We’re into Week 2 of another Spring One Room Challenge! Things with the powder room are starting to look a bit more lively, thanks in large part to our DIY Fabric Wallpaper.

You might be thinking…

“Fabric wallpaper?? That doesn’t sound like a thing…”

But you know when you just fall in love with something and need to figure out a way to make it work? That was the case with this stunning fabric from Tonic Living.

From the first moment I saw it I just knew it was going to be the perfect addition to our powder room. But how do you take fabric and make it into a wallpaper feature?? Well a I figured a quick Google search would give me the answer to that question.

I came across this tutorial from Brit + Co. which seemed simple enough. Liquid fabric starch…who knew!? A quick trip to Walmart, and we’re in business right?!

Well if you’re Canadian like us, things actually aren’t quite that simple. As it turns out, liquid fabric starch, for whatever reason, just isn’t available here. I thought of trying to order some on Amazon, but the shipping would have been more than the actual cost of the starch! Bummer!

Not to be discouraged, however, I did some more Googling and decided to try to make my own.

DIY Liquid Fabric Starch

Fellow Canadians looking to try this fabric wallpaper thing, fear not. I’ve got you covered. And the good news – you can literally make this for free with 2 ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.

Water & Cornstarch

Yes, that’s literally all that you need. Here’s how I did it…

(Note: The wall we’re covering is relatively small – only 49″ x 92″ – so to cover a larger surface area you may want to double or even triple the recipe )

Measure 4 cups of water and bring to a boil in a large pot. In a small bowl, mix about 3/4 cups of cornstarch with a small amount of cool water. You won’t need a lot – just enough so that the cornstarch dissolves into a thin slurry (you should be able to pour it).

Add the cornstarch mixture into the boiling water slowly, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken (about a minute) and remove from the heat. Do not overcook it. If you boil the starch too long it will continue to thicken and will be more difficult to work with.

You want don’t want the resulting consistency to be a a paste, but rather a slightly thick liquid – think fabric softener.

Set it aside and let it cool.

And there you have it! Simple 2 ingredient liquid starch. You’re almost ready to get that beautiful fabric up on your wall!

Applying your DIY Fabric Wallpaper

While you’re waiting for the liquid starch to cool, you can use that time to prep your fabric. If you’re unsure about the colour fastness of your fabric you may want to test it out or pre-wash it.

Measure your wall surface & cut your fabric to size, leaving a couple of inches excess to overlap at each of the edges. You will cut off the excess once the wall is dry.

Cutting the fabric to size for our wallpaper treatment

You can use push pins at the top of the wall to hold the fabric in place, again taking care to overlap the corner onto the ceiling. This is important because when you start applying the starch and the fabric gets wet & heavy, it may shift or begin to slide down in between the pins. Overlapping allows you to cut off the excess fabric to create a nice clean edge line afterward.

Tacking the fabric into place using push pins

When your starch is fully cooled, begin by applying a thin layer to your wall using a paint roller. Smooth your fabric onto it, working out any air bubbles with your hands. It’s handy to have an extra set of hands for this step, as you will need to work in small sections because the starch begins to dry quickly.

Smooth the fabric to the starched wall taking care to smooth out any air bubbles
Ensure you smooth the fabric tightly into the corners so that you will have a clean edge to cut

Once your fabric is onto the wall, use the roller to apply another coat of starch over the entire surface of the wall ensuring your fabric is fully saturated.

Saturate the fabric with the starch mixture using a paint roller

Leave it and allow to dry overnight. Once the wall is dry, you can use a straight edge and an x-acto knife or rotary cutter to trim the excess fabric at the corners of your wall.

DIY Fabric Wallpaper using the beautiful Layla fabric in indigo from Tonic Living

We’re so happy with how our DIY fabric wallpaper turned out. The pattern is much more bold than anything we’ve done before in the Dreamhouse, but I’m loving it so far. It just adds so much life to the room already and the colour is a perfect accent to the painted ceiling.

DIY Fabric Wallpaper created using the beautiful Layla fabric in indigo from Tonic Living
DIY Fabric Wallpaper using the beautiful Layla fabric in indigo from Tonic Living creates a perfect accent against the painted ceiling in the powder room

So what do you think? Would you try your hands at a DIY fabric wallpaper in one of your spaces? It’s a quick and easy way to add a beautiful accent to any room and unlike true wallpaper, this is temporary. If you ever get sick of it or want to change things around simply soak the wallpaper with some warm water and a sponge and it will peel right off. No fuss no muss!

Donโ€™t forget to head to the One Room Challenge blog and check out the progress the rest of the ORC participants have made. Check back in with us next week and be sure to follow us on Instagram for some behind the scenes snaps in our stories as things keep moving along!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant
  • April 15, 2019

    This is so clever and who knew you could turn fabric into wallpaper! It’s wonderful the type of information out there to make DIY anything. The “wallpaper” looks amazing. I can’t wait to see this space all done. Good luck!

  • April 17, 2019

    Look how lovely this turned out!!! Love the fabric choice!

  • April 17, 2019

    I did not know you could use fabric like this, but it is gorgeous!

  • April 17, 2019

    What a great DIY to make your own fabric wallpaper! I really love the idea of something this is less “sticky” going on to the surface of a wall, it wil create less destruction later on, LOL. Plus it is beautiful, great job!!!

  • April 17, 2019

    Oh Tash…this looks AMAZING!! That fabric is gorgeous! Love the pattern! I’ve always wanted to try and do this but never have! And fabulous tip for making your own liquid starch! Totally saving this!

  • Emy
    April 18, 2019

    It’s beautiful! I love the fabric you chose! I really need to find somewhere in my home to do this.

  • lachlananderson512
    November 8, 2021

    Great explanation, thank you for sharing with everyone.

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