How to Install Fabric Wallcovering

Instead of traditional wallpaper, use a favorite fabric to add texture and pattern to your walls.
Retro Room With Graphic Wallpaper & Starburst Clock Above Fireplace

Midcentury Modern Sitting Room With Stone Fireplace

A rustic stone fireplace can't compete with the retro style in this sitting room. Graphic wallpaper and a starburst clock surround the fireplace, while midcentury modern chairs and a round coffee table form a small fireside seating area.

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Materials Needed:

  • bolt of backed fabric
  • wallcovering paste
  • fabric scissors
  • smoothing tool
  • bucket
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • notepad
  • spackle
  • spackle knife
  • wallcovering primer
  • paint roller
  • paint pan
  • pan liner
  • roller cover
  • sanding block
  • damp rag
  • paint brush
  • utility knife

Measure the Walls

Use tape measure to determine height and width of space for fabric. Jot measurements down for reference.

Choose Fabric

Bring swatches of assorted backed fabrics home from fabric store and tape up on wall using painter's tape. In order for fabric to adhere to wall, it must have fabric or acrylic backing. Fabric without backing can be custom-backed by local fireproofing and backing shops. After a few days, decide which fabric works best in space. Keep in mind patterns with large repeats will require more yards, therefore will be more expensive. Smaller prints or textured fabrics require fewer yards, but might not be as impactful.

Back Side of Retro Fabric

Choose Fabric for Wallcovering

Bring swatches of assorted backed fabrics home from fabric store and tape up on wall using painter's tape. In order for fabric to adhere to wall, it must have fabric or acrylic backing. Fabric without backing can be custom-backed by local fireproofing and backing shops. After a few days, decide which fabric works best in space. Keep in mind patterns with large repeats will require more yards, therefore will be more expensive. Smaller prints or textured fabrics require fewer yards, but might not be as impactful.

Prepare Walls

Comb walls with smoothing tool to get rid of any bumps. Fill nail and screw holes with spackle using a spackle knife. Once dry, lightly sand residue, then wipe with damp rag. Apply a coat of wallcovering primer using paint roller. Allow three hours for primer to dry.

Paintbrush Applying Wallcovering Primer to Wall

Prepare Walls With Wallcovering Primer

Comb walls with smoothing tool to get rid of any bumps. Fill nail and screw holes with spackle using a spackle knife. Once dry, lightly sand residue, then wipe with damp rag. Apply a coat of wallcovering primer using paint roller. Allow three hours for primer to dry.

Cut Fabric

Roll fabric out on long, flat surface. Refer to dimensions, and use tape measure and pencil to mark height on fabric. Allow 4 extra inches to account for waste, then cut using fabric scissors.

Cutting Gray Retro Patterned Fabric With Scissors

Cut Fabric With Fabric Scissors

Roll fabric out on long, flat surface. Refer to dimensions, and use tape measure and pencil to mark height on fabric. Allow 4 extra inches to account for waste, and cut using fabric scissors.

Paste the Wall

Dip paint brush in bucket of paste, and spread paste on wall starting from the top down.

Attach Fabric

Hold each strip of fabric up to wall allowing overlap to match up the repeat. Press against glue, and smooth out air bubbles with smoothing tool.

Cut Excess

Use utility knife to cut excess from corners and around outlet holes.

Cutting Excess Fabric From Corner With Spackle Knife and Utility Knife

Cut Excess Fabric With Utility Knife

Use utility knife to cut excess from corners and around outlet holes.

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