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Old 12-15-2009, 12:14 PM   #1
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?




I am an artist living in a rented townhome and my studio is in the basement. I am able to produce my work in the basement, but I would really like to have a decent place to hang/install and photograph it for portfolio uses.

The wall in the basement is semi-finished (photo above) and not very flattering. Additionally, I would not want to apply tape, paint, wire, nails and whatever else to the landlord's existing wall. So what I really need is an attractive, fully-removable solution that would mimic a gallery environment, have the strength to hold reasonably heavy pieces (20 pounds?) and leave the original wall in the same condition. The concrete floor and unfinished ceiling are fine the way they are and I am only interested in the space between the green plastic on the left and the black pipe on the right.

What would be the best way to accomplish this? I have considered the following:
  • Framing a standard wall over the existing one. But this seems like overkill and may make the landlord uncomfortable.
  • Nailing shallow strips of wood over the studs, drywalling over them. Concerned about structural integrity and ease of removal.
  • Constructing some sort of movable wall in two/three sections that could be disassembled and reused at another location. I am not sure how to build it so that it could handle the load without falling over.
  • Covering the wall with a soft material that could receive push pins, nails, etc. We had this material on the walls at school, but I don't know what it's called. It was somewhat porous and all they did was repaint it every year to make it like new. Anyone know what I'm talking about? This would be the easiest/fastest/safest solution I think.
I am not an experienced home improvement person, so please word your comments accordingly. Thanks!

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:05 PM   #2
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?


how about 3 legged artist easels and a folding screen as a background? or perhaps hang a satin/silk sheet?

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Old 12-15-2009, 06:09 PM   #3
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?


I thought about the cloth covering idea, but I really need to be able to get rough with the wall surface for some of my pieces and the cloth would offer little protection. Maybe the only solution to having the appearance of a wall is to simply build a second wall?

I looked around Lowe's and Home Depot for that porous wall tile we had in art school, but found nothing. The closest thing was ceiling tile, but was too soft for nails and had too much texture.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:55 PM   #4
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?


get rough with the wall surface? i don't follow.....
i thought you just wanted to have a background to photograph your paintings....

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Old 12-15-2009, 07:15 PM   #5
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?


My work is not really made up of conventional paintings (ignore the canvases in the photo). It is more like a hybrid between painting and sculpture and is built off the wall using any number of materials. I will be nailing, taping and screwing things to the wall as the pieces are built/installed.

I don't have a place to install anything, so I cannot show you my current work, but here's a link to something similar to what I'm talking about:

http://www.alisespinella.com/pages.p...=1&activeType=
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:17 PM   #6
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?


The board you want is called Homosote(sp?) It's gray pressed fibers-Used for bulletin boards. I've seen it in big box stores.

I suggest you build a frame out of 2x2 s --nail or screw Homosote to the face-then staple fabric to cover it.

Use hooks and eyes to hang the display board from the ceiling joists, No harm to landlords place--Job done--MIKE--
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:50 AM   #7
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?


Thanks Mike! That is a great solution, especially the idea of hanging it from the ceiling joists...never thought of that. Though I may opt to drive a few nails and just mount it flush to the wall. Homasote can be purchased in 3/4" thickness, which should be deep enough to keep me from harming the existing wall no matter how crazy I get with the exterior. By the way, it is Homasote 440 SoundBarrier I plan on using for this project (they make several products).

Seriously, thanks. This has been a concern of mine for a very long time.

Last edited by datdere; 12-16-2009 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:15 AM   #8
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Best way to temporarily cover an unfinished wall for art hanging?


Just don't expect anything too heavy to hold on it for long. I hang and light art as part of what I do. I have seen many gallery clients go through all kinds of systems to preserve walls but the ones who do best just go into the walls with whatever fasteners and patch, prime and paint afterwards.

There are rail systems you can buy or create yourself that would not require a wall at all I guess but you should prime and paint that wall you have behind with a nice neutral gray. You will need some solid pipe, rebar that you hang from the rafters from hooks, with enough clearance so so you can get other hooks around the pipe. You will need some S or other such hooks you can attach to both ends of cable of whatever kind you decide works and then connectors to crimp the cable. They make cute little ones you need a mini-driver set to make work but they are adjustable.

Obviously, your pieces will need framing wire on the back for the S hooks to grab on to.

Nice you are thinking of your landlord! He/she won't mind if you finish that wall and keep it patched I am sure. They come in handy at times, but nails may not be the best choice for hanging art from drywall if it weighs 20 or more pounds unless you are in a stud. Former significant other has a nice and rather massive folk art collection. When I helped her move into one place the landlords, living next door, were really nervous with nails, screws, anchors, framing hooks and things going into nice walls. When she moved, they were shocked that they could not tell a hole, even those from the prior tenant, had ever been in the walls.

Every painter I know despises tapes and adhesives of any kind, and maybe the 3M things that claim not to do damage or leave marks when you remove them the most?

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