Project Fail: Removable Fabric Wallpaper

One of the areas in my home that needs the most decorating help is the downstairs family room. We spend the most time in this room, but it has been the last room to receive any attention, partly because the room is full of challenges. The carpet is hideous, for one thing. The shape of the room is awkward too. Anyway, the computer desk is the main area that I have been wanting to work on:

As you can see, it needs some work! I’ve seen some awesome posts around blogland about using fabric and liquid starch to make removable wallpaper. I love this idea, because we do live in a rental and white walls get so old. And I thought having a bright color above the desk area would turn it into a cool feature wall.

So I started with some plain cotton broadcloth. I soaked it in liquid starch ($3 in the laundry aisle), then used thumb tacks to hold it in place while I smoothed it onto the wall. I got that baby perfectly smooth and was pretty excited. It was blotchy as it started drying, but it was looking good:

When I got back from running a few errands, I ran downstairs to see this:

As the starch dried, the fabric puckered and bubbled. Boo! Wah! Sniff, sniff! Pouty face!
I don’t know if I did something wrong, but I suspect that the fabric was just too thin. If I had used a sturdier fabric, maybe it would have stayed smoother? Maybe?
So I am back to the drawing board.
I am considering buying heavier fabric and trying it again. They sell removable wallpaper, but it’s kind of pricey, so I would really have to love it. Or I may try something with contact paper. I even saw some cool mirrors at Dollar Tree that I considered buying in multiples and hanging in a grouping. Or maybe I’ll just do a large canvas with pretty fabric like I did HERE. We’ll see. 
Have you tried starch/fabric wallpaper? Is ure would love to hear your tips and tricks!


  1. I love it when people are honest in their posts. Not everything turns out perfect every time. This was a great effort and now you know how to adapt for the next time. I would think if you stayed in the room while it dried you could use a plastic putty knife to smooth out bubbles as they appear. As long as you are able to do it before it dries completely it will work. You can also slice these bubbles with a razor and tuck some glue under the fabric and reapply. Making your own removable wallpaper isn't easy! I like your style though, so I would be happy to send you some of the good stuff. For free. I would just like a guest post on our blog in exchange. What do you say?

  2. If you try again and can't get it to work, you could always do a grouping of the fabric over different sizes of canvas like an arrangement of pictures…only using different fabrics to incorporate colors you want in the room. (Or just colors and patterns that make you happy and inspire you)

  3. I’ve had fantastic success on three walls with fabric wallpaper. I don’t soak the fabric though. I ‘paint’ the wall with the starch then get the fabric up and use thumb tacks to hold it, then I ‘paint’ over the fabric with the starch liberally, and use a credit card to smooth and stretch the fabric toward the outside edges. I wait for it to dry completely then I use a craft knife to trim around the edges. I have used regular quilting cotton and thicker fabric and both turned out great using this method. Hope that helps someone cuz it sure is a great way to cover a boring wall!

  4. How was the removal process? Did it damage the walls at all? I’ll be renting a new place in July and the building owner won’t let me paint the dark grey that is in every single room! So depressing. I’m hoping to do a temporary fabric feature wall to add some colour, but I don’t want to damage anything!


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