DIY: Faux wallpaper that’s completely reversible

Houston – Do you want wallpaper, but not the pain of putting it up, taking it down or paying for it?

You can have it! This time-tested technique gets some colors and patterns on your walls and it’s even less expensive than peel and stick wallpaper.

What is it?

It’s fabric you adhere to your wall with liquid starch and a paintbrush. You can use any fabric from cotton patterns you can buy at Joann’s or Hobby Lobby to tapestries or even a flat bedding sheet.

“I grew up in an Army family and my mom’s been doing this trick since at least the 80s,” explained Claire Brom.

The Kingwood mom has adorned the walls in almost every room of her home. They are custom looks that are completely reversible.

“Especially in bedrooms and for my kids,” explained Brom. “Right now, we’re okay with pastels, but as my kids grow into teenagers, that’s not what they’re gonna want anymore. So I can have this up for a year or two and then flip it out for something else.”

Materials Needed:

  • Liquid starch (Brom uses Purex Sta-Flow that she purchased at HEB)
  • Paintbrush
  • Thumbtacks
  • Your desired fabric to cover the wall

The process

  • Use the thumbtacks to hold the fabric at the top of the wall.
  • Leave yourself some extra fabric at the top and bottom.
  • Pour the liquid starch into a bowl.
  • Use the paintbrush to brush the starch onto the fabric, saturating it so that it adheres to the wall.
  • You can smooth out any wrinkles with your hand.
  • If you have a geometric pattern or a design that needs to be perfectly straight, you can tie a string with a weight at the bottom to one of the thumbtacks so that you can line it up with the pattern.
  • Let the starch dry overnight.
  • The following day, cut the excess fabric from the top and bottom of the fabric using an Exacto knife. Brom says the fabric is much easier to cut when it is dry.

Removing the fabric

Now for the real magic. When you’re tired of the tapestry or covering on your wall, just find a seam and pull. It comes off cleanly leaving no damage to the wall. If the paint looks a little cloudy from the starch, you can wipe it with a wet sponge or cloth to remove it. The fabric can be washed and used again somewhere else.

“I think it’s great for renters,” explained Brom. “I’ve done it on cement-painted walls in a dorm room. So if someone needs that for just a semester or a year. I think it’s great for the indecisive who want to just have a change of season every couple of years or every couple of months.”

The cost

The cost of the project really depends on the fabric you buy and how much you need. Claire paid $51 for the floral patterned fabric in her daughter’s room and $13 for the design on her bedroom wall.

One of her favorite places to shop for tapestries is Society 6. She said you should wait until there’s a sale or find a promo code. She likes tapestries because the edges of the fabric already have a seam.

Even Amazon sells tapestries! Now go create something amazing!