Starch + Fabric + Thumbtacks = Awesome Feature Wall

Starch + Fabric + Thumbtacks = Awesome Feature Wall


Dinning rooms are tough, especially when ours has a fireplace, two doors and a staircase leading into it. Took the opportunity to turn the weird wall into a feature. That’s not wallpaper, that is fabric… put up in one day with starch! Yes the liquid starch you use on your laundry (you can pick up a bottle at walmart–I used three for this project.) This was a trick my mom used ages ago when we lived in military housing. You couldn’t paint, and you certainly couldn’t put up wallpaper. My mom, never one to compromise on making any house feel like home, used this same starching technique. It held up like iron until it was time for us to pack up, then it was as simple as reactivating the starch with water and pulling the fabric off the wall. Whats more amazing, beyond the fact that removal is a breeze (the fabric wont tear like paper,) we could wash the fabric and use it again!

So here is what I did/learned:
I got a killer deal on some amazing fabric from fabricguru.com. (They have awesome deals on remnants and misprints.) I scored seven yards of Robert Allen Cats Cradle Printed Linen Blend Drapery Fabric in Midnight Blue, typically $17.00-$22.00 a yard for $30 bucks!! The last yard had some bleeding and miss printing, so I just worked around it.

I didn’t want to pre-wash the fabric for fear of fraying and fading… which is fine as long as the color doesn’t bleed and you let the fabric sit in the starch solution for several minutes before you put it on the wall. This will prevent shrinking (that I learned the hard way).

I cut the fabric in vertical strips allowing a two inch overhang around the areas I was going to trim off (doors, moldings etc.,) soaked the fabric in a starch filled shallow bowl and ‘pasted’ it on the wall. Super easy to re-position and adjust. I used thumbtacks to hold the panels in place as they dried. Once completely dry (overnight), I cut off the excess with an exacto knife (a razor blade would have been better, the fabric is so hard when it is dry that the blades dull quickly.) The best part–there were a couple of areas that needed some reworking–just dabbed them with water, reworked ‘um, and reapplied the starch.

I dripped a TON on the hardwood floor during the process. Husband: “Kelley, please put a drop cloth down, before you start.” Me: “Come on, it will be fine.” GULP. But the starch wiped right up. One good mop and I was saved from the forever after agony of a ruined floor.

Loved how it turned out. Will absolutely do it again.

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