Clothes and fabric — much like trinkets from travels, pieces of furniture, and cards from birthdays past — can hold a ton of sentimental value. Whether it be a T-shirt from a favorite concert, a scrap of sample fabric from a project long-since completed, or an article of clothing from a loved one, people cling to certain pieces much longer than others. But what do you do when that item no longer fits? Sure, you could tuck it in the back of a drawer or store it high up in the closet. What if I told you there’s a clever, rental-friendly DIY project you can use if for instead, though? That’s right. Two words: fabric wallpaper.
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“I love using vintage fabric as wallpaper,” says Gretchen Raguse of her Portland, Oregon home, which features this crafty hack in more than one spot. Where’d she get her inspiration? None other than Apartment Therapy! “I came across this idea on Apartment Therapy a few years ago and knew I needed to try it out in my own space,” says Raguse. “I started with an accent wall in my kitchen, meant to visually divide the area for my office. Repurposing a dress my mom made in the ’70s, I cut and pasted the fabric together to form a repeating pattern.”
Raguse only had enough material to cover a small section of wall, so she added trim and beadboard to round out the wall, which created the pretty patterned panel you see above. “Fabric as wallpaper quickly became an obsession of mine and made its way through my apartment,” she adds. “After the accent wall, I added it to my hallway ceiling and bedroom (as shown below). Even my friend’s place got a fabric makeover!”
If you’re ready to try this idea out yourself, I’d recommend checking out this in-depth tutorial, but here’s the gist: You start by positioning your chosen fabric on a freshly-cleaned wall with tape, lining up any edges. Lift up the fabric and roll a nice layer of liquid starch onto the wall, then smooth the fabric out onto the wall, removing any bubbles or wrinkles as you go. Next, add another thick layer of liquid starch on top of the fabric, ensuring it’s totally saturated through to the wall. Finally, cut the excess fabric off with a utility knife. When you’re ready for a change, the fabric will come right off with a soapy sponge bath. Genius, no?