Temporary Wallpaper: Starched Fabric

I have used starched fabric in several times throughout our home, and it is a great (temporary) alternative to wallpaper!

I shared this tutorial over a year ago on Remodelaholic, and I decided to share it here as well.  Although great for anyone, this tutorial is perfect for renters (or those of us with decor commitment issues). Starched fabric walls are easily removable and provide the look of wallpaper without the commitment!

This is a photo of my laundry room before its makeover:

With three kids, I spend a lot of time in this laundry room, and unfortunately there is no natural light in this room.  The dark cabinets and poor light made for a dark and less than exciting space.

To brighten the room, I painted the cabinets (click HERE to see more) and added some pretty fabric to the walls.

Starched Fabric Wall Treatment Tutorial

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These are the supplies needed for hanging a fabric wall:

      • Fabric
      • Foam Roller
      • Paint Tray
      • Rag
      • Tape Measure
      • Ruler
      • Liquid Starch
      • Scissors
      • Pen
      • Razor
      • Thumb Tacks

To begin, measure the wall(s) and figure out how much fabric is needed. Pay attention to the width of the fabric.  The width of a bolt can vary and is usually somewhere between 45-60 inches.  I used cotton fabric (and prefer cotton fabric for this project), and bought extra fabric knowing that cotton will shrink.

My wall space (including the cabinets)  is 6ft x 8ft.  I knew I would have to match fabric for the walls on top and bottom of the cabinets, so I also bought extra fabric to allow for the correct pattern repeat.

I purchased 4.5 yards of pretty blue and cream 45″ cotton fabric I found at Hobby Lobby (I took advantage of their 40% off coupon)!   Home decor fabric can be used, but keep in mind it is typically wider and much harder to handle.  A hanging partner will be needed with the larger fabric width.

Measure the length of the wall and lay out the fabric.

Use a tape measure to  measure the wall length on the fabric (I added 6 inches to allow for shrinkage and to be safe).

Once the length is marked, use a ruler to draw a straight line for the cut.

Carefully cut along the measured cut line (I used scissors, but you could definitely use a fabric rotary cutter).

Once the first piece is cut, it is time to hang the fabric!

I would suggest starting in the middle of the wall, but I started on the side since I had cabinets blocking the rest of my wall and the right side really was my focal point.

Pour the liquid starch into the tray, and cover the roller in starch.

Take the roller and cover the wall where the fabric will be hung.  Cover the wall but not so much that it is dripping.

Before adding the liquid starch, shut off any electrical outlets in the room.

Hang your fabric starting at the top.  You can use a level to keep the fabric straight.  Use a thumb tack to hold the fabric in place.

Allow extra fabric at the top because remember there will be some shrinkage.

If needed, carefully cut around cabinets and/or other obstacles.

Smooth out the fabric on the wall with hands or a rag.  Then, take the roller and cover the fabric with the liquid starch.

Once the piece is covered in liquid starch, take a rag and smooth out the fabric.

After the first piece is in place, continue with the same steps for the remaining wall.  Make sure to match the fabric repeat (this is where it really starts to get tricky and why you need to buy extra fabric).

Once the wall is done, let the fabric dry before trimming it.  It is good to let it sit overnight.

Take a razor and carefully cut the edges of the dried fabric, and the fabric wall is done!

I did have some areas where the fabric was stretched, but overall, I think the wall looks pretty good.  And for under $50, the fabric wall makes a huge improvement in my room!

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Comments

  1. Totally trying this! Do you overlap the fabric to stay covered with shrinkage or still just butt them up? And if you need more space to tinker with, I can’t be that far from you!
    Love following your blog!

  2. Iv’e done this process before on Furniture. I have a Hoosier antique kitchen cabinet I did the interior with fabric and I have a 2 piece vintage Mahogany bookcase with a glass door display case on top of it that has heavy white lace on the glass doors. Someone cracked the glass on one of the doors and since it has a Lead crisscross design on the glass I just covered it with the lace. It’s been on there for way over 20 years and it’s still hanging in there. The fabric (using Starch) was really easy to do, much easier than contact paper or wallpaper.

  3. That sounds like a very interesting alternative to temporary wallpaper. How easy is this to remove afterwards, and can you reuse the fabric afterwards? I’d like to find a way to change an accent wall as the seasons change. Right now, I just temporary wallpaper (I keep the backing to store later!), but If Fabric is easier, I may try that instead. Thank you for sharing!

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