I have been working for what seems like forever in getting my pantry looking pretty. I finally got it cleaned out and organized, (you can see my process here and here) and I was trying to find wall-paper to give it an extra pop. However, I was finding wall-paper to be very expensive, even for this little space. I tried to think outside of the box for something that I could use that would be less expensive-I considered scrap-book paper, wrapping paper, printed napkins ( I was getting desperate!). I knew it my head that I wanted a geometric print in an indigo blue color. After searching Pinterest for options, I decided to explore fabric. I found this gorgeous fabric at JoAnn, and it was exactly what I was looking for! After a few trial and error methods for wallpapering with fabric, I came up with my own method of how to wallpaper with fabric.
I wanted something that was removable because I knew I’d eventually want something different, and I didn’t want anything that would damage the wall. I first tried the liquid starch method. If you are interested, this is a post from Apartment Therapy with directions. I will caution you-the liquid starch shrunk my fabric a good two inches, and I couldn’t get it to adhere to the wall. I read several blog posts on how to do this method, and none of them mentioned that it would shrink the fabric. So if considering this method, either make sure your fabric is machine washable, or allow an extra inch on the top and bottom.
Not wanting to spend anymore additional time running back to the craft store, and any additional money, I looked through my craft supplies and came up with my own method using what I had on hand. Here is the method that I came up with.
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Measure the total width and length of the area you want to cover. I was covering above the top shelves in my pantry, which measured a total of 24″ x 218″.
2) Select fabric and figure yardage
Select a fabric that you like, note what width it comes in, and if you are doing the liquid starch method, be sure it’s machine washable. If it’s not, add in an extra inch for the top and bottom.
My fabric was a decorator width fabric, and it comes in a 54″ width. I prefer to use decorator fabric, as it gives you a bigger surface area and is higher quality than standard fabric. It’s also often on sale. Fabric is sold by the yard, and a yard equals 36″. So a yard of decorator fabric would be 54″ wide and 36″ long. To figure the amount that I needed, I divided my total width that I would need (218″) by the width the fabric came in (54″). The length that I needed, which was only 24″ was less than a length of a yard, so I didn’t worry about figuring the length in. So, 218 divided by 54 is 4.04, which means I would need just over 4 yards (the stores usually make you go up to a half yard, so it would probably be 4 1/2 yards). If you are needing length over 36″, its best to do a to scale drawing to figure out how many yards you need. Then, you always want to have extra for error, and repeat of pattern, so I would add in another yard. If you are doing the liquid starch method, you need to be sure to add in the extra inch on the top and bottom as well. Since I decided not to do the liquid starch, I did not have to add in the two extra inches. This is where you can learn from my mistake, because I forgot to add in the extra yard, and ended up a little short. The fabric had sold out, so I couldn’t go get more. I made sure that the shortage was in the back corner that wasn’t really seen. More on this below.
3) Start in the center
Mark the center of the wall, or if you are doing above a pantry or closet, the center of the wall that would be the focal point. Mark with a pencil the center of the fabric. I marked on the top of the backside of the fabric and it worked fine.
4) Make your first cut
Double-check the length that you need again on your wall, better to measure twice and cut once than to mess up.
On the backside of the fabric, line up the top of the yard stick with the top of the fabric, and measure down to the length that you need. Draw a little dash at the length, and scoot the yard stick over about 6 inches and do this again. Repeat the process until you get to the end of the fabric and have dashes all the across the width of the fabric at the length you need. Line up the yardstick with the dashes, and connect with a pencil line. If you have any dashes that don’t line up, remeasure that area from the top again. Your line should be very straight and level.
Cut the fabric along the pencil line.
5) Place the center panel
Align the mark that you made in the top center of the panel you just cut with the center mark on the wall. Tape or tack the center panel, do not glue yet. Measure the remaining area of wall to the right of the fabric, and to the left. My center wall is 90 inches wide. The center panel is 54 inches wide, which left an even 36 inches on either side.
6) Line up the pattern
You now know the width of the panel you will need to the right and the left of the center panel, but the pattern needs to line up. You can either take the center panel down and line it up with the fabric that you have laying out, or bring the fabric to the center panel and line up. It’s probably easier to bring the center panel down! This is why the center panel is not glued yet. Once you line up the next section of fabric, repeat the steps in Step 4. You may have a waste piece of fabric that you have to cut off to line things up, but keep it in case you need to fix a mistake later! For this method, you do not need to overlap seams like you do when hanging wall-paper. Make a note on the back side of the fabric in pencil what will be the right panel and what will be the left. The center has your center mark on it, but you can label the center as well.
At this point, you can tape back up the center panel if you took it down. Continue the process to the right of the center and to the left of the center until all the panels are cut. You may want to label the back of the panels right 1, right 2, left 1, left 2, etc. so that you know the order they go in.
8) Protect surfaces
If you are using my spray adhesive method, the spray is pretty concentrated to the area you are spraying in, it does not blow out like spray paint does. But you will still want to protect baseboards, flooring, the ceiling above it, etc. Tape like you would when painting, and it should be fine. Since I was just doing above the tops shelves in my pantry, I just lined the center shelf with parchment paper. I used the same sheet and just scooted it along to the side shelves. I did not tape or cover the ceiling, and nothing got on it. Spray adhesive also easily washes off with water, so it’s not the biggest of deals.
Take down the center panel, but keep it where you can grab it easily. Spray the area of wall that the center panel will be going on, in about a foot sections of a time. Line up the center of the fabric with the mark you put on the center of the wall, and make sure the fabric is lined up with the top of the wall. Press the fabric down, and smooth down with the wall-paper spreader. Don’t worry-the spray adhesive is very forgiving and you can reposition the fabric if necessary. Continue the process until all the panels are placed and glued. If there are any edges or places where it’s not sticking, apply a little fabric or tacky glue.
A few notes from my mistakes
There is no need to have a overlap at the top and bottom like you would wallpaper. I did this, and it was very difficult to cut the extra off, especially in a straight line. There is no need to overlap seems like you would with wallpaper. I did it with the first few panels, and quit. It only made gluing down a little more tricky, and you can kind of see the bulk of the overlap in the seams. The whole process went very quickly and easily, even with all of the mistakes that I made. I didn’t have a huge surface area, but it only took a couple of hours from start to finish. Learn from my mistakes, and it will probably go even quicker for you!
I’d love to hear if you used this how to wallpaper with fabric post! Comment below!
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Zana Sleeth says
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Heidi | The Frugal Girls says
That was a great idea to use a spray adhesive to apply the fabric. The spray makes applying the adhesive so much easier!
Once I figured out my method, to only took a few minutes! Spray adhesive is so easy to use, and it’s removable!
building maintenance says
Hey, this is a great post, so clear and easy to understand. All your hard work is much appreciated.
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Thanks so much. I appreciate your kind comment.