My sister-in-law sent me these links about applying fabric to walls as an alternative to paint or wallpaper.  Very cute idea, even for smaller objects that you want to dress up like this toy box—very cute!  Here are the goods from Sew Can Do:

Toy Box Redo: Plain to Punchy

I had this really great vintage toy box from my childhood nursery, but the stark white seemed too blah. I thought about painting it, but they don’t make no-VOC spray paint, so that was kind of out. Then I remembered reading about applying fabric to walls with liquid starch and thought why not try it on the toy box?

It worked like a dream! Super easy to apply and virtually goof-proof, since it’s easy to adjust when wet.

Here’s how to do it:

– Get some liquid starch (available at any grocery store)
– Apply with a paintbrush directly to the fabric and then apply wet fabric to hard surface.
– Smooth it out with your hands to remove any wrinkles or air bubbles and adjust position if needed
– Do another layer of starch over it with the brush again.

The best part is that it’s easy to remove without damaging either the fabric or the item underneath.

I loved how it worked out so much I took the leftover scraps and carefully cut out the shapes and applied them to the wall to add some design to my new peach paintjob. I didn’t like the positions of a few of the shapes on the wall, so I just peeled them off and reapplied the same way – no mess or damage at all! You can even wash the fabric to reuse for something else later. The ultimate recycling project;) I wish I’d have learned about this trick years ago when I fiddled around with messy stencils and stamps as wall art – they never turned out half as nice either.

And here is the nitty-gritty from Rental Decorating Digest:

If being budget conscious is necessary for you, understand that fabric prices vary and could actually run into quite a bit of money depending on your tastes – this can be easily remedied by discount fabric stores and clearance sales.

The good news is when you remove the fabric from the wall, all you will need to do is wash it. It can be easily re-used for another craft project, good as new!

Keeping all that in mind – let’s get busy.  These simple instructions will help you apply and remove your fabric.


  • LINIT® Starch OR LINIT® Starch-n-Crafts™ Stiffener
  • Fabric
  • Clean sponge or paint roller
  • Pan


  1. Wash the wall to remove any dirt or film.

  2. Lightweight fabrics, such as polished cottons, ginghams, and chintzes, are easiest to use. Measure from the floor to the ceiling and add a couple extra inches.

  3. Cut the fabric accordingly. If fabric has a design, be sure to match the design before cutting the next panel as when using wallpaper.

  4. Pour starch into a clean pan or paint pan or spray on if using stiffener (see Tip section if using spray stiffener). Apply starch to the top half of the wall with a sponge, paint roller or spray on if using spray stiffener.

  5. Smooth fabric into place at the top of the wall, leaving about one inch to be trimmed later. Use push pins to hold the fabric temporarily in place. Apply more starch going down the wall as needed until you get to the floor, leave approximately one inch overlap at floor level.

  6. Apply starch to the top of the fabric, brushing and smoothing the fabric in place to remove bubbles and wrinkles. Be sure the starch penetrates the fabric evenly.

  7. Work your way down the panel, continuing to sponge or spray starch onto the wall, smoothing the fabric, and applying more starch.

  8. Position the second panel, matching the design along the edge. Repeat steps.

  9. Around windows and doors, leave a one inch overlap as with the ceiling and floor.

  10. Fabric overlap should be cut when the fabric is completely dry. It will then cut clean and easily and any shrinkage will have occurred before you trim.

When Using Stiffener in Spray Bottle: Be sure to mask edges of ceiling & floor to avoid over spray. To Remove Fabric From Wall: Peel one corner loose, then gently begin to peel the fabric off of the wall panel by panel. If the fabric does not peel easily, dampen the fabric with water using a wet sponge and it should come right off.

Whether you choose to cover your entire wall or only a portion, you will enjoy the look of a professionally decorated room, without the permanence of paint or wallpaper!