Fabric As Removable Wallpaper





Introduction: Fabric As Removable Wallpaper

My laundry room was a total bore. To make things worse, it's viewable from my fabulously green dining room. I decided I wanted to wallpaper, but didn't want to spend the cash for a nice modern print or make the commitment. I've removed wallpaper before, and it's really not fun. I also have textured walls, so it would require an enormous time commitment to smooth them out.

I opted to apply fabric to the walls with starch. It's easy to apply and remove, and the fabric is reusable afterward.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

For fabric wallpaper application:


fabric starch

rotary cutter and cutting mat OR scissors



Other makeover materials:

indoor house paint

moulding and/or trim


brad nails

box saw


painter's tape

Step 2: Paint

The walls were a boring shade of beige, so I updated them with a coat of purple paint. I didn't want to have to detach and move the washer and dryer, so I opted to only makeover the walls on the top half.

Tape off any applicable areas and apply two coats of paint.

Step 3: Test Swatch

I have textured walls and I've only ever seen this done with smooth walls, so I wanted to see how the fabric application would work and make sure it wouldn't damage the walls.

Spray the starch onto a small patch of the wall.

Lay the fabric swatch over the starch.

Spray more starch over the swatch until it's saturated.

Smooth the swatch until it's stuck.

I couldn't wait until it dried naturally, so I used a blow dryer to speed up the process.

When it was dry, I lifted a corner and peeled it right off. It came off easy and clean.

Step 4: Cut Fabric

Measure your walls and cut your fabric to fit.

Because I planned to apply trim around all the edges, I did my best to cut the pieces to fit the space while not worrying too much if they were a bit off. If you don't plan to put trim around it, you may want to cut the fabric a bit bigger and cut the edges off after it's stuck to the wall.

Step 5: Tacking

Use thumbtacks or pins to tack the fabric at the top of the wall.

Step 6: Cut Outs

On one of the walls there was an annoying security console that I just couldn't figure out how to remove. The next step will deal with simple things like an outlet, but this was bit more tricky.

Tuck the fabric behind the top of the object and use a pencil to draw a line along the top.

Do the same to one side.

Cut a knick in the fabric inside the lines and cut along them.

Cut straight down from the other top edge.

Tuck the bottom edge under and draw a line.

Cut along the line.

Gently fit the object inside the hole.

Step 7: Outlet

Remove the plate from the outlet.

Feel for the edges and draw lines around it.

Cut it out.

Step 8: Starch It

Apply the panels the same way you applied the swatch.

Spray starch on the wall beneath the panel.

Start at the top spraying starch over the fabric with one hand and smoothing with the other hand.

When the panel is well saturated and stuck, use a dishcloth to press it down firmly. This helps the fabric stick well over the texture. It may not be necessary if your walls are smooth.

Anywhere I couldn't see the texture through the fabric, I applied a bit more starch and pressed firmly with the dishcloth.

Step 9: Connected Panels and Touchups

At the top, between the two panels, I opted to just let it overlap a bit. The fabric didn't have a repeating edge to connect with. If it did, I would have been a bit more careful to match up the pattern.

Allow to dry.

When dry, you can replace the faceplate of any outlets.

As it dried, there were a few places where the fabric lifted up like small bubbles. Simply apply more starch to the area and press it firmly with your dishcloth.

Step 10: Moulding

Measure each wall and mark the top of the moulding.

When the edge will be set into a corner, line up the mark with the gap in the box to cut at 90 degrees.

Nail the pieces in place where they overlap the fabric and paint line using a level to make sure they're straight.

Step 11: Trim

I opted not to mitre the trim since it's square. Simply measure, cut, and nail in place.

I added a curtain and swapped the yellow bulb with a daylight temp bulb to finish off the makeover.

Step 12: Enjoy



    • Paper Contest 2018

      Paper Contest 2018
    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking
    • Pro Tips Challenge

      Pro Tips Challenge

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    Over a month later, and it still looks great!

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm ready to do my room now (we moved here8 mos ago) and I wasn't looking forward to painting, but I wanted something colourful. THIS is perfect! Now I can't wait to get out to the fabric store(s)!

    In theory, it sounds good but, I think to keep it clean and wipable, I'd use some type of waterproof barrier on top of it. :)

    I thought about that, but it's easy to take down to wash and reapply, I want to be able to reuse the fabric someday, and my laundry walls don't really get dirty. Perhaps a layer of scotchguard would do the trick and still keep the fabric usable.

    I Scotchguarded a pair of wooden wedge shoes that I put new fabric tops on many years ago, and to my dismay the Scotchguard turned the fabric very yellow after a few months. But that was decades ago and the formulation has likely changed. You might consider contacting customer servcie for the manufacturer via email and ask.

    You know what people used to use before they invented wallpaper..?

    A lot of people are asking about the longevity of using fabric, I lived in a house that was a couple of hundred years old and the layer right at the very bottom of all the years of paint and wallpaper was fabric so I've no doubt that it'll last for the longest time.

    But I would add that a preparitory wallpaper paste might be better as it contains fungicide that will prevent mould if you've any worries about how damp will affect the fabric.

    I think the longevity concern is more about the starch than the fabric. Wallpaper paste would have been used to apply it back in the day and could certainly be used now, but wallpaper paste is much more difficult to remove. This process is more for those who can't commit and those who rent.

    that's why i'm so excited about this: i'm fickle. i like too many colors & patterns {esp. mid-century styles}, & feel that i'll want to change it every couple of yrs. :^)

    I love this 'able! I have fabric I love that just doesn't quite lend itself to apparel and it would work well for this. My color tastes are quite different than yours, but if we all loved the same thing, there would be a terrible shortage of it, right?

    I think one of the keys to being able to remove it later is the pre-paint, but especially with a semi-gloss, perhaps satin, paint. With flat or eggshell, the starch may penetrate deeply enough into the paint to cause damage at removal. I did notice it appears you used a semi-gloss.

    wow; i'm so glad that you mentioned the paint finish! when my boys were small, they colored a bedroom wall with colored chalk. i attempted to scrub it off the flat paint. scrubbing took the paint off, but only half of the bloody chalk! i'm sure the chalk would have come off semi-gloss much more efficiently. >:^/