold your fabric in (like the end of a wrapped present) and fold up so the crease is right on the corner.

10. Fold the fabric und just a bit on the back so it will be hidden from view.

11. Staple in place. Repeat for remaining corners.

12. It will look like this, except prettier, because you will use a big bold pattern.

13. Position a letter from each of your rows and adjust to fit as desired. Measure to the top edge of each row and make a note.

14. Turn over the canvas and mark your measurements down both sides of the back.

15. Wrap a length of twine around the front of the canvas and into position on the back. Staple into place

16. Tie the twine up around the top of the staple in a double knot. Repeat on other side (pulling the thread tightly) and then repeat on both sides for the other 2 rows.

17. It will look like this from the front.

18. Lay your letters out in position.

19. Add a piece of decorative tape to the back top edge of one card. Trim tape if necessary.

20. Slide tape up under twine and fold over. Use your thumb nail to press down and secure the tape. Repeat for all letters.

21. Then, to the top of each card, we added tiny clothes pins from Paper-Source (but they also sell them at Michaels) to reflect the country feel of the day!

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