Looking for a temporary wallpaper solution and don’t want to spend big bucks? Try this DIY fabric wallpaper!
I’m pretty in love with the idea of wallpaper. I have seen some stunning and creative uses for it, but what I’m nervous about is changing my mind and then being stuck. I’m also not super passionate about the prices of this stuff. It can be insanely expensive. So, what’s a girl to do? Improvise with….
I tried to be super creative and think of ways I could do this. Mod Podge but that scared me. I could use craft glue but also nope. I didn’t want to commit to that. I even thought about spraying it with fabric starch and using command strips since I knew the shelves might hold it up, but I talked myself out of that too.
The hardest part of DIY is thinking through the million and one ways you can do something.
This is the back wall of our soon-to-be cleaning closet. I figured I gotta have some feature that makes this pretty so that hopefully I’ll want to open it more, right? Ha! We’ll see.
After much research, I realized all I needed was some liquid starch!
Then I began my search for fabric I loved which can be harder than finding cheap wallpaper, but I found this and fell in love!
Alright, so I know why you’re here so let me go ahead and tell you how to make your own fabric wallpaper when you find a fabric you fall in love with!
DIY Fabric Wallpaper
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- Fabric of your choice (I used 3 yards of this floral one for our wall)
- Liquid starch
- Paint roller
- Paint tray
- Putty knife – the wider the better because it will help this go super fast! (We used this drywall tool that we have from our bathroom remodel)
- Razor blade or X-ACTO knife
First, wash, dry, and iron your fabric. You want to make sure it’s as straight as possible so it goes on your wall as easy as possible.
Next, you’ll want to cut the bolt off each side and then any fuzzy wuzzies that appeared after washing. Technically, I didn’t need to do any of this because the bolt was wide enough for our back wall and we were covering the top and bottom with baseboards and crown anyway.
So, this was just for show in my case. You welcome.
Using tape or pushpins, tack up your fabric so you can get a feel of where it needs to be positioned.
Pro tip: Fold down the top of your fabric if you’re using tape so that it doesn’t pull on any of the frays.
Just let it drape down at the bottom. You’re going to be lifting it up a million times and cutting it off anyway, so don’t mess with the length. Of course if you have a larger or wider wall, this is where you’ll be matching up patterns and whatnot.
Pour liquid starch into a painter’s tray and soak some up on your roller. I didn’t get a whole lot of “in process” pictures here because this is one of those projects that required 4 hands and at times more, but we made do with the 4 that J and I had between us.
The gist is that you lift up your fabric, roll the wall with the fabric starch and then lay it down and smooth it out with your putty knife tool. Fabric starch dries super fast, so you’ll want to work in sections.
The stuff moves a lot which is a blessing and a curse. You can move it around if you get bubbles, but also if you look at it wrong, it moves. So, you may have to hold your mouth just right or do a lil’ cussin’ but it will eventually work! This process is actually super fast.
Once it was all on, we then rolled over the wallpaper with more fabric starch to make sure it was good and starchy.
For pieces in the corners, take your putty knife or drywall tool and shove it in the corner and use your knife or razor to cut the excess off.
Hold up, can you really use fabric as wallpaper?
Yes, dear. Yes you can. Which means you actually have a ton of options when it comes to temporary wallpaper because I feel like there’s so much fabric out there for sale!
But how is this temporary wallpaper if you’re basically gluing it to the wall?
Here’s the beauty – it’s starch. When you use starch on clothes, you can wash the clothes and it’s back to normal. To turn this fabric wallpaper into removable wallpaper made from fabric, all you do is take a wet sponge and soak it and it will peel right off leaving your wall completely unharmed! Say whaaaa!!!
This is great if any of you are indecisive like ya girl over here. #judgmentfreezone
DIY Fabric Wallpaper
- - Fabric of your choice
- - Liquid starch
- - Paint roller
- - Painter's tray
- - Tape or pushpins
- - Drywall tool or putty knife
- Wash, dry, and iron your fabric.
- Cut the bolt off each side and then any fuzzy wuzzies that appeared after washing.
- Using tape or pushpins, tack up your fabric so you can get a feel of where it needs to be positioned. Make sure to fold down the top of your fabric if you're using tape so it won't pull or fray the fabric.
- Pour liquid starch into a painter's tray and soak some up on your roller.
- Working in sections, lift up your fabric, roll the wall with the fabric starch and then lay it down and smooth it out with your putty knife tool.
- In the corners, take your putty knife or drywall tool and shove it in the corner and use your knife or razor to cut the excess off.
Thursday 25th of November 2021
Hi, I was wondering if this would stick to a tiled wall that doesn't get wet? Thanks!
Thursday 27th of January 2022
Are you wanting to do fabric wallpaper OVER tile? I'm not sure if that would work or not, but never say never!
Sunday 13th of September 2020
Do you know if this will work on wood? I'd like to use fabric behind the shelves of a china cabinet.
Wednesday 16th of September 2020
You could try! I don't see why not! And honestly if not, you could always put the paper on a piece of cardboard or particleboard and set it up in the back of your china cabinet. That way, you could change it out even if you wanted to!
Wednesday 9th of September 2020
Hi, Thanks for your information on fabric wallpaper, I'm wanting to put some in my bathroom. Now I'm wondering if the water from the shower would soften up the starch?
Tuesday 1st of November 2022
@Kayleen, my mom used this method in our bathroom in the 80s (when I took ridiculously long steamy showers daily) and it held up (literally) perfectly for almost 15 yrs! 🙂 (insert clause about how I’m no expert and all bathrooms are different, etc 😉)
Sunday 28th of November 2021
I've used fabric in the bathroom without starch by using a staple gun I had a floral pattern and you couldn't see staples but if that's a concern you can use molding of any size to cover
Wednesday 16th of September 2020
Hmm, that's a great question and honestly I have no clue! I think it might because the way to remove this is to use water so it might be a safe bet not to do this on a wall, but maybe like inside a vanity or something?