Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wallpaper made from vintage sheet

Ok, I admit, this was not my original idea. I saw it on the Nate Burkus show. Basically the idea is to use fabric (in my case a vintage bed sheet) to wallpaper a wall with. This technique is great for apartments or rentals since it is removeable. First, pick some fabric and a wall. I advise a small wall! Buy yourself some liquid starch. I found some at the grocery store. You will also need a paint tray and paint roller. I used a foam roller which seemed to work well.
Tack your fabric up on the wall just to hold it in place while you work. Allow a 1" border around ceiling and edge of walls, you will cut this excess off when you are done. Protect the flooring and nearby furniture with a dropcloth.
Next, pour some liquid starch into the paint tray, then apply to paint roller. Don't be stingy, the more the better, it will be messy! Start in the right corner, rolling starch onto wall. You will have to lift up your fabric in order to do this. (You can also apply some starch to the wall before you tack up fabric, but you must work quickly before starch dries.) Press down on fabric so it sticks to the starch like glue. It's OK if you don't get all the way to the edges yet. Just work on getting a big section of the corner to start the process. Now you can slop on some more starch ON TOP of the fabric. Keep pressing down and smoothing out (with your hands or a spatula tool). Fabric should be totally saturated. Smooth out any wrinkles and bubbles. I worked in about 2 foot x 2 foot section at a time. Now apply starch to wall in the area next to it and repeat process. I worked from top to bottom which seemed to turn out well. Keep checking to make sure all areas are saturated. Once I was basically done, I got a paint brush, soaked it in the starch, and went around the edges. I used the brush to press the hard to reach edges and make sure the edges are good and wet and worked into the corners.
Now let dry.
Once it is dry (I waited a couple of days from laziness) take an exacto knife or razor blade and cut excess material from the edges. The 1" border of extra fabric was to allow for shrinkage when fabric dries. 
You should now have a fabulous wall! When you have to move or if you just get tired of the design, pull up the corner and peel off!

The sample on the Nate Burkus show was a graphic line pattern. If this is your first time, I would avoid anything with lines. I can imagine they could get wiggly pretty quick. When the fabric is wet it tends to stretch and get off center in places. It didn't matter with my huge floral pattern... but I can imagine the difficulty with any lines or plaid.

Since the adhesive is just starch, I didn't worry about being messy. It splashed everywhere, dripped everywhere, got on the ceiling and walls. I just cleaned up with warm soapy water and a wash cloth when I was finished!

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