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DIY removable wallpaper - great for renters or anyone who doesn't want to spend hours removing wallpaper down the road!

How to Make Removable Wall Paper

My friend Allyson from Day to Day Wonderments recently completed a project that was just too good not to share!  She, like many of us, is a renter and not allowed to change the paint color or wallpaper her home.  But she LOVES the look of wallpaper, don’t we all?

Enter a creative solution to an annoying problem.  Allyson created fabric to look like wallpaper and starched it to her wall.  Once they move, all they have to do is wet the walls and peel it off without doing any damage to the wall or paint.  Genius.

DIY removable wallpaper - great for renters or anyone who doesn't want to spend hours removing wallpaper down the road!

She started by purchasing a Moroccan stencil online at Royal Design Studio.  Then she purchased thick cotton duck cloth at Joanns.  She decided to just go to the chair rail, which is the width of the fabric.  If you do the whole wall, you end up with a seam and she wanted to avoid the seam situation.  It’s not impossible, but easy is better, right?

After stenciling her fabric, she used push pins to tack the fabric to the ceiling to make sure it was straight.  Then she used liquid starch and a brush to adhere it to the wall.  After letting it dry she used an exacto knife to trim the excess from the ceiling and chair rail.

You literally cannot tell that this is fabric.  She’s lived with it for months and hasn’t had any problems with it coming off.  Again, this is such a creative way to get the look of wallpaper without the commitment.  I love it!

This is SUCH a clever idea.  I only wish I’d known about it back when I was a renter.  Thanks so much to Kristin and Allyson for sharing.



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily November 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I think I’m totally going to use this idea for the backs of my large bookcases in the living room. I’ve been afraid to wallpaper or paint the backs, because I’m afraid of the commitment. This would be SO EASY! Just remove the whole big back panel, starch fabric to it, and reattach. If I don’t like it, I can peel it off and be right back where I started!


Steph at Modern Parents Messy Kids November 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Great idea!


Jessica November 2, 2012 at 12:14 am

What a great idea, do you know roughly how much it cost to do?


Emily November 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm

If you found fabric that already had a pattern/design you liked, you could skip the cost and work of stenciling it, and just starch the fabric to the wall.


kristin eldridge photography November 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm

It would just be the cost of the stencil, the fabric (about $5-10/yard) and starch, which is dirt cheap! Depending on the size of the area, I bet you could get it done for about $50!



Kirsten November 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm


That really looks great! I’d say the fabric gives it the special look of a very expensive wallpaper.
Did you put the starch on the wall and then the fabric on top or did you brush the starch on the fabric until it was soaked and therefore sticked to the wall?

Wouldn’t the same method work with real wallpaper?

In Germany, where I come from, we are allowed (and even forced by the renting-contract most commonly) to wallpaper our flats. So we have to wallpaper quite a lot during our renting carreers. Therefore you can even buy special wallpaper that can be torn off without having to soak it with water. These don’t leave residuences either.

Isn’t it funny how different these things are? Here it is *cool* not to wallpaper your walls but only paint them. (I was never sure, one can really repaint a wall as many times as one wants to. Doesn’t the colour peel of after a certain number of layers?)
What I don’t understand is, why would the owner not want you to wallpaper your flat as the wallpaper keeps the wall from getting damaged or e.g. from being “painted” by the kids.



Corinne December 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

didn’t the paint bleed through the fabric?


Katrina December 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Do you have to use duck cloth or what other fabrics work? And what did you use to stencil the design on so that it looks nice and doesn’t run or mess up?

I would like to try it with fabric I already like. The stencil step seems like too much work and opportunity to mess up. But not sure how to make that work.


Brenda January 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I recently seen this done on Nate Berkus decorating show…awsome idea. Thanks for sharing.


www.ctwointeriordesign.com June 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

Hello, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!


Lindsey May 8, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Would this work in wood paneling or would it ruin it?


Cesca February 15, 2015 at 6:03 am

Hi! Would this work on already wallpapered walls? I’m renting now too and the wallpaper is just an awful green with leopards and ferns as prints – totally not my style! Thanks for this blog post though! Very interesting!



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