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FABRIC WALL PANELS: Simple clean edges

Fabric wall panels

Fabric wall panels is a simple way for adding color and texture to a flat surface. I am about to show you how to make a fabric panel without stapling the fabric. This solution presented today has several advantages. It is a superior finish compare to wrapping the fabric around a frame. The work is done by facing the panel at all time. All instructions are a little further below.

To begin, fabric wall panels have a very clean finish with edges free from welts, or braids. In fact, the fabric fits on a slim track and can be easily change in the future.

But, before I carry on, you may decide to add a cord around the perimeter. There is another method available to you. Please note that I wrote a previous article called Wall upholstery 101. It speaks about a fabric installation slightly different as it requires gluing decorative trimmings all around the panel.

Where to get the track and What tools do I need?

For one thing, you can find tracks and tools at the same place. Visit the website  CleanEdgeSystem.com.  Look for CES tracks. For cutting each length take a sharp cutter. If you do not have one, then I suggest that you browse the same website. Or simply go to the page track cutter tool. It can be used for various project in your home. I personally love the cutter, as it is a powerful, precise hand tool. Watch a short video on YouTube to see it in action. You will find other small tools too. Moreover, you have the possibility of buying these supplies over the phone.

On the positive side, fabric wall panels like this one do not require any sewing. Make sure your panel’s width are a few inches smaller than the fabric you need to purchase.

How is the fabric fitted to the panel?

The fabric is fitted with a special spatula and not stapled which is much easier to install. Look at the pictures below.

The list of tools necessary is as follow:

♠ A track cutter for cutting each length of CES track.
♠ A stapler or brad nailer. A compressor. A ladder if needed.
♠ A spatula with a rounded edge for fitting the fabric. A pair of scissors. That’s it.

Fabric wall panels tips

Overall, the installation is easy. There is one thing you need to double check. Make sure you have a minimum ⅜ inch of thickness at the base of your molding or frame. Why? Once fitted the track takes ¼ inch in space, add the thickness of the fabric. So ⅜ inch is enough to secure the fabric by the molding.
CES track is slim, flexible and lightweight which is really nice because it goes everywhere. Even if a wall or sheet rock is not leveled.

For the materials, get a box of CES tracks, your yardage of fabric with a little extra and padding such as polyester Dacron or other to make soft cushioned panels.

In case you are interested, there is already a video called How to install CES track. Here is the link if you prefer.

Now that I have presented the fitting system, let’s see some pictures. First a few images on the track followed by the fabric.

                                                          Fabric wall panels instructions
CES TRACK on a panel
CES track fitted on the first side of a wall panel
cutting CES track
Cut CES track with a cutter make a miter corner
stapling clean edge system track to the wall
Stapling clean edge system track to the 2nd side

Repeat on 4 sides, then add the padding.

Add the padding. Staple on the panel, not the track
Add the padding. Staple on the panel, not on the track

Next, the fabric installation, it is also a simple process.
Measure the panel height add 5 inches maximum. Cut the fabric to the desire length. Now, take your spatula in one hand; hold the fabric over the panel with another. Start fitting by pushing the fabric between the track and the molding with the spatula in a rocking motion.

fit the fabric over the panel
Fit the fabric over the panel. Use the spatula to press down. Rock it for inserting between the frame and track
use a spatula for fabric fitting
Hold across the panel, and secure the other side
Keep fabric straight and secure third corner
Keep fabric straight and secure third corner
Cut the excess fabric. Leave about 2 inch

Once all sides are secured, cut excess fabric, as it will be in your way. Leave at least two inches to hold the fabric. Now, the 4 corners are temporarily fitted on the panel. Work your way round the molding. In case you need to adjust the cloth, pull it out of the track and fit back with the spatula. Do this until the cloth is in the correct position. For best result, get this hand tool. Besides, this metal spatula is specially designed for wall upholstery installation. It has a quarter round shape which is perfect for inserting the fabric.

spatula for wall upholstery
Use the spatula to side by side.
fabric panel installation
Work your way around the panel.
installation of fabric on panel
Take your time. Pull the fabric out if at the wrong place and secure back in the track

When you are satisfied with the installation, trim the fabric closed to the edge. Leave about 3/8 to ½ inch of fabric. Final step is to insert the remaining of the cloth in the track. Keep rocking back and forth with your spatula until it has disappeared in the system.

trim the fabric around the panel

Finally remove all hanging threads.

Repeat the same procedure for all fabric wall panels.


An example of fabric wall panels

Below is a dining room completely upholstered with fabric wall panels. The two opposite walls are divided in 5 equal panels size. For the wall with the windows fabric wall panels are narrower. The fabric is a light linen print in yellow bringing a little sunshine in the room.

Meanwhile if you are ready with your fabric wall panels project go to the online store, learn about the track system and other tools. For further information, I will be happy to answer questions you may have.

fabric wall panels
Fabric wall panels made with clean edge system tracks. Interior designer Hollie Sutherland,CT
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