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I hope I'm posting this in the right place but I know someone here can help me.

I was talking to my mom about how I could wallpaper inexpensively and she mentioned that I could use fabric. She also said that back in like the 1920's or so they would use fabric in RL and apply it by using a starch mixture. Does anybody have experience with this or know of another method for applying fabric to DH walls? I was thinking maybe a good quality spray adhesive? I'm afraid that the starch mixture might take to long to dry or could make the fabric look funny once it dried. I want to use fabric in a couple of rooms like the kitchen but I'm worried that if it is not secured well I will have problems installing my upper cabinets. I also know what a pain spray adhesive can be especially because it is so messy! I need expert advice and you all are so helpful. Thanks!

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I made several roomboxes years ago. Basically they were made from foamboard or foamcore. I wallpapered them inside and out with fabric. I used wonder under and fused the fabric directly to the foamcore. I've also done this in dollhouses as well by making a lightweight cardboard template and fusing the fabric to the cardboard. Then decorate as normal with all sorts of baseboard, cornice, weinscoating, etc. It works!

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I've used the starch method on a house I made for my neice. I soaked the cotton fabric in the starch, wrung it out and put it on like wallpaper. It didn't take any longer to dry than wallpaper and it looks the same. Just make sure you get all the bubbles out. I cut the fabric to size and was able to do the whole room in one piece, so there wasn't any seams. After it was dry I cut the windows and door out with a razor blade.

I built that house 11 years ago and it's still sticking. One good thing about using that method you can just peel it off real easy if you want to redeorate. If the edges do start to lift all you have to do is dampen it alittle and re-rub it down.

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Ive done this quite a bit, a some what thicker fabric will be easier and wont wrinkle as much. Say, a sateen or even velvet as opposed to a thin cotton calico. Just use Mod Podge. Smear a thinnish layer covering the whole back side of the fabric. As long as you trim the top and bottom in cornice and baseboard, which can be lace,if you want to keep the fabric look going...the cuts dont have to be perfect,I make a paper template first,then cut the fabric to size.

I really like fabric wall covering,I think it can be very charming. Scrapbooking papers are also a less expensive and more readily available alternative to dollhouse wallpaper. You could do a whole house for less than $10. in scrapbooking paper. Once I went to Home Depot and asked for their discontinued wallpaper sample books. They gave me 5 books for free when I told them I was using it for my dollhouse:) Ive gotten so much use out of those!

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If you use glue, it will be a permanent (more or less, mostly more) application....if you use the liquid starch, it can be removed if you change your mind....I would consider sealing the wood walls prior to application of the starch in the event you think you might want to change it at a later date.

Elicia

upper 70's in South Carolina today....wooohooooo.....

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I have used the liquid starch to "wallpaper" a real wall with fabric and it was really great. As a military wife we often lived in gov quarters which meant we could not paint or add wallpaper to the walls. Can not tell you how bland some of the quarters were. Found a bunch of cheap fabric that I liked, soaked it in a thinned mixture of water and starch and smoothed it up on the walls. When it came time to move simply pulled it off of the wall ran it through the washing machine and used some of it in our next house. It left the walls undamaged. Should work in your dollhouse.

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I have used the liquid starch to "wallpaper" a real wall with fabric and it was really great. As a military wife we often lived in gov quarters which meant we could not paint or add wallpaper to the walls. Can not tell you how bland some of the quarters were. Found a bunch of cheap fabric that I liked, soaked it in a thinned mixture of water and starch and smoothed it up on the walls. When it came time to move simply pulled it off of the wall ran it through the washing machine and used some of it in our next house. It left the walls undamaged. Should work in your dollhouse.

You're awesome!!Thank you!

You've pretty much convinced me that the starch should work.The fabric I'm using is a solid cotton in sage green but I just have a few more questions: Can I make the starch liquid on my own and if so how would I do that? Or should I buy it?(Can I get it from Hobby Lobby?) Does it make the fabric look wet even once it has dried? Do you think the starch would hold well enough to attach upper cabinets to the walls or do you think it would come down from the added weight? Ok so maybe it was a few more than a few, but I really appreciate the help! :lol:

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Ive done this quite a bit, a some what thicker fabric will be easier and wont wrinkle as much. Say, a sateen or even velvet as opposed to a thin cotton calico. Just use Mod Podge. Smear a thinnish layer covering the whole back side of the fabric. As long as you trim the top and bottom in cornice and baseboard, which can be lace,if you want to keep the fabric look going...the cuts dont have to be perfect,I make a paper template first,then cut the fabric to size.

I really like fabric wall covering,I think it can be very charming. Scrapbooking papers are also a less expensive and more readily available alternative to dollhouse wallpaper. You could do a whole house for less than $10. in scrapbooking paper. Once I went to Home Depot and asked for their discontinued wallpaper sample books. They gave me 5 books for free when I told them I was using it for my dollhouse:) Ive gotten so much use out of those!

Thank you. I've seen Mod Podge but never used it. How well does it hold? The fabric I have is a thin cotton in sage green and I do plan on triming it with crown and baseboard moulding, but I have a satin I was planning on using for a window treatment in the living room. When Mod Podge dries does it leave fabric looking wet? Does it stiffen the fabric to make it hold its shape? Just trying to brainstorm for future living room curtains. Oh and I already wallpapered the living room with scrap book paper it looks fantastic!(Still need to take pictures and start a gallery) I just couldn't find what I wanted for the kitchen in paper and I wanted something less permanent than paint(or the walls would already have 30 coats!) LOL.

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I've used the starch method on a house I made for my neice. I soaked the cotton fabric in the starch, wrung it out and put it on like wallpaper. It didn't take any longer to dry than wallpaper and it looks the same. Just make sure you get all the bubbles out. I cut the fabric to size and was able to do the whole room in one piece, so there wasn't any seams. After it was dry I cut the windows and door out with a razor blade.

I built that house 11 years ago and it's still sticking. One good thing about using that method you can just peel it off real easy if you want to redeorate. If the edges do start to lift all you have to do is dampen it alittle and re-rub it down.

The house I'm making is for my neice too! And from the sounds of it I think we're sharing brainwaves from what you described about cutting the windows and doors out after it dries and using a solid piece to do the whole room thats exactly what I've been thinking! I was just wondering won't wringing the fabric make it wrinkle or do you have a secret method? Do I need to purchase the starch or do I need a recipe to make it? :lol:

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Janine, I'd suggest you take a half inch strip of each fabric and test it with the various suggested materials to see how it will affect the look of it.

If you use Modge Podge, you don't want to soak the fabric in it, just paint it on the wall and stick the dry fabric to it. If you don't glop it on too thick or rub too hard, the MP shouldn't come through the fabric. If it does ooze through the fabric, it will leave a spot. It will hold very well.

To stiffen fabric, as for curtains, the materials of choice are liquid starch or hairspray.

I'd also suggest you buy a bottle of liquid starch instead of trying to make it yourself. Buy it in the grocery store, regular laundry starch. Anything you buy at Hobby Lobby is going to be more expensive and won't work any better.

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I used fusable onto cardstock, then glue to wall in Charlotte's cottage in the bathroom, bedroom and living room. In other houses I used starch and modpodge. Both weren't shiny, but use Matte mod podge, not gloss. I smooth it, as well as wallpaper with a putty knife with several layers of duct tape on the edge, and no more tearing.

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If you decide to use the starch method, do get the liquid starch at the grocery store. One caution I would add, make sure the wall, (real or dollhouse) is sealed with at least a primer coat of paint. It makes the removal down the road easier and insures the wall remains undamaged. I just checked our basement half bath. After seven years, the fabric is still up on the wall and looks pretty good if I say so myself. It doesn't get a lot of use but sometimes our guests and the occasional workman have to use it when I would rather not have people traipsing through the whole house. The walls were in really bad shape and I didn't want to go to the expense of new wallboard at the time.

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I used fabric in a kitchen room box in the early 80s. I simply put it on with watered down white Elmer's glue. It is still as fresh as when it was done! The mixture was about half and half. I brushed it on the walls with a paintbrush.

Did you know that you can spray on Elmer's when it is in this state? I don't think that I would use it in a room box. Not enough control as to where it goes. I do use it for landscaping in this form tho. If you miss a spot when sprinkling on grass(railroad greenery) you can just spray over the spot and sprinkle again.

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Oooh, Now I'm going to have to try some fabric wallpaper!

Thus far I've only used scrapbook paper. I can't afford actual dollhouse wallpaper, and I don't have a nice enough printer to print my own. Since I have only built small houses I've been able to wallpaper, floor and ceiling the whole house for $5 (I only buy scrapbook paper when it's 50% off!).

I've got TONS of fabrics that look like the right scale, I'm going to have to go for this one! Especially since most of my fabric is $1.00/yd special.

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No, you haven't. Real Life? You've been missed.

Yeah, real life. Its been a roll coaster of a ride. About the time I thought everyone else was losing I realized I was the one losing it. Anyway, it can only get better from here. I am not totally back into minis but I am getting there. Thank you, I missed you all too. I have dropped in occasionally.

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  • 9 years later...

Wow...blast from the past. Just for the record, I’m cringing at my advice to put fabric up with modpodge. It doesn’t age well.  One of these days I need to go through my beacon hill and replace all of the fabric I slathered with modpodge. Live and learn.

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I deleted the spam post that bumped up this old thread, and the posts referring to it. But it's fine for people to keep talking about this topic if you have new ideas to contribute!

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