I have an awesome tutorial for you today! This is what I spent most of yesterday working on. It took a little bit longer than I thought it would. I know you’ve seen me use starch to stick fabric to the wall, but now I have a tutorial and a really cool way to use it.
I’ve fallen in love with bookshelves that have color in the back. It spices up a room, but it’s in a small area and you don’t have to paint a whole room.

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

I had filed away these ideas when I first saw them knowing I would use them once I moved. We got here are there’s a great built in bookshelf near the front door. I can’t paint or glue on the walls though because we’re renting. Instead I used starch and fabric! I used a Premier Prints chevron fabric*.

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

Liquid Starch-it’s by the spray starch but it should be in a bottle. My big bottle was maybe $2 and this is the fourth time I used it with lots left.
Container for the starch
Fabric- thin fabric is by far the easiest. This time I did it with decor fabric and it was hard to get the starch to soak in which makes the fabric less sticky.
Measuring tape

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

Wipe the back of the bookshelf, wall, or whatever you’re going to use so it’s clean. Now measure each spot or wherever you’re putting the fabric and cut the fabric into those pieces. I measured each space and then ripped my fabric to fit that space, so I had 8 pieces of fabric. 
*Important* Sometimes the fabric shrinks when you get it wet, and sometimes it stretches. Maybe test a piece before you cut them all. I ran into problems later because I didn’t test my fabric first.

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

Now you can watch me putting the fabric onto the back.

Really make sure that the fabric is flattened against the wall with no air bubbles. Smooth it and straighten so that it looks nice.
The fabric on the bookshelf! Doesn’t it look great?

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

I had a little bit of problem because I thought my fabric would stretch when wet, but I think it shrunk just a little bit. Luckily, there are things going on my shelves so nobody sees the problem.

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

Here’s my version of the painted bookshelf.

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

I really love it, and I’ve needed to get some chevron in my life.

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

It is a little busy, but since it’s in a small area I don’t mind it. It’s a great pop of color and pattern.

Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial
This technique is temporary in that you can take it down without damaging the wall, but it will stay up as long as you like. In my last apartment I had some fabric up for about a year, and it probably would’ve stayed up for more if I had left it. It stays up quite nicely, and I never had to do any touch-ups. 
When I was ready to take it down, I just peeled the fabric off the wall. It leaves a slight residue but it comes off with a little scrubbing with a wet cloth.
I forgot to mention that I got the fabric from Fabric.com. I had been eyeing it for awhile and finally gave in and got it. It was just perfect for what I had envisioned. 

Related Posts

Author: Heather Handmade

I'm a seamstress and mother. I sew, blog, thrift, upcycle, design fabric, and teach sewing classes. I'm also a self-proclaimed fabric fondler.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

40 thoughts on “Temporary Fabric Wallpaper Tutorial

  1. Very helpful tutorial. I've seen the idea a few times but have been reluctant to experiment since I also rent (and "no paint" is in my lease). The walls are a lovely candlelight color I like, actually, but there are some areas that could use a bit of color and/or texture. Also gives me ideas for "stripable" Christmas decorating.

    Plan to try to put lace curtains directly on lower windows with this tip – just a bit slightly tailored privacy for a 1st floor apartment that won't block much light. THANKS. Nice blog, btw. Will be pinning!

(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    "It takes a village to transform a world!"

    Posted on September 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm
  2. I'm wondering if anyone has tried this over wall paper? Would it work without ruining it?

    Posted on May 4, 2014 at 7:01 am
    1. I'm not sure how wallpaper reacts to starch. You could always test a small hidden area to see if there is a reaction!

      Posted on May 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm
  3. Do you think this would work on a mirror? My whole wall is a mirror and I hate it.

    Posted on March 11, 2014 at 4:23 am
  4. Do you think it would work on a mirror? I have a really outdated mirrored wall ( an entire wall that is a mirror) I want to cover.

    Posted on March 11, 2014 at 4:22 am
    1. Yes! It works of any solid, flat surface.

      Posted on March 12, 2014 at 2:53 am
  5. Out of curiosity, have you tried this technique on particle board or that flimsy cardboard like backing on Billy bookcases? I'm in the process of repainting them and I love the idea of using your idea on them.

    Posted on July 23, 2013 at 4:23 am
  6. To ME, it looks like the shelves were adjustable. If that was the case, why didn't you just take down the shelves and do the whole wall and then replace the shelves? As I said, it looked that way to me, but I've been wrong once or twice before (thinking ex-husbands, LOL).

    Other than that, it's great. I'm doing this for grandbabies's bookcase in our LR, where we keep their books and toys on the bottom where this is no shelf. Toys in baskets, books and other things on shelves. This is a beautiful pattern that will work in our LR despite all the kid things! Thanks (and I've become a follower, too!)

    Posted on May 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm
  7. This is a fabulous idea! I was looking for a way to quickly update a plain Jane bookcase. I normally use paper and paint, but had some fabric on hand and wanted to know how I could make it work. A short Google search later, I found your site with this handy tip. Thanks for sharing. My new bookcase looks fabulous: http://www.freeupnow.com/2012/10/bookcase-made-fresh/. And it will look even better when I get around to painting it! Thanks for posting this wonderful tip! I shared your link on my blog and credited to you. 🙂


    Posted on October 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm
  8. A friend updated a headboard like this recently. It was the kind with a frame around the edges and she put fabric in the flat part in the middle. She wanted it permanent so she used spray adhesive to attach it, but didn't get it as neat as she wanted up against the frame. She's adding gimp to tidy it up and it's beautiful. There's a little matching nightstand with one drawer and she added the same fabric to the drawer front.
    I have a little bookshelf/bench thing that I'm struggling with and I think fabric will be the way to finish it up!
    Thanks for the idea and the info.

    Posted on September 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm
  9. Does this work on slightly textured walls?

    Posted on July 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm
    1. Yes! I've used it on cinder block and textured walls, and it works great!

      Posted on July 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm
  10. This is EXACTLY what I was hunting for today. I have two large built-ins and didn't want to do anything modge-podgy permanent. You are a genius! And I have tons of fabric to use! Thank you!

    Posted on July 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm
  11. Lovely! A great tutorial! Thanks for posting this ^^

    / Amanda

    Posted on January 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm
  12. What a great project! 🙂 I've featured this post on Craft Gossip here:

    If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here:

    Posted on September 9, 2011 at 11:37 am
  13. I love this! Thanks for linking with us at Show & Share!


    Posted on September 6, 2011 at 5:07 am
  14. I just found your blog via UCreate, and I love this idea! Perfect for apartment living for sure 🙂 My dark-stain bookcase could use a lighter pop of color on it's cardboard backing.

    Posted on September 2, 2011 at 5:55 am
  15. wow, great job! it looks totally professional!

    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm
  16. That is a really cool idea. I'm trying to decide if any of my bookshelves would show fabric with all the books on them. You have some fantastic stuff here. I esp like the suit tutorials. I'm a new follower from Show and Share.:) I'm over at http://everydaygameplan.net

    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm
  17. Genius! What a difference that makes! I just made a skirt out of that same material. 🙂

    I would love to have you share this at my link party, Show & Share!


    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm
  18. That is great fabric that you used. Great directions. Visiting from Show and Tell Wednesday.
    ~ Kimberlee at The Spunky Diva 

    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm
  19. This is awesome! I think you may have just inspired me to try this in my office.

    Just found you on The Shine Project, and I'm your newest follower. I really enjoy your DIY ideas 🙂


    Posted on August 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm
  20. I'm in love with this project! What a fun way to add more color to a room….and easy enough to not scare this un-crafty girl away. Thanks for sharing your brilliance!

    Posted on August 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm
  21. Love this! We are in the process of redoing our master bath. Doing it all on the cheap, DIY to put our home on the market. It is the only room yet to be made over. But we decided we wanted to move to the coast. Anyhoo, we made an recessed area in the wall where an awkward closet was, if we were going to stay here, I would mirror the back, but this idea is great. Less dollars spent and a fabulous effect. Thanks for the tutorial and for sharing!

    Posted on August 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm
  22. Super cute! I love the Chevron stripes!

    Posted on August 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm
  23. Gorgeous! I've totally thought about doing something similar, but nothing seemed easy. Your tute is perfect and I will be using it!! Thank you!!!

    Posted on August 20, 2011 at 6:03 am
  24. This is fantastic! I love the idea and I think the pattern you chose looks great!

    Posted on August 20, 2011 at 4:22 am
  25. This is so awesome!! And so easy! I've been wanting to do this on my bookshelf for a long time, but was planning on wrapping fabric around cardboard and putting it in that way – this is way easier! Thank you!

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 7:32 pm
  26. Cool technique. 🙂 Love the fabric. where did you get it?

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm
  27. Love this! And, love that it's not permanent–thanks for sharing:)

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm
  28. Really SUPER cute! Great idea! I love it!!!!

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm
  29. is this permanent? I would think the starch would stick for a good long while or leave a residue. But if not, I am definitely doing this as a temporary change in decor! 🙂

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm
  30. I love this idea! Thank you so much for this tutorial. I've been wanting to do something with my glass front kitchen cabinets and now I know what to do!! Yay!

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm
  31. Love it! How long will it stay up?

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm
  32. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!! What a great idea! I just used some paintable beadboard wallpaper on the back of one of my bookshelves to add a pop of color. I love the chevron though! I found you via UCreate! 🙂

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm
  33. very cute! i love that chevron fabric too 🙂 You have some great projects on your blog, I just became a follower!

    Posted on August 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm
  34. Great idea!! Love your blog btw!

    Posted on August 18, 2011 at 7:10 pm
  35. That fabric is so cute! I have been wanting a rug, curtains, bedspread, SOMETHING in light blue chevron!

    Posted on August 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm
  36. How AWESOME! This is an excellent idea…and I love the CHEVRON!

    I'm new to your blog…and I think it's adorable. 🙂

    Happy Thursday!

    Posted on August 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm
  37. love it!

    Posted on August 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm