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I have a confession to make right out of the gate my darlings. I had absolutely zero intention to write up a tutorial about this project. I was far too focused on how the heck I was going to pull it off within the crazy tight timeline of the One Room Challenge™ than worrying about taking useful photos and helpful notes that I could translate it into a step-by-step process for the people. To be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind until I revealed the wall on Instagram during Week 3 of the ORC ™ and the questions started pouring in like letters to Santa at Christmastime.
I’m so happy to deliver; I’m also asking for your forgiveness for the half-assed nature of this tutorial in advance. I’m still learning. Here are some helpful words and random pics and videos I’ve piecemealed together from Insta Stories. I feel really confident that you can fill in the blanks with your smarts and creativity! Goooooo team!
FIRST, LET’S TACKLE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Why on God’s green earth would someone want to use fabric, much less a shower curtain, to wallpaper a room? I have several answers to this question; I am nothing if not a master at making up real good reasons to do questionable things. But the one that takes the cake and rings the truest is this: I am cheap, and so is this project.
I am cheap, and so is this project.
Let me break it down for you. The most expensive thing by a long shot is the fabric you choose and I have yet to see a fabric store that doesn’t offer deep discounts and coupons at some point. Everything else you need for this project you can probably find in your garage or purchase for less than $10.
If you’re a wallpaper junkie (like me) on a tight budget (also me) than this is your actual dream come true! Believe me. I know how much you looove that Anthro wallpaper, but at $200/roll you cannot even will yourself to buy it because the baby’s gotta eat am I right?
What’s more, I’m here to tell you that if hanging wallpaper makes you say the kind of foul mouthed words that offend the devil himself (it’s not just me right?) then I’ve got news for you: Fabric is SO MUCH MORE forgiving and easier to work with than traditional wallpaper. It doesn’t tear. It doesn’t crease. It adheres well to textured walls. It’s removable. And you can still kiss your mama with that mouth when all is said and done. If you’re in a rental or even remotely risk averse, this project will let you have your cake and eat it too, babe.
Supplies & Tools Needed:
- Stay Flo Liquid Starch
- Spray Bottle
- Paint roller
- Paint tray
- Wallpaper Smoothing Tool
- Push Pins (tacks) that are easy to grab
- Fabric cutter
- Iron-on Hem Tape (optional)
DO YOU RESEARCH
There are plenty of tutorials online offering a handful of adhesive options to consider such as spray adhesive, liquid starch, staples, tacks etc. I was initially drawn to the idea of using a spray adhesive because its a medium I’ve worked with a ton, I have it on hand, and I’m comfortable with it. However my walls are super textured, the material I chose is a heavier canvas vs. a thin cotton fabric, and I was afraid it would not provide a strong enough adhesive bond.
I landed on liquid starch because I felt it would do a better job of sticking the fabric to the walls. The crown molding and board and batten I planned to install offered reassurance that the material would be secured in place at the top and bottom of the panels as well. When all was said and done, neither were needed. Once the starch dried it was easy to see that these panels weren’t going anywhere. In fact if a tornado runs through our town, this is our new safe room. 😉
*I’m tossing this is in first as a “shoulda, woulda, coulda” because I wish I would have washed my fabric before I hung it. Canvas has some stretch to it, especially once wet. So as it dried, it shrunk a little creating separation at the seam. I was able to re-soak and stretch the panels and hold them in place with tacks, but I certainly would wash to reduce the chance of shrinkage on the wall next time.
The first thing I did was rough tack the shower curtain to the wall to ensure I had enough fabric to aptly cover the space and see how the pattern aligned on the wall. It was a little tight so I pulled out the hems using a seam ripper to give me a little bit more wiggle room. I made adjustments to align the pattern properly where the two panels met in the middle and noticed mine lined up almost perfectly at the hem that was already in place.
While the panels were tacked to the wall I made marks to indicate where extra fabric could be removed. I took both panels down (taking special care to ensure I kept them in proper order), cut away the excess fabric and gave them one final press with my iron.
Note: *My original plan was to take out all the hems and cut away from each until the pattern aligned but I wasn’t sure if the material would fray. Finding a perfect alignment at the hem gave me an easier out. I removed the stitching with a seam ripper, unfolded the hem (it was folded twice so three layers thick) and refolded it just once. I cut away the excess and slid a piece of iron-on hem tape inside the fold and ironed it in place. Whatever material you choose, you will likely have to either cut away or fold over and iron flat some portion of your fabric for proper pattern alignment.
Making sure your first panel is hung straight is super important as every other panel will be affected. If you’ve ever tried to hang anything in your house you’ve probably found that not all corners and ceilings are perfectly straight and counting on them as your guide is not recommended. It helps to drop a plumb line on your wall to work off of instead. To do so, measure the width of your first panel, subtract and inch or two. (You will want to give yourself a little bit of overhang in the corner that can be cutaway after). Using a level, draw a straight line on your wall from ceiling to floor. For example, if your panel is 54″ wide, your mark should be at apx. 52″ from the corner.
Starting from the left side of your wall, tack your first panel into place from the very top near the ceiling. You only need enough pins to help hold the fabric in place while you apply the starch. Take care to allow for some overhang of the fabric at the top, bottom and corners (where your walls meet) to accommodate for shrinkage and realignment. The excess will be cut away once everything dries.
Fill your paint tray with liquid starch and get enough on your roller to give the walls underneath your first panel a good soak.
Working from top to bottom, left to right, apply a liberal amount of starch to your wall with the paint roller. Use your wallpaper smoothing tool to press the fabric into the walls and smooth it out. Make sure you fully rub out any bubbles or creases by working them to the sides and letting the air escape.
My first panel bubbled a bit as it dried and I think its because I didn’t use enough starch. But I promised you this project was forgiving at the top of this post and I meant it. If your starch has already dried and you’ve got pesky bubbles popping up, simply re-soak the affected area with your spray bottle or paint roller (yes, you can roll over the fabric too) and repeat with your smoothing tool. If the bubble still won’t release, give it a little poke with a pin or your fabric cutter to let the pesky air escape.
It took me a little bit of trial and error to figure out the rhythm and if you leave with one takeaway let it be this: Don’t skimp on the starch.
*Note: It also helps to stick close until the starch dries completely and smooth out bubbling areas as they appear. I noticed if I checked on mine every 20 minutes or so I could catch most bubbles popping up during the drying process and fix them before they got any worse.
I hung the second panel the same as the first, from the top, and then went over the wall AND THE SEAM of the first panel with my paint roller of starch. I focused on aligning the pattern first and pinned it into place using my push pins. Once I was happy with the seam I worked on rolling and smoothing out the second panel exactly as I did with the first.
As mentioned, I did notice some shrinking specifically at the seam where the two panels adjoined, so I re-soaked and smoothed out that area a handful of times and pinned both in place until it dried fully.
FOR THE VISUAL (SPEED) LEARNER
Once I was sure everything was dried and in place I cut away the excess fabric from the ceiling and corners using a straight edge and a fabric cutting tool.
I used small brad tacks intermittently as the pattern allowed just for added security but honestly, it was an unnecessary step. If your pattern does not allow for it, don’t be panicked.
Alright babes that’s all she wrote! As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on ye ole gram if you have any questions! I love nothing more than interacting with you! You can also check out my Instagram Highlight for a play by play of this process as well as my ORC journey!
Thanks for being here!