Bookshelves DIY: Sling Book Display Ideas Tutorial

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Finished Product

Our DIY Book Sling Display Tutorial

A few years ago we were extremely inspired by this blog post from the delightful Penny Carnival, and of course there followed a series of them like this one where we just loved the colour combination. These tutorials on sewing a sling book display were popping up all over in the US and we knew that one day we wanted to put our Aussie hand to the task. We put this idea in the back of our head and when we started planning our playroom we though okay, this is the spot! Now we are stoked to share our Australian resources for this project with you.

What you need:

A piece of fabric 120 x 108cms – or alter to suit your space
2 long pieces of dowel ~120cms long or alter to suit the length required for your space
2 double curtain rod brackets
A handy girl or guy that owns or has access to:

  • –  A level
  • –  Stud finder (or if you are good at it, just knock on the wall and you will hear the difference in sound :P)
  • –  A pencil
  • –  A sewing machine and thread

We sourced our fabric on Etsy and from my stash (Amy Butler Lotus Tea Box Cherry and Pink Wallflower) and our hardware was from Bunnings. Oh! I’m such a fabric junkie [wanders off into mind, blissing out, imagining swimming in puddle of Amy Butler Lotus prints]. Ok I’m back. Have no cash? Try your local oppie for both the brackets and fabric too.

We encourage to support your local hardware store, we can also say that we did investigate find a more ornate bracket for our wall book display online but we came up trumps. I must say that for us the plain brackets have been just fine as the fabric is eye catching. I don’t love that you can see the screw head but okay, all in all it looks good. [Toning down the OCD]. With the Aussie version that we bought, we paid around $4 each bracket and they were available in white or black. Bunnings will often cut down a dowel rod for you so that can work out cheaper depending on your length/width required. Make certain that the dowel rod you buy fits the curtain brackets you also purchase. The dowel rod recommended in the US versions does not fit the curtain brackets we can buy here, so I adjusted to suit.

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What you do:

Get it level.We started out measuring the gap to confirm the fabric required and decided to put the brackets up at that point. (This pic is my DH: super handy guy. Mostly will feature in the blog wearing trackies and dirty work clothes LOL. He has a day job and when he’s home he wants to be comfy!! :P)Measure Twice Cut Once :P

Mark everything out with pencil before you get going. We did the double sling, and getting the measurements right is very important. Particularly measuring that the brackets are the same distance from the wall. You can use your dowel to get these level by placing the dowel in the first bracket, and placing your level atop the dowel to find the right angle along with your measuring tape to correct the distance from the wall. try to think about where your studs are to get the sling hanging on something more than just plaster. If there is no stud, consider using Wallmates – we did.

Hardware part over with, get sewing. Don’t be intimidated. AT ALL. This is straight sewing.  An awesome project for a beginner sewist that will have your heart singing as you admire your work each day. By the way if you are just starting out sewing, you need to check out this book A – Z of Sewing. I have linked you to the spiral bound version because this is a ridiculously handy book with lots of step by step stuff in it and I think the ability to have it sit open is worth the extra $10 odd. But if you are budgeting, it is available in paperback too.

What my mother and her mother before her have taught me, as well as what I have learnt in sewing classes with Maree and from experience, is that the basics of ironing your fabric before during and after as well as and pinning generously makes a massive difference to the look of your end product. If you sacrifice in this area you will sacrifice professional finish in your end product. If you make a mistake, fix it and if you are sewing curves, you absolutely must clip and notch (see pg 58 in A – Z of Sewing). Anyways today this is straight sewing.

Remember the basics1. Iron and then fold your fabric in half right sides facing and sew around the 2 long sides and halfway down the short side.

2. Iron the rectangle and then iron and pin down your rod pockets. You can see that I used my trusty Dritz Ezy Hem but only to make things quick and precise. It’s a sort of metal ruler you can iron on.

3. Turn the rectangle right way out and iron it, making sure to get the corners out – you can use a chopstick or any random object. Begin topstitching the entire rectangle, first to sew the opening shut and then sew around the entire rectangle with an approximate 1/4 inch seam allowance.

4.  Iron and pin down the rod pockets. To do this you fold a flap of your rectangle down 2 inches. I iron it down first, pin and then sew. Then next side: iron, pin, sew, and you’re done. Yep – that easy. I used my previous stitches as a guide, sewing on top of them (in the ditch).

Let me say that you can see, this isn’t my straightest sewing – but I always aiming to ‘get it done’ these days, and doing my best to let perfection go for the sake of actually doing something with and for my family. For the most part you can’t really even see the sewing here but if you are going to be particular, sewing the rod pockets down is the area where you should pay the most attention.

To finish simply slide the rods into the rod pockets you have created and lay them on the curtain rod holders. Ready to bring books to life as a feature in your child’s bedroom or playspace.

Pippa: Director at Buxton Baby




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