What to do when you have limited space in your home, a limited budget and a party to plan? Transform an unused space with fabric!   Garages are the unsung heroes of what would otherwise be a rained out party.  By using fabric to cover all the nooks and crannies, you can instantly turn your basic storage space into a party palace.

Now, you can do this by renting very expensive pipe and drape.  But you can also do it yourself by using a thin fabric or even plastic, such as the tablecloth plastic you can get in a roll.  The fabric I like to use is called tissue lame.  It’s very, very lightweight, comes in amazing colors (many with a metalic thread running through that gives it a very cool sheen) and is relatively inexpensive.

The biggest challenge is adhering the fabric to the walls.  The simplest technique, and the one I usually employ for garages, is push pins.  I use the kind with a 1/4" plastic head, not just a flat head like thumbtacks. With these, I can hang decor elements, like banners and flat artwork as well.  If you're working in a space where it is not possible to put holes in the walls, you’ll want to use something that leaves no mark, but has strength, like earthquake putty.

Here are a couple of tips for measuring, buying and hanging your fabric.

To determine the amount of fabric you will need per wall:  Measure your wall - height and width.  Measure the width of your material.  Plastic rolls, for example, come in 36” wide rolls, 100 feet long.  So, if you’ve got 9 foot walls you’ll be able to get about 11 strips of fabric per roll.  I find it wise to allow a tiny bit of leeway to fold over edges.  So, I would actually figure on 10 strips per roll.

To determine the amount of fabric you will need per room: Take the measurement of the walls in the room in feet and multiply it by 12.  For example, a 10 x 10 room is 40 feet (4 walls at 10 feet) X 12 (number of inches in a foot), which gives us 480 inches.  Divide this number by the width of your fabric.  Again, I tend to be very conservative and give myself an overlap of 3 inches on each side of the fabric to allows for bumps, shelves, etc.  So, I would subtract 6" from the width of the fabric, giving me 30 inches.  Divide the wall total (480) by the fabric total (30) to get the total number of strips you need (16).  16 strips of plastic is two rolls.  If you were using fabric it will come in yards.  Multiply the number of strips by 3 to get your total yardage - in this case 16 x 3 = 48.  You’d need 48 yards of fabric.  Erring on the side of a little more I would go for 50 yards.

How to attach the fabric:  Make sure you have plenty of time and a good ladder.  Cut your fabric as cleanly and as square possible.  If using tacks, fold the edge that you are attaching over about 2 inches.  This gives you a bit more to grab and an extra layer of fabric.  If you are using putty, place a good sized piece every 6 inches, attach to the wall and rub to secure. Overlap your next strip by 3 inches, continuing around the room.  It’s a great workout for the glutes!  If you have something odd that you want to cover, like a big tv or fireplace, wrap the item like a present.  It can make a great centerpiece for a pretty flower or a sign once it’s covered.

Another fun thing to do is cover a long, flat wall with paper.  For past events, we have covered entire hallways with black paper and let the kids write on it with black paper markers.  It became an amazing centerpiece to the party as the kids and adults added their signatures, well wishes, and artistic expressions.

Fabric is flexible, beautiful, and offers you so many options to transform any area you might have.  And the best thing about it, once the party is over you can make awesome tablecloths, sewing projects or pack it away for next year!