Fatheads are very large graphics printed on vinyl. The back of the Fathead is covered with an adhesive product designed to release from a standard smooth drywall surface. The most common Fathead products are sports players and helmets. These images -- lifesize or larger -- are designed to be used as decor items in a family or game room that's heated and air conditioned. Smaller Fatheads are also available; you can also have your own custom fathead made using your own images.
The Fathead website recommends washing your smooth surface drywall wall with soap and water before installation. For the helmet images, peel the backing paper from the back of the vinyl and press the image to the wall. Use a hard roller to smooth out the image, working from the center toward the sides. Don't allow the vinyl adhesive to touch other parts of the Fathead or it will stick to itself and be difficult to unstick.
Place the Fathead over a sheet of masonite. Trace around the outside of the Fathead. Cut out the outline of the Fathead using a jigsaw. Sand the edges and prime and paint both sides of the masonite. Allow the primer and paint to dry completely for 24 to 48 hours. Remove the backing on the Fathead. Align the Fathead with the edges of the cutout and smooth the Fathead to the board. This is a good installation for people who have rough or uneven wall surfaces. The masonite can be screwed directly to the wall.
Measure your custom-made square or rectangular Fathead graphic. Select canvas stretchers to fit the size of the graphic. Assemble the stretchers and stretch artist canvas over the stretchers. Paint the canvas with gesso. Lightly sand the gesso after it dries, so the surface is smooth and clean. Peel the backing from the Fathead and apply the graphic to the canvas from the bottom up. Smooth from the center toward the sides, removing all bubbles, and press the graphic to the canvas using a hard roller. This allows you to hang the Fathead using standard art hangers.
Attach the Fathead to sheet plastic that's several inches taller and wider than the graphic. Center the graphic in the plastic. Smooth the image toward the sides. Drill two holes, evenly spaced along the top edge. Attach a hanging bracket to the top edge of the plastic. Connect the cable to the ceiling or to a horizontal cable near the ceiling. This allows you to move the graphic along the wall while giving you the visual impact of the contoured graphic image.
F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.