DIY: Home Edition

My next post is something maybe some of you have heard of, but I hope to give an idea on how to do it most frugally. My sister-in-law told me about mixing lightweight fabric with starch and applying it to walls years ago. I have implemented this in dorm rooms, and my latest apartment. I was reminded about it at this post from Apartment Therapy.

{picture from AT}

To Install Fabric Wallpaper (Linit Craft Ideas):

1. Wash the wall to remove any dirt or film.
2. Measure from the floor to the ceiling and add a couple extra inches. Cut the fabric accordingly. If fabric has a design, be sure to match the design before cutting the next panel as when using wallpaper.
3. Pour starch into a clean pan or spray on if using stiffener (see Tip section if using spray stiffener). Apply starch to the top half of the wall with a sponge, paint roller or spray on if using spray stiffener.
4. Smooth fabric into place at the top of the wall, leaving about one inch to be trimmed later. Use push pins to hold the fabric temporarily in place. Apply more starch going down the wall as needed until you get to the floor, leave approximately one inch overlap at floor level.
5. Apply starch to the top of the fabric, brushing and smoothing the fabric in place to remove bubbles and wrinkles. Be sure the starch penetrates the fabric evenly.
6. Work your way down the panel, continuing to sponge or spray starch onto the wall, smoothing the fabric, and applying more starch.
7. Position the second panel, matching the design along the edge. Repeat steps.
8. Around windows and doors, leave a one inch overlap as with the ceiling and floor.
9. Fabric overlap should be cut when the fabric is completely dry. It will then cut clean and easily and any shrinkage will have occurred before you trim.

Here is my before & after:

The first picture was before we moved in (our manager's were kind enough to make sure that we had fresh paint and new carpet). My main concern was that wood panelling. I used 2 king sized flat sheets (of 2 different colors for the 2 sections). I think this is a good idea because a basic sheet is the cheapest fabric you can buy, and because if you buy a solid sheet, there are no patterns to match up. I used Sta-Flo liquid starch that you can buy for less than $3 at Wal/K/Tar/Shopmart.

Also, even though I like the picture posted on Apartment Therapy's website, I wouldn't recommend using fabric in the kitchen! It will get dirty fast.

Well, that's all for now. I hope some of you can use this idea in your rental or home. Thanks for reading,

Happy Crafting!


  1. That looks awesome! I am hoping to repaint our house soon. It's driving my batty!

  2. I remember being a great fan of this idea in the dorms. But I can't remember how to remove it. Do you just add a little water to it, or can it peel right off?

  3. Kiley-
    Thanks! I love how it turned out! Hopefully you can paint soon. It's hard living in a space that isn't how you want it!

    Oh yes. To remove, you be able to just peel it off. Then wipe down the wall with a damp rag. Very very easy. If you meet any resistance when removing, spray with a bit of water, and it should be down in no time.

    Thanks for reading!

  4. Hey! I found your blog from Mandy's. I too, have the curse of wood paneling in the rental home. I'm definetly going to give this a try. Just one technical question. How do you deal with the little grooves in the paneling?

  5. Megan-
    Our paneling is SO coarse, and you can't tell it's there once the fabric is up. One thing that I did that deviated from the directions given is, I doused my sheet in liquid starch before I hung it. (I just put it in a plastic bucket and added the starch and mixed). As we were putting it up I used push pins at the top to make sure it wouldn't come down. But, if you smooth the fabric as you go it will cling to the outermost part of the paneling and just smooth over the grooves. Good luck! I hope it works out for you, and thanks for reading.

  6. Madeline you are awesome and I love all of your groovey ideas! Your place looks fantastic...I think I already told you that...?!

  7. I love this idea, but I have 3 cats...would this wall treatment collect hair?

  8. I fear this would collect hair the same as any other fabric. I have had mine up for 2 years and haven't noticed any of my hair sticking to it (and my hair is persistent) but pet hair can be a real problem. Best of luck, and thanks for reading!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. I'm about to move into a new apartment and it's wall to wall paneling. After reading these posts, I feel so much better about being able to work with it. My only question is about removal. What is the clean up like when my lease is up? Thanks!!

  11. Clean-up is cake! you should just be able to pull the fabric down. If it offers any resistance, dampen with a water spray bottle, and it should come right down!

  12. The paneling in my apartment is really dark, how heavy does the fabric or sheets need to be to make sure it doesn't show through? Would I be better off with a colored sheet?

    Thanks again!

  13. As you can see above, I used a colored sheet. I think that is the best idea (better than using thick fabric).

  14. Can you hang things on over the fabric? Like frames, posters or shelves?

  15. Is there a certain type of fabric that works better than others?

  16. I hung art work over mine and it worked fine. I am sure that shelves would be the same. It will ofcourse damage the fabric, but other than that I think it will work.

    I have only used cotton sheeting, so I am not sure if other fabric works better.

  17. This looks like a great idea! I definitely do want to try this in my bedroom but I do have one concern though. Do you think this might cause the wood paneling to warp over time because of the moisture?

  18. It's only wet for about an hour after it's placed. I don't think it would cause warping.

  19. Wow! I was linked here, from another forum where I was looking up what to do in my home. I am renting an older model double wide. It has TONs of wood paneling and some built in patterned type walls that just look like wall paper. We are allowed to paint over the patterned wall paper type walls, but not the paneling. I think this will be the perfect solution!

  20. You did such a great job! This is a wonderful idea and a total lifesaver to all those living/renting homes with wood paneling! :)
    I read that you said it is easy to remove and just using a little water will bring it down.. what do the wood panels look like afterwards? Are they ruined or can you just wipe them off? I do not want to mess up my owner's home. :)

  21. Thanks so much for the tutorial, I did this on my paneling and it was a lot easier than I expected.

    One word of caution though... I tried it with light colored sheets, ivory, and the paneling shows through so it kind of looks like a whitewashed barn effect. It's cool if that's what you're going for... but if you want something more modern or clean looking, choose a more saturated color!

    I'm actually going to end up using the sheet as a canvas for a big mural on the wall because it didn't look quite like i wanted with just the sheet.

  22. Hi,

    Can this technique be used on a regular, non-paneled wall?

    1. Of course! It is easier to do on a regular wall. Good luck!


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