Stairway Upgrade

3 Materials
5 Hours

Our stairway is nice. The hardwood treads matched the rest of the flooring. But I had wanted to spruce up the stairwell a little for quite awhile and it was time to get it done.
I definitely did not want to mess with the treads - they are beautiful. But years ago I had seen someone post photos of the risers they'd decorated and I wanted to do something similar to the 13 risers I had.
3" Overhang
All the treads except the top one had a 3" overhang. This gave a lot of leeway into the medium I could use.
1/4" Overhang on Top Riser
Physically I was not able to stencil or paint directly on the risers so I got to work testing out different ideas. First I used card stock and attached Contact paper, both horizontally and vertically. Fail. The card stock was way too flimsy (the bottom two patterns.)

Next I tried the thicker poster board. I used gift wrap with Mod Podge and also adhered them in both directions but that was also a fail. Still too flimsy (the top two patterns). But the fails gave insight into what needed to change.
At this point hubby saw what was going on and loved it - especially the horizontal stripes. He didn't want anything to be attached permanently, though. After reviewing with him what I had tried already I used a piece of fabric as a test. Bingo! Time to shop.

Home Depot had the MDF board that would be used as a backing - one 4'x8' sheet provided the 12 panels needed for the risers. HD was kind enough to rip them. I subtracted 1/8" from the actual measurement to allow for variances in the wood.

I then painted both sides of the panels with paint/primer I already had. This was so there wouldn't be any dark spots or shading to show through the fabric.
We both liked the idea of three different patterns and our shopping spree included a run to the Fabric Store. We decided on the patterns and bought one yard of each.

The fabric was cut and glued to the panels for 12 of the 13 risers. I did not extend any fabric past the front edge so the pieces were cut to actual size of the panels - no folding or overlapping.
Because the top riser had a very small overhang, I chose to use poster board instead of MDF. And so the top edge would not show I did wrap the fabric past the sides to the back.

The three fabrics we selected were each used four times to cover 12 risers. Since the top riser made this an odd number, I used the test fabric I had used earlier. At the end there was one piece of fabric left of all four patterns to use in the future should any be ruined for some reason.
And here's the final! No sewing needed. And if we wanted to change the panels all we'd have to do is turn them over - except for the top one, they are reversible.

Suggested materials:

  • Fabric  (The Fabric Store)
  • MDF  (Home Depot)
  • Ruler, Scissors, Glue  (Already Had)

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