DIY fabric wall decals | How About Orange

January 17, 2011

DIY fabric wall decals

More fun with fabric stiffener. Here's how to make some easy fabric picture frames for your wall. Or cut out anything your heart desires: silhouettes of your family, animal shapes for the nursery, lettering, ornate designs, party decorations... the world is your oyster. Hey, maybe consider doing an oyster.

I'd heard of people ironing starched fabric to walls and wanted to try it out. Sure enough, I was able to stick my stiffened fabric to the wall with an iron and remove it without harming my paint job. This is super for renters, indecisive decorators, or easily bored people. Note that if your wall is really rough, you'll probably have a hard time making these stick. Also for what it's worth, my walls are painted with flat latex paint.

What to do:
Prepare a piece of fabric with fabric stiffener. See this post where I used Stiffen Stuff in a spray bottle.

Measure your photo and determine the size of the opening needed in the picture frame. I used 5x7 photos, so I wanted to overlap the photo by 1/4" inch on every side. Thus the hole in my fabric needed to be 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".

To make a template for your frame, fold a piece of scrap paper into quarters. You can design one quadrant of the frame and cut through the layers to make a symmetrical border. Mark off one quarter of your frame opening (in my case, 2 1/4" x 3 1/4"). Then sketch a decorative border for the frame.

Cut out the paper frame and unfold to see if you like it, confirming the opening fits over your photo. If you're happy, fold the pre-stiffened fabric into quarters and trace your design onto the back side with a pencil.

Cut out the fabric frame and iron it flat to get rid of the fold marks.

Then iron the fabric frame to the wall. I tried to be quick about it, not leaving the iron pressed against the wall for very long. I'm pleased to report that this didn't harm my paint at all. Some outer bits of the frame weren't sticking at first, so I used the point of the iron to go over those again until everything was adhered well.

After the frame is ironed to the wall, loosen the edges around the picture opening with your fingernail until you've pulled enough loose to insert your photo. If too much comes loose, put the photo in and iron around it to stick the loose parts of the frame back to the wall.

Later I tried peeling these frames off the wall and they didn't leave a mark. Lovely!

59 comments:

kersey said...

Incredible! I'm going to try this out in my son's room and maybe for some party decorations too. Thanks!

kalanicut said...

I love how you make these absolutely darling creative ideas look so doable. Thanks for all the great ideas you share. Love this one.

becky said...

This is FANTASTIC! I'm a renter, so I'm VERY excited to try this!

Eileen said...

Very cool. Reasonably priced and nice looking frames are so hard to find, especially if you have a lot of photos to put up. Can't wait to try this!

PrincessMax said...

So, just to be clear, the stiffener was enough to adhere it to the wall? You didn't have to use starch in addition to the stiffener? Very cool.

Tiges and Weince said...

Wow what a great idea, so fun & colourful. Will surely try this out myself & then let my readers know about you're amazing post. Thanks.

Tiges and Weince said...

Oh just one more question, are you aware at all how long they will stay stuck to the wall?

Jess said...

Princess Max, you're correct; I used only the spray stiffener. (Which I suspect is a type of spray starch, but it doesn't have an ingredient list.)

Jess said...

Tiges, beats me. I'll report back when something falls off the wall.

Grandma G said...

Wow, that's really crazy but so cool! Unfortunately, we have quite textured walls.

How hot was your iron? Almost seems like your paint would scorch.

Mum

Jess said...

Cotton setting, no steam. Pretty hot! I tried to be quick about it, though and not touch the wall very long.

Melany said...

Brilliant idea!! I love it!

evylynn said...

You have such great ideas--and this one is brilliant. I love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your awesome discoveries.

Kelli said...

This is a great tutorial. Thank you for sharing this fantastic idea!

Andrea Q said...

Very cool!

I wonder if it will harm the paint if left on for a few months? I also wonder if it will damage cheap paint (the flat, non-washable stuff that so many landlords insist on using?)

Christy said...

These are the loveliest! Thanks!

Christina said...

That is pretty darn cool!

kim said...

great idea, and yours look great! i'm afraid if my husband came home and found me ironing things to the walls though, he might have me committed!

Stormy said...

I did a whole wall of fabric years ago with 'liquid starch'.

I didn't have to iron it --
I just dipped the fabric into the starch (that I poured into a bucket); swooshed it around, making sure its good and wet; then rang it out and applied with my hands.
I used a damp sponge to smooth it out.
It's a great project for boring walls!

able mabel said...

WOW!! The world of possibilities this presents...

SawoKecik said...

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FireMom said...

I'm not 100% sure I can actually do this, but I'll give it a try sometime soon. Thank you for the tutorial.

Jess said...

Hi Stormy, did you use purchased liquid starch for your wall project, or make your own like I tried here? Just curious.

Stephanie said...

what a GREAT idea.thanks for sharing.

Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com said...

Love this trick - I used it to spell my daughters name with different fabrics in her nursery.

I will say you have to be careful with how hot your iron is - I bubbled the paint in one small spot when I first started - oops!

Diane B. said...

very cool stuff! wish i could try this but my walls are too rough. boo.

Timmi said...

I will definitely try this in the girls' room when I redo it. I could care less what happens to the walls because when we redo the house as a whole in a few years we're taking out he plaster walls and putting up drywall (what fun that will be)

Amy said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now and I just have to say.....You are so freaking awesome!!

Elda C said...

What an awesome idea!!

Stormy said...

Jess - i used the stuff from the grocery store back then; but yours is a much better way to go!

Eve Trombley said...

I've linked to this & your fabric flower idea in my blog post on ModachromeHome! Very excited to try this out! :)

Orange Park Web Page Design said...

I love the orange design it looks good for summer season. Wish i could have those wall decals it's really lovely and refreshing.

Barbi D said...

I am just LOVIN' this series of posts, I have flagged every one and can't wait to try each!

Cami said...

Wow, you're going crazy with the stiffened fabric. Great ideas! Love it! Keep 'em coming!! :) Thank you!!

Cindy said...

Amazing tutorial!!! Can't wait to try it out!

Jennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennie said...

Tried this out tonight! Our toddler now has a nice little brown puppy and large brown tree w/ baby blue leaves decorating his wall! This is a wonderful idea, especially since we live in an apartment and can't paint the walls! Not quite a picture frame, but an awesome way to do room decals!

Kate said...

What a great idea. So much better than getting a bunch of expensive frames!

A Momma said...

You are a genius!

Kristen said...

just one more reason I'm sick of textured walls!!!

superstitches said...

Great idea. You might try one of those mini irons to iron it on the wall as you iron very small areas.

Mary P said...

this is super cool! what a great idea, and so simple, too!

Anita said...

Oi margarete, adorei a ideia e as dicas do PAP, valeu mesmo, bjs.

Kimbo West @ a girl and a glue gun said...

i featured this on my blog today

www.kimboscrafts.blogspot.com

Liz said...

very cool..i ve used wallspots.com, walljungle.com

Melissa said...

That ROCKS!! I'm gonna have to try this! :) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I noticed your more recent post on putting fabric over doors using ModPodge. Since I'm a renter, I really can't do something so permanent...
But I was thinking, would starched fabric stick to a door? I think it's worth a try anyway. Now all I need is an iron, lol.

Jessica Jones said...

Hi Anonymous, that door project uses starch, not Mod Podge. It's not permanent.
http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2011/09/how-to-wallpaper-using-fabric.html

Here's a similar project I did awhile back.
http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2008/07/starched-fabric-decal-experiment.html
There's a link in that post that's interesting, too. I'd do it if I was renting.

The Wordonista said...

Wondering... could I do this with the starch (mentioned by the above poster) instead of Stiffen Stuff? I have had trouble finding Stiffen Stuff at my craft store but really want to try this!

Jessica Jones said...

I don't know what happens when you iron fabric to the wall that uses a dried water+cornstarch mixture. Guess you'll have to experiment!

kodyandsabrina said...

HI, I really want to try this on the back of my shelf’s that are boring. I didn't read through all the posts, but I was wondering if anyone has used this on oil paint?
Thanks,
Sabrina

Jessica Jones said...

Mine is latex, but I'd imagine it would work fine.

Blessings said...

Has anyone tried using sta flo to stiffen the fabric for this project?

Jessica Jones said...

Not me! :)

Marcy said...

SUPER COOL!. Way to take Fabric Wall Decals to a whole nother level!!!!

I did some decals today: http://www.aidenandmaya.blogspot.com/2012/09/fabric-wall-decals-for-aiden.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica, Do you have templates for the frame designs? Any idea how I can get these?

Jessica Jones said...

I don't have templates, I'm afraid. I just sketched the designs onto my paper. When it's folded into quadrants, you can be assured your frame will turn out symmetrical (kind of like cutting a snowflake.) I think you can do it!

Kelsey Gonzalez said...

On a whim I tried this with Spray-on starch which you would use for ironing your clothes, but of course it didn't work (your clothes would stick to the ironing board, I imagine...). I'm not sure if I'll be able to find Stiffen Stuff here in Hawaii where I live, so I might just use your other cornstarch-no-heat tutorial. Do you have any pros and cons to which is better?

Jessica Jones said...

Hi Kelsey,

Pros of the make-it-yourself paste: it's cheap and easy. For me it stuck really well. Cons: really bright fabric dyes might bleed onto the wall unless you're careful to wash it first and test the colorfastness. And the starch leaves a very thin film after you remove the fabric. Depending on how wipeable your paint finish is, it can wipe off.

Stiffen stuff pros: no mess, easy to remove with no effect on your wall. (At least mine worked like that!) Cons: costs more. Could get cost prohibitive if you're doing huge pieces.

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