Skipping the intro post to get right to the point, because who cares about why I’m blogging about power drills and how much I like certain coasters? I love design, I love making shit, and most of the time I’m kind of embarassed about it but I can’t really stop. And this is usually when we take to the internet, yeah?

So, first up: the wallpaper, literally. I found this removable fabric starch wallpaper project on the yoozh, apartment therapy, and ended up modifying the directions pretty substantially to make the project work for the wonky slanted ceilings in my attic apartment. Add some $2 Pier 1 hooks for some open clothes storage and shabam! I have the Prince-meets-Cruella-meets-Urban Outfitter’s-dressing-room of my dreams (though, disclaimer, it’s not done–I’ve got an intense scheme to add some lace ribbon business between the hooks for cheap earring storage, hence the ugly vacuous space (note: if you don’t like clutter, you probably won’t like this blog).

How to after the jump for anyone who wants to adapt this to some less california-raisin inspired effect (or even if you do).

Shit you’ll need:

  • Fabric
  • Fabric starch
  • Thumbtacks
  • Something to stand on unless you have ridiculous muppet arms
  • A clean paint roller

How long it will take you:

    Well, mine took me about 4 hours with frequent snack breaks, so I’d ballpark it about twice the time it takes to paint.

1. Measure the wall. By which I mean: measure every perimeter of the wall, and if your apartment is mega old like mine, don’t count on it being perfectly square. Bring your totally ridiculous measurements with you to the fabric store and be prepared for the fabric cutter guy to look at you’ve just asked him to dismember a kitten.

2. Pick out a print in a lightweight fabric (this one was a calico and worked excellently), preferably with a pattern that repeats at fairly frequent intervals to make your life easier, since you’ll have to match it edge-to-edge as you go just like wall paper.

3. Buy a couple cans of spray-on fabric starch. This wall was 5×10’-ish, and took a little less than two cans of heavy starch (the regular kind didn’t do the trick). Also be advised that this shit will be WAY cheaper in your local soulless flourescent-lit ultragrocer than in the fabric store itself.

4. Buy a box of thumbtacks; get extra for when you inevitably drop a few on the floor. A step ladder or non-kill-yourself-uponable chair will help you a lot too if you don’t already have one.

5. When you get home, cut the fabric into panels, matching at the edges. Measure twice/cut once is super important here, especially if you spent $9.00 a yard on this nonsense.

6. Stand on your little stool and thumb tack the first panel in place along the upper edge of fabric (near the ceiling), leaving a one-inch margin at the edge where the wall meets the ceiling AND the adjacent wall. This will mostly shrink while the starch is drying and is actually less terrifying than you’d imagine to cut if it doesn’t.

7. Spray a shit ton of fabric starch on the wall behind the fabric; go about a foot and a half down, then smooth the fabric to the wall and throw a few more thumbtacks in there. It may not adhere immediately but don’t stress out.

8. Spray a ton more starch on top of the fabric, then fabric-roller it really smooth. At the corners, use your thumbs to get it really stuck the fuck on there. It should be soaking wet and will definitely drip onto adjacent walls if you let it; sponge up excess with a paper towel so it doesn’t discolor other paint or just resign yourself to re-doing some of the trim like I did.

9. Repeat steps 7-8 another foot and a half down the wall, then reaaaaally carefully remove the last set of thumbtacks you put in (i.e. NOT the ones at the ceiling; those come out last), spray over the newly thumbtackless area again and sponge again to make sure it’s all uniformly wet and disgusting.

10. Keep going down the wall, repeating. Do the thumbtacks at ceiling last, and be advised that they will likely be a TOTAL bitch if you’re  working on any kind of a slant. Have starch and roller in hand to immediatley flatten that shit down before the whole wall peels off and you spend the rest of the day weeping like an infant. An infant who sucks at home decor.  

11. Do the same thing for the next panel and the next, matching the pattern as you go, all the way across the wall.  

12. Chill out and let it dry overnight. If there’s any loose fabric at the edges, trim it super carefully when the fabric is totally dry.

You can also maybe use this technique for:

  • Shelf liners, especially on built-in bookshelves that you’re not allowed to fuck up.
  • Tabletops.
  • Doors.
  • Flat surfaces that don’t usually get wet, you get the gist. Go nuts.
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Filed under DIY, How-To, Storage, Walls

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