Monday, October 1, 2012

Fabric "Wall Paper"

So a few posts ago, I mentioned that I had recently applied fabric to the walls in the nursery since we aren't allowed to paint.  Well I thought I would do a quick tutorial out there for those who might be interested in this temporary alternative to paint.
Before I started on my walls, I did a lot of research (or Google search) on how this was supposed to go down.  Unfortunately, I only found a few sites with any information on this.  Each site had a different technique as to how to apply the fabric and starch to your walls.  I ended up trying just about every technique and will share with you the most effective.

First you need to gather your materials:

  • You will need A LOT of liquid starch and I would also suggest getting a bottle of spray starch ( you don't need more than one because you can just refill)
  • Fabric- I ended up buying 3 twin size sheet sets from Wal-Mart.  With a little patching here and there this ended up being a perfect amount for the small room we were working with (it was also more cost effective) If you do purchase the sheet sets, you will need to alter the fitted sheet by removing the elastic and seams at the corners then cutting the sheet into three strips.  If you choose to purchase fabric from a fabric store make sure to measure your walls floor to ceiling and corner to corner to ensure you get enough (make sure to leave an inch or two extra on all sides!
  • Paint Roller and Paint pan
  • Tacks
 Once you have gathered all of your materials you can get started.  I found that tacking the sheet/fabric up to the crown molding (or ceiling) made it easy to starch the walls and apply the fabric.  So, tack your fabric up, the load your roller with the liquid starch.  Hold the loose fabric away from the wall (have someone else hold it up or drape it over a chair and stand under it.  You don't need a ton of starch on the bare walls, so don't worry if you miss a spot here or there.  Once you have starch on the wall under the fabric, let your fabric down.  It's alright if it doesn't lay flat at first, it is extremely workable.  Run your hands over the fabric to help flatten it to the wall and smooth out any wrinkles you can.  Next, really load up your roller with starch (this is where you really need to drench the walls/fabric.  Roll the starch over your fabric until it is saturated.  Once the entire piece is wet, start smoothing it out with your hands.  I found that if you work from top to bottom and left to right it is much easier.  So, smooth it out (note: if you tacked the fabric to the ceiling or molding there may be a gap between the fabric and wall at the top, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS!  We will come back and fix this!)  Once the entire panel of fabric is starched to the wall and the wrinkles are smoothed out, go back and take the tacks out of the ceiling/molding, the fabric will be heavy so you will need to re-tack it but this time, to the top of the wall itself.  (We tacked it higher in the beginning to ensure there was enough fabric at the top of the wall)  By moving the tacks to the wall, this should eliminate any gap between the fabric and wall!
This photo was taken before we moved the tacks down and you can see the small bubble at the top of the fabric.  We were also working on paneling which had large grooves!  So, this is what your starched fabric should look like at this point.  Continue this process until all of your walls are covered.  If you used sheets you will want to trim any hemmed edges, just because these make the seams on the wall more noticeable.  
The walls should dry within a few hours, I put a box fan in front of each wall.
This shows a dry panel next to the wet panel.  So if you are worried about any imperfections showing under your fabric, don't because once it dries, the fabric will cover it.  You can also see the seams from where we had to piece fabric together.
Once all of your panels are dry, you will want to go back and trim any access from the top and bottom.  This is where the spray starch comes in handy!  You will need to remove the tacks from the walls and get either scissors or a utility knife.  I used a combo of both, plus my rotary cutter.  Trim your fabric as close to the ceiling or molding as possible.  Don't worry if your fabric pulls away from the wall, this happens a lot!  Once your fabric is trimmed, go back with the spray starch and spray any spots that have pulled away and smooth them back down.  You can also go back and smooth out any wrinkles by re-wetting the area.
I know it may sound like a lot (and to be honest, it wasn't the easiest thing in the world) but it was totally worth it, especially if you can't paint your walls or just want a temporary fix that is easy to remove.  Once the fabric dries, if you want to remove it just start at a corner and peel it away from your walls!
Here is a finished wall in our nursery!
It's not perfect, but it is SO much better than the ugly paneling!  Also, FYI I read on other websites that you can dip your fabric panels in the starch and skip rolling it on the walls.  I do not recommend this method.  We tried it and, while it was a bit easier to apply the fabric, once it dried the fabric was extremely wrinkled and it didn't look as good as the penels that we took the time to roll on!


  1. I will be moving to a rental and it has that panel wall (yuck!). I am so excited to try this... Do you know if once taken down will there be any damage to the paneling?

    1. It shouldn't! You might need to wash the walls when you take it down, to get the dried starch off, but the paneling should be fine!

  2. Wow. It came out great! I want to try this out so much, but I still have some doubts...

    How much liquid starch did you end up using? Was one bottle enough for an entire room? Also, do you know if homemade liquid starch would do too? I think it's not even available at the supermarkets in my country, or at least I can't find it.

    By the way, I can't really tell what color are the sheets or the wall. The sheets seem to be pink but the wall turned out lilac?
    Could it be that the fabric shows up darker because the wall was already dark? Or is it just the camera reacting to different lighting, and in fact the color it shows on the walls it's exactly the same as the sheets you bought?

    Sorry for asking so many questions, I really want to be sure everything will come out right and that I'll not just throw money away!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...