How to Create a Unique Fabric Wall

Cover your walls without damaging the surface

Fabric wallpaper
Onzeg / Getty Images

Are you tired of having plain white walls? Whether you don't want to paint or live in a place where you cannot change the color of the walls – or if you just want a different look – you may want to consider a fabric wall.

Add some originality to your living space without nailing anything into the wall. Creating a fabric wall is simple, inexpensive and is something that you can likely do by yourself.

The Easy Way to Create a Fabric Wall

Here are the items you'll need and the steps to take in order to make a fabric wall.

  1. Fabric. The first step in this project is to find an appropriate fabric. Keep in mind that patterns require more fabric and time to match the fabric on seams so the design appears uninterrupted. Check fabric warehouses and bargain bins for lightweight and inexpensive fabrics. It is also important to wash and completely dry your fabric before hanging. Then cut the fabric to fit the wall with about two inches of extra fabric at the top and the bottom.
  2. Starch. You can use starch to attach the fabric to the wall. With this method, the wall will not be damaged and the fabric can be easily removed. Try using a paint roller to apply the starch to the wall. It is less messy and faster than using a brush or dipping the fabric into a container of starch. Also, use a plastic container with a lid to hold your starch mixture. It can then be stored away if you are interrupted.
  3. Hang. The hanging is easy. Simply roll the starch onto the wall. A good thick layer works best. Then hang the fabric and smooth with a wallpaper smoothing tool, matching patterns on seams if necessary. Then roll more starch over the fabric and let dry. A couple of thumbtacks at the top of the fabric will hold it in place while it dries. Overlap each strip about 1/2 inch.
  1. Trim. When the fabric is dry, take a straight edge and a box cutter and, holding the straight edge against the ceiling or the floorboards, trim away the extra fabric. Be careful not to cut into the wall. The extra fabric you allotted for should let you comfortably cut the edge without kicking the wall. 
  2. Clean. If your walls need cleaning because the fabric gets dirty, use a teeny, tiny bit of dishwashing detergent and sponge lightly. To remove the fabric, use a wet sponge and soak the corners until they fall away from the walls. They should come right off--something that is sure to make your landlord happy!

Want another idea to create a fabric wall that involves absolutely no contact with the wall? You can cover a panel with fabric and either attach it to the wall with removable tack or velcro or lean the panel against the wall. You don't have to cover the whole wall with a fabric panel to make a big impact. Want more coverage? Spread out a few panels along the length of the wall.