DIY Fabric Wallpaper - Easy, Easy, Easy!

I had heard about this trick before, and never believed it would work – but sure enough, fabric & starch together make an incredible fabric wall covering.   A perfect budget decorating idea for apartments and dorm rooms, as it can be removed with just water and leaves no damage to the walls!

Not only does the starch stiffen the fabric and hold it to the wall, but it leaves fewer bubble when applying the fabric t the wall, and believe it or not, the fabric can be washed and used again after it’s removed from the wall.

Here’s how it’s done….

  • Wipe down the walls to remove dust and dirt.
  • Select material, the best to use are lightweight, such as ginghams, chintzes and polished cottons.
  • Measure the wall adding two or so inches to the length.  Most fabric is 54 inches in width.  You’ll be cutting the top and bottom of the fabric after you apply it to the wall, which is the reason for the additional length, the sides will not be cut.
  • Cut the fabric to prepare each piece for hanging.
  • To apply starch, there are two options:

Option One

Pour liquid starch into a pan or even a disposable paint pan (available for under $2).  Saturate sponge or even a paint roller in starch and squeeze excess, just enough to avoid a huge dripping mess.

Wipe down or roll the top half of the wall to apply starch.

Smooth fabric onto top half of the wall.  It’s helpful to have a second person to help with larger areas for this task.  Remember that you want about an inch or two overhang on the top and bottom that will be cut back.

Use thumbtacks or pins to hold fabric in place while you work on the bottom half.

Apply additional starch to the bottom half of the wall and smooth fabric onto wall.  You can use additional thumbtacks at this point if needed.

Now you need to stiffen the fabric and remove bubbles.  Apply starch to the top directly on the fabric smoothing the fabric into place removing wrinkles and bubbles.  Try to keep the starch penetrating the fabric evenly.

Keep working down the fabric to the bottom.

Position your second panel making sure you match the design and butt it right next to the first panel.  Repeat steps to apply panel.
If applying around door frames or window frames, leave overlap of about one inch so you can cut it back.

When the fabric is completely dry, you can cut the bottom and top back where it meets the baseboard and ceiling with a razor knife. Since the fabric is stiff with the starch, it’s easy to cut.  Also trim is back around doors and windows.

Option 2

Using spray starch instead of liquid starch, you’ll just apply the starch by spray instead of by roller or sponge.  The only issue with using the spray is the problem with overspray, so you’ll need to tape off areas or be prepared to clean them up.  We’ve also talked with people who actually dipped the fabric into the pan of starch and then applied it – but that sounded awfully messy!


Just peel a corner loose and gently peel back fabric.  If it’s not peeling easily, dampen with water from a sponge and it comes right off.  You’ll need to wipe down the wall to remove starch.