At least for now. Life as a renter means you usually have to work around certain unattractive features in your current home. And, while I’m dealing with mismatched flooring and strange bathroom configurations that I can’t change, the kitchen border was something that had to go. It’s something I see everyday all day while working in my sewing room/office. The lovely border was originally shared in this post where I also discussed some possible solutions. Those solutions included temporary wallpaper borders or even contact paper in some type of pattern. But, in the end, I went in a whole nother direction.
The seams are not as noticeable in real life – this close up really highlights it.
Here’s how it all went down.
Because I love to keep things on the cheap and because we rent I experimented with the least expensive possibility first. Adhesive shelf liner. This was a complete and total f.a.i.l.u.r.e. It wasn’t tacky enough to really stick and stay for the long haul. Also, the only color options were white, beige or various wood grain patterns. Not much of improvement on what was already up there. I then briefly considered real contact paper, but had serious concerns that it would peel off the existing border when it came time to bring it down. On to the next option…
WallPops were next on the list and I had browsed through the available options
millions of numerous times unable to make a final decision. This process continued for over a week. The difficulty was finding a pattern and color combo that I really liked. Their website has a good selection, but choosing colors and patterns strictly over the internet is never easy. You never know what the real colors will be until it is in your hands.
So my indecision led me to continue the process of searching for other possibilities until I finally struck gold. Fabric wallpaper. Easy to do, inexpensive and completely removable. BINGO!
Decision made I hit up my local JoAnns fabric store during a 40% off sale and armed with a 25% off total purchase coupon. Selecting a lightweight cotton print wasn’t super easy to do, but being able to touch and feel the fabrics prior to purchase definitely sped up the process. After about 30 minutes to an hour of searching/debating/comparing a stripe print was finally selected and purchased. Four yards for a total of $19. Sweet deal.
Before I could jump head long into the border covering process, it was necessary to do a little bit of testing. One of the steps I was hoping to eliminate was the need to leave excess material at the top and bottom to allow for shrinkage while the starch dried. Another important part of the testing was to ensure that the fabric wallpaper wouldn’t damage the existing border underneath and would provide full coverage (no see through). So I experimented with a short test strip prior to slicing and dicing all my fabric.
Testing was a success, so GAME ON.
Materials Necessary for This Project:
Fabric (cut into strips)
Plastic Putty Knife/Paint Roller
The fabric strips were cut using a ruler and rotary cutter. The width of the strip is completely flexible. But, I would highly recommend figuring out how many strips you can get out of the fabric before cutting. My biggest mistake was to create a strip that was a little too wide (cutting first, measuring second is a big no-no) and ended up having to purchase a little more fabric due to the error.
Once you have your strips cut it is time to start the covering process. I read several different techniques on how to hang the fabric, but worked best for me was to pour a decent amount of starch into the roller pan and then saturate the strip in the starch. Making sure the starch soaks into all the fabric.
The next part of the process is pretty much impossible to snap photos of while working. All hands are required, especially when working with long strips of fabric. Basically, start applying the saturated fabric over the existing border (leaving an inch or two of overhang at the end). Use the push pins to help temporarily hold the strip in place while working down the length of the strip. After the strip is completely up, use the putty knife to smooth out any air bubbles. Repeat. It’s a little tricky to line up strip to the previous, but no more difficult than normal wallpaper.
Also, the starch can be messy. Wringing out the strips before applying to the wall helped keep drips to a minimum, but also kept some paper towel handy to clean up as I went along. Most of the excess starch would squeeze out while working out the air bubbles, so this when most of the mess was made if I didn’t prepare for it. You may also notice my strips are the exact width I wanted for my finished border, no excess to trim down later. The fabric purchased was a good quality cotton and there really weren’t any problems with shrinkage or bleeding during the testing phase, so I went with a finished width when it came time to cut.
So it’s buh-bye English Garden and hello Aqua Stripe. When I asked the boys (boyfriend and son) what they thought of the change, they both replied it’s better than that ugly stuff that was up there. And, considering I know neither one of them could care less about something like a kitchen border I’ll take that as a compliment.
Fabric: $23 (5 yds – includes extra yard I had to purchase)
Starch: $2 (lg bottle)
Pushpins: $0 (on hand)
Putty Knife/Roller Pan: $0 (on hand)
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