How to glue fabric to a wall

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to glue fabric to a wall
Glue fabric to a wall for a distinctive decorating look. (Electric wall plug at a green wall image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

When you want texture, colour and pattern on your walls, turn to fabric instead of wallpaper. With a simple application process, you can adhere fabric panels to walls and remove them easily whenever the whim hits. Add warmth and softness with fabric in a way you cannot achieve with paper or paint, often less expensively if you can find fabric on sale. A non-standard glue enables the fabric to stay up until you want to take it down.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Spray fabric starch
  • Paint roller
  • Tacks

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  1. 1

    Measure the height and width of the wall to which you want to attach fabric. Add 3 inches to the height measurement to allow a small amount of extra fabric in each fabric panel. Jot down the measurements.

  2. 2

    Select the fabric. The best material is lightweight cotton. Figure out how many panels you will need to hang vertically along the wall. Fabrics come in standard widths of 36 inches and 45 inches. Check the width of the fabric you want to buy and divide the width of the wall with the fabric width to determine how many panels you will need. Determine the yardage of each panel by taking the height measurement (from step 1) and dividing it by 36. Buy an extra yard or two to allow for shrinkage. For example, if your wall height is 100 inches, divide this by 36 to get 2.7 yards for each panel. If you need five fabric panels, you will need to purchase 14.5 yards of fabric plus a little extra.

  3. 3

    Wash the fabric in warm water and dry the fabric in the dryer.

  4. 4

    Iron the fabric to remove wrinkles created from washing and drying it.

  5. 5

    Cut the fabric into panels using the height measurement from step 1.

  6. 6

    Place one or two squirts of dishwashing detergent into the bucket and add warm water. Use the sponge to wash the wall lightly prior to applying the fabric. Pour out the soapy water and fill the bucket with plain water. Saturate the sponge in water to rinse the soap from the wall and then allow the wall to dry completely before you proceed.

  7. 7

    Place the first fabric panel onto the wall, tacking it temporarily into place at each corner and approximately every 1 to 2 feet along the edges of the fabric. Because you added 3 inches to the height measurement, your panels should be 3 inches longer than the height of the wall. Divide this 3 inches in half and place 1.5 inches of excess fabric at the top of the wall and 1.5 inches at the bottom of the wall.

  8. 8

    Spray the fabric generously with the spray starch, coating the fabric until the starch saturates it. Use the paint roller or a damp sponge to spread the starch evenly over the fabric.

  9. 9

    Repeat the same process to attach the other fabric panels to the wall, overlapping each panel by about 1/4-inch.

  10. 10

    Wait at least 12 hours while the starch dries completely, and then cut off the excess fabric at the top and bottom of each fabric panel with scissors.

  11. 11

    Remove the tacks to finish the project.

Tips and warnings

  • Peel away the fabric whenever you wish to remove it. The starch releases easily from the wall, and you may even be able to launder the fabric and use it for another purpose.

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