Often while I’m playing with my three year old, I find myself scanning the room, zeroing in on areas that need a little TLC. Recently my eyes landed on the corner of our living room where we have our piano. The piano has never received any thoughtful decorating. In fact, I’ve basically ignored it as it is old and not very pretty to look at. I began to consider creating a space that would be more attractive and encouraging for my daughters to practice their lessons.
I started with making a slipcover for the piano bench as it was the only place to introduce some softness. I like animal prints – they are fun and a bit youthful. The trick to using them in your decor is to do it in small doses – a single pillow or ottoman or perhaps a lamp shade. In other words, a little goes a long way. Animal prints also work in almost any decor because they “read” as a neutral.
While I could have purchased some zebra fabric, I wanted to try making my own using a good old cotton dropcloth that I preshunk and softened by washing in hot water and drying on high heat. Elizabeth and I use dropcloths all the time. They are our favorite go to fabric for slipcovers and table runners.
Here’s the materials I used for this project – a dropcloth, acrylic paint, fabric medium and two brushes.
Fabric medium thins the paint and helps it go on the fabric easier. I also used this photo of a zebra covered ottoman as a guide to painting the stripes.
Incidentally, doesn’t this bathroom look great with the pop of animal print? I don’t think this photo would have even caught my eye if the ottoman weren’t in the picture.
First I cut the dropcloth the size of the bench seat plus an extra 1/2 inch all the way around for seams. For the pleated skirt, I knew I needed about 3 times the actual perimeter of the bench. For these pieces, I used the four sides of the dropcloth as they are already hemmed. I ripped 4 strips of fabric, 4 1/2 inches wide. That’s another great thing about dropcloths – you can make a little cut with your scissors and then literally rip the fabric. It actually gives you a straighter cut than if you did it with scissors and it’s super fast.
Then I folded the piece for the seat in half longways and ironed the fold. This gave me a center “line” from which to paint my zebra stripes.
You don’t need to be very exact with this. My edges are a bit ragged and I think it just adds to the look of real fur. After I painted the large piece and the 4 strips, it was time to make the pleated skirt. First I seemed the 4 strips together so I had one long piece. Then I started folding the fabric in about 1 1/2″ folds and machine basting the folds in place.
I didn’t measure the folds. I just “eyeballed” it to get them about the same. Then it was time to attach the skirt to the top. Right sides together, I sewed the skirt to the top piece, starting on one of the short sides of the top piece.
When I got back to where I started, I cut off all but about an extra inch of skirt, folded the raw edge under, and sewed it in place, overlapping my starting point by about an inch.
I like the pleated skirt to add a touch of femininity but I think it would look equally as nice doing a straight tailored skirt. This was a fun, easy slipcover to make and I like the texture that was created from painting on the fabric.
To complete the corner, I styled the top of the piano with a vintage scale that I had, balanced with a philodendron in a chamber pot (with a broken off handle) on one side and some old church hymnals on the other.
And to encourage my daughters to practice I did a little chalk art on my framed chalkboard.
Here are a couple of other piano makeovers I like.
I love how the plates show movement. And how about that great turquoise color! Wow!
This one, painted a bold yellow, looks crisp and modern.
Who new pianos could be so stylish! Happy decorating! Debra