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Cover Your Walls with Fabric

Tips for Renters and Apartment Dwellers

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Covering Walls with Fabric

Covering Walls with Fabric

Photo: Andrea Kratzenberg

Are you tired of landlord white or renter's eggshell? Want some pizzazz on your wall but the manager frowns on nails, wallpaper or paint in any shade resembling interesting? Well, there are ways you can have walls even Martha Stewart would envy. How? By covering your walls with fabric. Now, before you shrink back in horror at the thought, let me tell you that this idea involves no damage to the walls and you can do it yourself!

1. Fabric. The first step in this project is to find an appropriate fabric. Keep in mind that patterns require more fabric and time for matching. Check fabric warehouses and bargain bins for lightweight and inexpensive fabrics. It is also important to wash and completely dry your fabric before hanging. Then cut the fabric to fit the wall with about two inches of extra fabric at the top and the bottom.

2. Starch. You can use starch to attach the fabric to the wall. With this method the wall will not be damaged and the fabric can be easily removed. I suggest using a paint roller - it's less messy and faster than using a brush or dipping the fabric into a container of starch. I suggest using a plastic container with a lid to hold your starch mixture. It can then be stored away if you are interrupted.

3. Hang. The hanging is easy. Simply roll the starch onto the wall. A good thick layer works best. Then hang the fabric and smooth with a wallpaper smoothing tool, matching patterns, if necessary. Then roll more starch over the fabric and let dry. A couple of thumbtacks at the top of the fabric will hold it in place while it dries. Overlap each strip about 1/2 inch.

4. Trim. When the fabric is dry, take a straight edge and a box cutter and, holding the straight edge against the ceiling or the floor boards, trim away the extra fabric. Then give yourself a pat on the back for such a brilliant job!

5. Clean. If your walls need cleaning, use a teeny, tiny bit of dishwashing detergent and sponge lightly. To remove the fabric, use a wet sponge and soak the corners until they fall away from the walls. They should come right off - which will make your landlord happy!

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