How to DIY Your Own Removable Fabric Wallpaper in 12 Easy Steps

Kid-friendly fabric for making DIY removable wallpaper.
Turn your favorite fabric prints into beautiful and totally removable wallpaper with this simple tutorial!. Photo by Dorling Kindersley and Ruth Jenkinson via Getty Images.

We all love wallpaper… in theory. A beautiful print can pack a serious design punch, adding color, pattern and even texture to your space. But wallpaper is also expensive, difficult to put up, and even more difficult to remove. In short, it requires a level of commitment that many of us are unprepared to make, especially when working with a nursery or kid’s room.

Luckily, there is a solution to this common decorating dilemma: DIY fabric wallpaper.

Cheap, temporary and completely removable, fabric wallpaper is a dream come true for those of us with small budgets and big commitment issues. It goes up easy and comes off clean. You can even wash and reuse your fabric when you’re done. Genius!

Whether you’re dealing with rental restrictions or simply prefer to keep your decorating options open, this easy DIY project may be exactly what you’re looking for. Create your own beautiful removable wallpaper with this detailed tutorial.

Supplies Needed

  • Thin, lightweight fabric of your choice
  • Fabric starch
  • A sponge or paint roller
  • A wallpaper scraper
  • A washcloth or rag
  • A large pan
  • Thumbtacks

Directions

  1. Before you begin, you will need to determine how much fabric to buy. Start by measuring your wall from floor to ceiling, adding a couple of extra inches to your measurement. This will give you your panel length.
  2. Next, measure the wall from end to end. Divide this measurement by the width of your fabric, rounding up to the nearest whole number. (The extra fabric will allow for any trimming required to match the pattern from the previous piece.) The result will tell you how many panels you’ll need.
  1. Finally, multiply your panel length by the number of panels needed, and divide by 36 (the number of inches in a yard). This will tell you how many yards of fabric to purchase.
  2. Using your initial measurements as a guide, prepare your fabric panels. If your fabric has a design, be sure that the pattern transitions nicely from one panel to another before cutting the next piece.
  1. Prepare your wall, wiping away any dirt, dust or grime with a damp washcloth or rag.
  2. Pour starch into a large, clean pan. Using a paint roller or sponge, apply starch to the top half of the wall.
  3. Smooth fabric into place at the top of the wall, leaving about 1 inch to be trimmed later. (The extra fabric allows for minor pattern adjustments and a cleaner edge.
  4. Using thumbtacks to temporarily hold the top of the fabric in place, continue to apply starch and smooth fabric against the wall until you reach the floor, leaving a roughly 1-inch overlap at floor level. Secure with more thumbtacks if necessary.
  5. Next, apply starch to the top of the fabric. Be sure the starch penetrates the fabric evenly.
  6. Using your scraping tool, smooth fabric from the top down, adding more starch and removing any bubbles or wrinkles as you go.
  7. Position the second panel, matching the design along the edge of the previous panel. Repeat steps 6 through 9.
  8. Once the fabric is completely dry and stiff, trim off any excess using a knife.

Helpful Tips

  • If you must cut fabric to fit around windows and doors, leave a one-inch overlap, just as you did with the ceiling and floor.
  • Be sure fabric is completely dry before trimming any of the overlap. Once the fabric is stiff, it will cut easily, ensuring clean lines and a good fit. Any shrinkage that might occur will have already happened.

    To Remove Fabric From Wall:

    Ready to remove your wallpaper? Simply peel one corner loose, and then continue to gently pull the fabric away from the wall panel by panel. If you have any trouble, dampen the problem area with a wet sponge. (This will dissolve the starch, making it easier to peel the fabric off the wall.)

    When you’re finished, remove any residue with a clean, wet cloth, and toss the used fabric into your washing machine. The starch will melt away, leaving you with clean, reusable fabric.