by Keli Faw of drygoods design

While applying fabric to walls with starch is not a new discovery, I find that more often than not, most of us won’t do it. Well, that’s what the former non-addicted to fabric starch wall art version of myself would tell you. Now, all I want to do is shout from the rooftops and tell everyone how simple and gratifying it can be.

One of the best times to play around with our DIY tendencies is near or around the birth of our children. We see so many things out and about in the marketplace and blogosphere that inspire us that eventually we want to try it ourselves.


I’ve also found that creating a space for kids that’s safe, thoughtful and fun can be challenging. Mobiles are really wonderful until our child can finally reach them when standing in the crib. Amazing framed art next to the crib is also wonderful, until the child can easily reach the frames.

Given its flat surface, ability to provide color and texture, as well as its ease of install and take down, applying fabric to the wall with starch is a fantastic option for nurseries and children’s rooms. Today we’re sharing a way to bring such texture and color into a child’s room with one of the most classic shapes.


Your supply list:

  • An array of fabrics at 1/3 yard or fat quarters.
  • Liquid and spray starch. These can be found at the grocery or drug store
  • Two pairs of scissors – one for fabric and one for paper and cutting sitcky frays once applying starch (read: a pair you don’t care about)
  • Kraft paper or printer paper for shape template
  • More kraft/butcher paper or drop cloth for protecting wall/floor
  • Pencil or tailor’s chalk
  • Small bucket
  • Baker’s twine or ribbon
  • Puddy knife or wallpaper scraper
  • Tape
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Damp towel or old tee (painter’s rag is great)


Step One: Cut out your circle shapes – you can use a circle cutter for this or go freestyle. I ended up going freestyle by sketching out a half circle on the fold of the fabric. You can play around with radius and circumference depending how you want to cut them out, and it is nice to have three different sizes per print. I also cut out squares and off center triangles, thinking it would be fun to have geometric shapes and variety versus one shape. You can make a template with kraft paper to speed along the process.

The great news – once you have the templates, you can reuse them over and over again.

Step Two: Once you’ve decided the direction you want the print to go, fold fabric and trace outline of circle template on the fold. Be sure to trace on the wrong side so that you don’t have to worry about cutting inside or outside the lines:).


Step Three: Repeat tracing on all fabrics, batch style, before cutting or trace and cut as you go.


Step Four: Set up your work area. I used brown kraft paper to protect the floor and the surface area below the wall. Have your bucket, your starch, a damp towel or old tee shirt, fabric, and putty scraper lined up. I also suggest having a beverage of choice handy, with a straw. An accidental discovery but very nice for when those hands get covered in starch:).






Step Five: Using tape (I used some extra Washi Tape so that if I had to leave it, it would still look cute before application), start playing around with how you want the shapes to look. As you can see, I first had a collection of different shpaes going and then went to strictly circles. I wanted it to look structured but also not overly contrived.





Step Six: Fill your bucket with about two inches of starch. Place one or two shapes in the bucket at time, making sure they are immersed completely for a short amount of time. Keep the others taped up so you don’t forget where you want them to go.





Step Seven: Take your first shape and squeeze the excess starch out. No need to drain it, just the excess.






Step Eight: Put the shape up on the wall and position it to your liking; have your towel or old tee handy so you can catch and wipe the starch that will drip down while applying the shapes.


Step Nine: Working quickly but without rush, apply the rest of your shapes to the wall, making sure to catch the majority of the drip and standing back to test the line of sight on the shape arrangement.


Step Ten: Once all the shapes have been applied and you’re happy with the outcome, take a few damp paper towels or a spray bottle and quickly wipe down the wall or other surfaces that might have caught some starch and clean up your supplies and work area.



Now stand back and get ready to smile every time you see your new wall application!

When you need to take it down, just spritz each piece of fabric with water from a spray bottle and easily peel it off.




Keli Faw is the owner of Drygoods Design, a sweet little place among the internets for delightful fabrics and lifestyle goods, as well as a store located in the heart of the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle. When she is not playing with textiles or glue, Keli can be found hanging with family and friends, including her two small (and in her opinion, wildly adorable) children.


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Melissa M. on September 16th, 2012 | No Comments -