Decorate a Ceiling in a Grand Tent Style

As discussed in a previous post, there are a couple good reasons for decorating a ceiling as part of your dance decorating plans. Today, we will go into detail on the how-tos of covering a ceiling with a tent-style gossamer decoration.

Selecting the Best Width of Gossamer

For a very small party room – let’s say 20’ square — you might be able to use gossamer strips that are 19” wide, but for most applications you’ll want a 60” or 107” width. A high school basketball court is 50’x84’ so if you are decorating a gym, you’ll need to go as wide as possible so you can get the job done with many fewer strips of material.

Fastening the Gossamer

You achieve the tented look by fastening one end of each strip to a central ring or disc, and draping it outward to a corner or wall. You can use a metal ring or a ½” thick disc of plywood with a 3’ diameter. How high you suspend the ring or disc is up to you. Do remember to allow for the drape when calculating headroom.

With a ring, just pass one end of a strip gathered to a 2-3” width under the ring and reverse it over the ring so you can staple the streamer to itself. This method will hide both the ring and the ends. If using a disc, staple the gathered gossamer end directly to the disc.

What looks best is each strip gradually unfolding as it radiates outward, but not all the way. Fasten the gossamer to the wall in a soft pleat or gather that is about half as wide as the original strip; in other words, a 107” strip of gossamer will be fastened at about a 54” width. (See why wider is better?)

If you are unable to attach the gossamer directly to the wall, another option is to place screw eyes at the desired height and to string wire or a strong (30 or 40 lb. test) monofilament wire through them. This would be the preferred method, also, if you want the gossamer to continue to drape down the wall to the floor in part(s) of the room, perhaps in the corners or along the sides of the entrance or stage.

Get the corners of the tent fastened first, and fill in from there. Try not to obsess! As you can see from the photo above, it is not necessary to drape every strip at the exact same height nor to cover every inch of ceiling in order to elicit the wonderful effects of tenting.

Measuring the Gossamer

Start by measuring from where the ring/disc will be positioned out to the farthest corner and add some length for fastening, swag (droop) and wall draping (where applicable). If the ring/disc is perfectly centered you know all 4 corners will be the same length; if not centered, you just need to take more measurements.

For a ballpark material measurement total for budget purposes, just take your corner measurement (or average of multiple corner measurements) and multiply it by the number of strips you anticipate fastening to your ring/disc. The circumference of a 36” circle is 58”, which leaves room for a maximum 19 gathered, fastened ends of 3” width.

Of course, more measurements mean greater precision, and running a test strip or two will also give you good information to use when proceeding with this project. If you need help, contact Stumps Customer Service.

We hope you find this tutorial about tenting useful as you plan the big event!

One response to “Decorate a Ceiling in a Grand Tent Style

  1. You ‘re so innovative! I don’t suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. I like reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!.

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