How To Begin Draping Fabric

Written by jen randall
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How To Begin Draping Fabric
Begin draping by choosing the right fabric, such as tulle or satin. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Event-planning novices lament the difficulty of knowing where to begin when it comes to draping fabric. While the outcome can be stunning -- a cold, impersonal space transformed into a warm, magical place -- the process can seem daunting, particularly with all the other things to do when planning a wedding or other formal ceremonial event. Yet, careful, thorough planning can ensure that the work leading up to the time when the fabric will actually be draped is as rewarding as the effect you will achieve.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Decide where you want to drape fabric. If it is an indoor space, look around to what needs to be covered, where space might be made more intimate or formal. Fabric can be used to cover up something unsightly or to add class and character to a venue space.

  2. 2

    Check draping ideas with the manager or coordinator in charge of the space. Confirm that draping is allowed. Discuss any specific instructions or relevant limitations the venue might have, such as purchasing insurance or using specific hooks, and how long you have after the event to remove the draping.

  3. 3

    Measure the space where you would like to drape the fabric. If you want to cover all or part of a ceiling, for instance, use the complementary floor measurements. Add footage based on how low you would like the drape to fall.

  4. 4

    Choose a fabric. Tulle is a popular option for weddings, baptisms and other ceremonial parties. Low in cost and easy to manipulate, tulle is light and can add a whimsical touch. Heavier fabrics such as cotton blends or polyester can add warmth to a room. Avoid rigid, brightly coloured or heavily patterned fabrics.

  5. 5

    Draw a mock-up. Based on the space, the measurements and the drawing, make an estimation of the amount of fabric you'll need. Also, note any other accessories or decorations that will accompany the drape, such as balloons, ribbons, flowers or tinsel.

  6. 6

    Purchase or acquire the fabric. Show a sales person, event coordinator, designer or planner the picture and the measurements and make an estimation of the amount of fabric that will be needed and what should be used to hold it. If using a lot of fabric in a room that will have candles, be sure to buy flame-resistant fabric or a protectant that can be applied to the fabric.

  7. 7

    Organise who will drape the fabric, when and how. Select a team of volunteers or hire a coordinator to sort out the logistics. Set up a specific time when the work can take place. Set aside any and all materials that will be needed, such as a ladder, tape, pins and ribbons.

  8. 8

    Confirm with the fabric-draping team the night before the event that they will still be able to help. Thank them in advance for their help.

Tips and warnings

  • Hiring a coordinator to organise and orchestrate event decorating can cut down on stress.
  • Ceiling draping can be very time-consuming and labour-intensive. Ceiling draping should be used when there is nothing else in the room, such as chairs and tables.

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