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Using Fabric to Cover Walls

Category Decorating

A more temporary and easily changeable alternative to wallpaper is fabric wallcoverings. This is a guide about using fabric to cover walls.

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By 3 found this helpful
April 9, 2012

To update the tired look to any room in your house, use material instead of wallpaper. Using material eliminates the mess wallpaper can make, both putting it up and taking it down. Material can be taken down to wash when dirty and goes back up virtually with a smoothing of the hand.

To apply any material, use plain liquid starch. Apply the starch either with a spray bottle, or brush. Once dried, the starch is crystal clear and no special product is needed for removal. Once the material is taken down, no sign is left that it has ever been used. The tools needed for this application are a pair of scissors, a brush or empty spray bottle, and of course, your hands.

I will never again pay the high price for wallpaper which is difficult to hang, and even more difficult to remove. Easy and fast.

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Source: My father, Donald C. Case

By Spacecase from California

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
September 9, 2008

I have wallpaper that I spent a fortune for, and for re-sale, would like to keep. My teenage daughter wants to paint over it with black paint. I just read how a couple of coats of primer would cover up the wallpaper, then the black, but a friend said there's some way that you can put black fabric, like curtains, throughout the room, using rods or some other way of holding them up.

Problem is, you can't hang anything on the "curtains". Has anyone ever done this? Has anyone truly painted over wallpaper, with black paint, and then brought it back to life in a neutral color. Has anyone heard of this fabric hanging? I've been surfing around, but can only find people that use fabric over the wallpaper. Does it pull off the wallpaper once you take off? I'm at a loss. Any suggestions would really help. Thanks.

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Shelia from Michigan

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Answers

September 9, 20080 found this helpful

A better idea might be to hang the black fabric like wallpaper. What you would need is liquid starch. Soak the fabric in it an then smooth it over the wall like wall paper. When you want to remove it, the fabric will come off easily and you just need to wash the residue from the starch off the walls.

To hang like curtains, look for those tracks and rings that they have in hospital ER's. you can hang the tracks from the ceiling and pull the "curtain" across the wall. It's great if you want to divide a room (i.e. office/guest room)

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September 9, 20080 found this helpful

If you install curtain rods around the room by the ceiling and another one down around the baseboard. Put a pocket in the top and bottom of the black fabric.

Of course you can hang things on curtains. If it is a poster or other paper items, you can use straight pins.

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September 9, 20080 found this helpful

Black sheets would be less exspensive than fabric

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September 9, 20080 found this helpful

A staple gun (w/ the fabric) would be quick, easy, and a snap to remove again.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 10, 20080 found this helpful

As I did myself to cover a couple of ugly walls in an apartment, I used a sheet that I liked the pattern on. Have a bowl of spray starch and a sponge. I washed down sections of the wall with the starch, pressed the fabric to the wall, and sponged the fabric with starch. do this over the entire area to cover. I used staples in the corners to hold until the starch dried. When your ready to change the "wall" the fabric will peel without causing any damage to the wall or wall paper. Company often thought I had put up wall paper it looked so good.

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September 10, 20080 found this helpful

If you want to keep the wallpaper as is, I think you should go with the curtain idea. If you use a staple gun, you will have holes in the wall, which will not be good for resale value, as they will have to be repaired.

On the decorating shows, they paint over wallpaper all the time, but I personally think that it looks tacky, and I would not be happy if I knew that was done in a house I was buying. I imagine that it is very difficult to remove wallpaper that has been painted over.

To hang a picture on the wall that has drapes over it, all you would have to do is make a small hole in the drape where the nail in the wall is. If you daughter wants to hang lots of posters and decorate with CD s and whatnot, and has her heart set on this black decor, perhaps it would be wise to remove the wallpaper and paint as usual. It would not be that difficult to repaint the room when it was time to sell-- make the deal that she can do what she likes with theroom provided that it is back to neutral when it is time to sell. Fresh interior paint in trendy colors is a big seller for homes on all the TV shows. Wallpaper might have limited appeal, no matter how nice you think it is.

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Anonymous
September 10, 20080 found this helpful

Agree with all except for starching fabric to the wallpaper. Even though starch is mild, over time and depending on the wallpaper itself, could damage the wallpaper permanently.

A huge NO painting the walls black! Not only will this ruin your nice existing wallpaper but will take coats and coats of primer and paint to cover over it so the black won't be bleeding through!

PS Yes, do keep re-sale under consideration! And your daughters taste may change in just six months ;-)

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September 10, 20080 found this helpful

if you have fabric that you want to use...kinda hold it up there and paint the fabric with Elmers glue and stick it to the wall..might need a few tacks to hold it until dry...when she is tired of it spritz it with water and it comes right off...then wash off the rest of the glue and presto you have your wall paper back penny

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 11, 20081 found this helpful

First, do not ever, ever, ever paint wallpaper. The results never look right and it's aweful to try and remove later.

We encountered a similar problem of wanting to cover up walls and found a cool system at IKEA.

It's called Dignitet Curtain Wire. It has a small bracket on each end that can be mounted to the wall or ceiling with an adjustable length of wire in between. They have inexpensive little clips that you can use to hook the fabric to the wire, or you can make a fold in the top like traditional curtains. Check it out on line. You may be able to find a similar item at a store that sells curtains.

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August 3, 20170 found this helpful

angalipic wall paper is used for painting over. you can find it at any wallpaper store

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By 0 found this helpful
October 14, 2010

Will laundry starch hurt wood paneling if you use it to put fabric over the expensive good quality of wood paneling? I do not wish to cut and take it down. The spouse would die before painting it. Fabric covering over 2/3 of wall with chair rail finishing molding would be the solution for faux wainscoting. Light fabric could brighten depressing all over house with brown walls.
I must know if anyone has tried this and had good results without ruining the panels before I jump in there.

By Sherry from OK

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October 14, 20100 found this helpful

I think it would hurt the paneling.

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October 16, 20100 found this helpful

This is a great way to cover up blah walls. I did this on a painted wall and removed it when I sold my house. the faberic starch stays in the fabric and not on the wall, when you remove the fabric it will be stiff from all of the starch. Just wash and use again. Starch is not a glue so your corners might peel away, just reapply more starch.

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October 16, 20100 found this helpful

I am envisioning fabric on the upper half of the wall, with wood paneling on the bottom? Right? Sounds good. Is there some place where you could try a patch of this to see if it sticks and to see what happens to the wood underneath? A painted wall is more durable than some kinds of wall paneling. I would do a test spot first.

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October 16, 20100 found this helpful

Why not use mirrors, light paint on ceiling and light colored carpet and window treatments. You can also use painted screens or art panels hung on the walls. I would not use anything over beautiful wood paneling for fear of ruining the finish. Good luck.

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January 26, 20120 found this helpful

Does anyone know how I can hang embossed vinyl fabric on a wall like wallpaper? It's 54 inches wide and pretty heavy when you're dealing with a 9 foot length.

By Julie

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February 22, 20120 found this helpful

This is from an article I found on the web:

I started to look for temporary projects that were quick, and simple and I came across one that I think will be fun and make a big difference: Using fabric as temporary wallpaper.

I wanted an accent wall in the bedroom. I found a how-to article, "The Quick Fix Fabric on Walls" at RentalDecorating.com. I'd like to know if anyone has tried this technique and if the results were successful.

When you need to remove the fabric, it peels off the wall - no harm done

The instructions are simple: Wash the wall, then use push pins to fasten fabric along the wall's top edge. Apply fabric starch to the wall (with a paint roller or from a spray can), starting at the top and smoothing the hanging fabric over it until you reach the floor. Hang another panel, matching the pattern and repeat the starch and fabric application down the wall. After the wall is covered, you trim the fabric.

You don't have to do an entire wall, either. You can cover any portion of a wall, or just a section and "frame" it with fancy trim.

I picked out my fabric, a giant silk floral with a pretty sheen (a white bed headboard and a bookcase will go against the wall, so that will cut the print's impact). I pinned it up in the living room in two panels, just to get practice matching the panels. I lucked out in that the 2 2/3 yards I needed for each piece came within a few inches of the pattern repeat.

Test run with laundry starch

I tried several craft and home supply stores, but couldn't find fabric starch. So I went to the grocery store and got a spray can of Niagara starch - and it worked!

I washed a section of wall, then sprayed it with the Niagara starch. I used a piece of fabric left over from lining a bag - it's about the same weight and texture as the silk. The next morning, it was still there. No bubbles or peeling and even the tiny frayed threads were still splayed out on the wall.

When I peeled it off, it came away from the wall easily. I think that you could even wash and use fabric from this project in something else later. I am going to keep looking for a plastic-based starch before I complete this project in earnest - I am concerned that a corn-based starch could draw insects. The Niagara Starch didn't list ingredients on the label, and I haven't found it online yet either.

FROM ME: Since the fabric is heavy, you might want to also tack it up at the corners with some really small nails that you could maybe touch a dab of paint over the heads of the nails to hide them. I saw on another site, someone also tacked it up with small painted boards (like molding) and they liked the results.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 5, 2010

I need to make starch for soaking my strips of material in before applying to the wall as a border. Has someone done this before?

By Anne

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Answers

September 9, 20100 found this helpful

I did my sister's bathroom in fabric, and all I did was get fabric adhesive from Michael's (or any craft supply store). With the room ventilated, you spray on a small amount, then put on the fabric, using a squeegee to keep out the wrinkles. If the room is going to get a lot of moisture, you may want to put on some Scotch Gard. Good luck!

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September 28, 20060 found this helpful

How do I clean the years of finger prints off fabric wallpaper without damaging the fibers and color? The fabric is a multi textured silk - varied shades of green?

Rebecca from Chicago, IL

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 30, 20060 found this helpful

try using the foam rug cleaner and a sponge. Try a small section and see how it works out.

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October 14, 20100 found this helpful

I have textured/bumpy walls. Will I be able to hang semi-heavy weight fabric (gabardine) on my walls with liquid starch like wallpaper? Will I need to sand my walls or use wallpaper liner in order to do this?

By jmfriendly from San Francisco, CA

Answers:

Covering Your Walls With Fabric

We did this in a smaller area and hung drapery rods and then put the fabric over it. Might work if you don't want to do the whole wall, and it's a quick project. (07/24/2009)

By Allison5

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July 23, 20090 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to use liquid starch to cover your walls with fabric? We live in a mobile home.

Annmel from Mountain Home, AR

Answers:

Covering Your Walls With Fabric

I have done this. I live in a home that was built in 1909 so not the best of walls. I used spray adhesive. I did this in small areas at a time. I would spray the wall and then the material, let sit for just a few minutes (til tacky) and than applied. I live in South Dakota, hot summers and bitterly cold winters. I have not had any of it come loose or bubble like people told me it would. I get many compliments on my walls. They don't believe me that its material until the go and touch it. Cleans well also, just vacuum. Hope this give you the confidence to try it. (06/22/2006)

Covering Your Walls With Fabric

I have done this many times, works on any walls, ceilings, and paneling. Just get a tub or good size bucket and put liquid starch into it, dip the cloth, (cotton is best, you can use sheets too, but not knits or polyester etc.). Wring out as much of the starch as you can into the bucket and put on wall smoothing it out as you go. When you get to the next piece just overlap a bit and put that piece up, too. Continue till the job is done. I use a wallpaper smoothy, they're 1.00 or 2.00 at a paint store.

If the fabric peels away due to kids picking at it or something just re-wet it with starch and smooth it back on the wall. It might look funny while it's wet, but if you couldn't see through it dry, you won't see through it when it dries again. When you want to change the decor just pull the material off throw it in the wash and use it for somethin. It's easy. (06/23/2006)

By Janet

Covering Your Walls With Fabric

Janet above have given you most of what I would have told you. Make sure you clean your walls well before applying fabric. I did two bathrooms to start out with, one in large pastel flowers, the other in Jungle print. The Jungle print was in a main bathroom that company used. Anyone who went into it, came out raving about all the colorful birds and small tree toads. I did both rooms at a reasonable price. Had them up for over ten years. Just pulled them off.

I still have the material. I did a old trailer for a income challenged friend that couldn't have paid for expensive wall treatment for her badly water damaged walls. She couldn't believe the changes. No damage showed through the fabric we used. Made she very happy. Hope you try this method. Go wild, you can always pull off and do again. Have fun, wish I was there to help. Sincerely. Judith W. 6/30/2006)

By Judith W.

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By 1 found this helpful
April 10, 2008

A great way to decorate a rental that will not harm the wall is with fabric that's held up with old fashioned Liquid Starch. If you can find a fabric you love at a price you can afford, then you can't beat this handy trick! Cotton or a cotton blend works best because it absorbs the liquid starch. It's also important to first wash your fabric before hanging because this not only removes any sizing, but washing also pre-shrinks the fabric so it won't shrink once it's hung and dry. All you need are a few simple tools and a measuring tape to figure out how much fabric to buy. (Cotton fabric is usually 45" wide)

Besides the fabric, you'll need: a bucket or large container, a large sponge, a paint roller or brayer, a gallon of liquid starch, a roller cutter (for cutting the fabric once it's hung) and a chair or step ladder. It's also nice to have a friend help out. All you do is dip your washed fabric into the bucket of liquid starch, then wring it out a bit. Next, hang the fabric starting at the ceiling, then cut the excess off with the roller cutting wheel. When it's time to move, simply pick a corner off with your fingernail, then pull it off in one easy motion. Then simply run the fabric through the wash and rinse cycle a few times and stash it away for another project or for hanging up again in your new place. This decorating technique is especially nice for those of us who keep changing our minds, or who get tired of things quickly.

Source: FOR MORE DETAILS: HGTV

By Cyinda from Seattle

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November 19, 20040 found this helpful

If you want a unique wallpaper, but easily removable, try stenciling the least expensive muslin fabric (I found mine for 86 cents a yard at major department store). Make sure to use fabric medium when stenciling. Then put up the fabric with laundry starch. The upside is that when you decide not to use the fabric for wallpaper any more, you can make curtains and other home decor out of it.

By Debbie Z

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