Originally Posted by Claybe
I know that several of you have used staples. Can you describe the method you used? Also I thought I remembered seeing a link to stretching and stapling methods but looked through the thread and couldn't find it.
This worked for me. Don't know what the "right" way to do it is.
A thousand words is worth a picture (or video) so here you go.
Cut the spandex roughly to size and lay it out on the frame (or under if you are wrapping it around to the back as I did.
Start on a long side. Line up the edge of the spandex along the edge of the frame.
Place one staple directly in the middle of the length of the side. Then pull the material along the length of the side and place a staple on each end.
If this is the first layer then pull it taught, if this is the reflective layer than just give it enough stretch to pull out wrinkles and prevent sagging.
Continue to work along the one side. Cut the distances on either side of the center staple in half again with other staples and keep going until you have a complete row of staples no more than an inch apart.
When the one long side is done, switch to the opposite side. Start with the center staple of the opposite side, then pull the fabric and staple near the ends of the second side. This is a bit tricky because now you have two directions in which to maintain an even stretch; left and right, and across the screen. Once the second side is done, start on the short ends in the same way.
When all sides have been stapled you will be left with just the corners. You will want to cut out some of the fabric on either side of the corner but leave enough to staple. I tuck the edges in then pull the tip of excess fabric right at the corner over top of them and staple several times.
The last step is to trim the excess spandex from the perimeter. The side you started on shouldn't require trimming if you stapled right along the edge. The other three sides will need to be trimmed. If you have done a good job of keeping the tension equal all the way around, the off cuts will be close to the same width all the way along a particular edge. In fact, when pulling the fabric for stapling I strive to have the overhangs straight, then I know the tension is even.
I have done it often enough that the technique comes easily, but I remember my first piece being a bit wacky. Thankfully the first layer isn't the visible layer so if you goof up just pop a few staples and try again.
Spandex is very stretchy, which makes it easy to wrap around a frame, but difficult to tension evenly.
This is probably a lot more confusing then it seems in my mind.