How to Make a Modern Wall Hanging with Plastic Canvas

03 Jun 2013

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Yee-Haw! I gotta declare the first Plastic Canvas Blog Hop a smashing success. Every participant came up with something super cool, and I think that collectively, we showed off a lot of things this humble medium can do. (See pictures and links at the bottom of this post.)

…And here I am, closing things out with this wall art project, which has been rolling around in my head for a long time.

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First, I took six sheets of 7-count canvas and trim them to 9 ¾" squares. Then I busted out my stash of Sugar 'n Cream yarn. I've written before about how much I love using this stuff for PC. It's cotton, so it has no stretch and a smooth finish. It provides very even coverage on the canvas, and the colors are yummy.

I used tent stitch to fill the canvases, which, I won't lie to you, required many hours of Arrested Development. And West Wing. And Mad Men. (If you'd like this process to go faster, I recommend trying some of the stitches in Mom's tutorial - they cover the canvas much faster and would look really cool in this context!)

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I didn't really plan the stitch design, other than to select five overall colors. I just started at the outside edge of each canvas and stitched in a spiral until I hit the center, changing colors when it felt right.

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A Few PC Tippy-Tips:

If you need to change colors, here's how: leave a tail of the old color laying against the back of the canvas. Start the new color, and leave a tail of it, too. Then, begin stitching with the new color, making sure to catch those two tails in your stitches at the back.

(Actually, this technique works any time you need to end one strand and start a fresh one.)

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I recommend orienting your stitches so you're always passing your needle down through the hole where the previous row of stitches is. That keeps you from kicking up fluff on the surface of your work as you pull the yarn through.

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The main thing to watch out for when you're doing PC work is this - when your yarn starts twisting up, all kinds of bad things can happen. This is when knots form. Twisted yarn also bunches up on itself, so you have to pull it harder to get it through the canvas. And that, in turn, beats the crap out of your yarn, so that by the end of the strand, it's all fuzzy and pilled-up.

Any time you notice your yarn doing this twisty thing as it's hanging from your work, take one second and twirl your needle in the opposite direction until the twist falls out. Problem solved!

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Here's my favorite part of the whole project - I was looking around for some mechanism to connect all the canvases into a single wall hanging when I found these colored paper clips. All they needed was a little modification.

I used wire cutters to cut away the inside bend. That left me with an elongated ring that was a little wider at one end.

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I slid the clip, then, through two canvases, placing the cut end toward the back. (And I made sure I was using holes in the same spot on each canvas, so things would hang straight.)

Then, to tidy things up in the back, I just used a little tab of clear tape to hold the two ends together. I placed clips in all the locations you see here - at each of the adjoining corners.

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I used little brad-type nails for hanging, because they have no heads and can hide in the canvas easily. You'll need one for the center of each of the three topmost panels. I just measured down from the ceiling to make sure they were all at the exact same height.

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Check out what the other blog hop participants made!