DIY: Fabric Wall Decals

Update: Be sure to read the comments on this post — lots of great ideas from our awesome readers to keep in mind!!

A new little elf friend just moved into our house, and is causing lots of excitement around here! He made his home just underneath the staircase, and so far has been very shy — not even bothering to answer the door whenever Emily knocks. What a peculiar fellow!

We’re still not sure exactly where he came from, since the door appeared while the girls were sleeping last night. I can tell you that it is made from cotton fabric scraps I had laying around, and is adhered to the wall with liquid laundry starch. I used a sponge to apply a light layer of starch, stuck the fabric on, then applied another light layer of starch over top, and wiped up any drips with the sponge — a wonderful tip left in the comments section of this post by a kind reader (thank you, Kelly!).

I tested a small decal in aΒ conspicuousΒ place on the wall first, and it appears that it works quite well on painted walls that are relatively smooth. Once the starch is dry, the fabric adheres well, and you can peel it off to remove it without leaving any marks on the walls. Test it with a small piece first, to be sure!

I caught Emily trying to listen in…. so cute!! Later, I found her reading to the elf, since she was convinced he could hear her through the door.

You can find liquid laundry starch in the detergent section at Wal-Mart for around $1.50 for a large 2 quart bottle. We’ve used it for other crafts like this paper marbling project, and it is great for stretching tempera paints too!

Have fun!!


  1. Dear Valerie,

    Maybe that elf can paint the stairs.


  2. LOL at Mark’s comment. The little elf house is so cute!

    • Thank you, Jenny! I like that it keeps us from cluttering the floor too. Don’t want to block the elf’s door now, do we? lol

  3. What a neat idea!!! I bet you are going to have lots of fun with this!

    I have also used laundry starch to make the salt paint that we LOVE so much. We have made salt paint snowmen (

    and salt paint marshmallow peeps (

    I have never actually used the starch for laundry!!!

    I hope the elf appears. Maybe he will do chores while you are sleeping!!! I’ve heard they are good at making shoes.

    • Oh my goodness, I’ve never used it for laundry either!!! We’re having far too much fun crafting with it! lol

      Thank you so much for sharing the salt paint creations — they are awesome!! You rock, Christy! πŸ™‚

  4. I have exciting news about the fabric/starch trick. It works on flannel, and then you can make a flannel/felt board right on your wall. I covered my daughter’s wall with green rolling hills of flannel and now we can play with her felt cutouts on the wall!

    • Yay!!!!!

      Candace, that is so totally awesome!! I think you totally blew my mind w/the possibilities! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo πŸ™‚

    • Candace what an awesome idea! I LOVE IT! I think this spring when I do touch ups to my girls rooms I will have to keep this is mind.
      My 6yr old wants a “focus wall” (Ithink I watched WAY TOO much TLC while she has growing) or painted mural behind her bed…this would add some really neat texture 3D effect that I probably couldn’t achieve with a brush…and My 3 yr old will LOVE playing with felt pieces πŸ™‚
      Thanks for sharing!

    • This is AWESOME!
      I wonder how durable it would be for a church nursery wall. Any thought?

    • CANDACE!!! I was just sitting here researching the starch fabric on the wall idea and was thinking to myself I wonder what kind of fabric I could use that felt would work with…. then I see this comment!!! THANK YOU!!!! I’m SO excited to try this out!!!!

  5. It’s too funny how excited little kids can get with magical happenings like these. Thanks for the tips about liquid starch too!

    • You’re welcome!

      I love, love, love surprising the girls with little things like this!! It’s SO much fun to see their faces and how they react! **glee**

  6. Ooooooo- how fun would it be to use this technique to leave leprechaun footprints all around the wall for St Patrick’s Day…thank you for the inspiration, Valerie!

  7. How fun!!! I’ve never heard of this technique before, but I see potential for all sorts of fun wall decorations with it!

  8. Oh my! Forget my kiddos, I want a felt board in MY room! How cool would that be?!?! :O)

  9. Ok, this is absolutely adorable. Is it all fabric, or did you paint on the lantern and grass?

    • It’s all fabric. You can layer it and it stays up really well — then if you want to remove it, it peels right off!

      Try it! It’s so much fun!! πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve been wondering when you would do something like this. It’s actually been on my list of things to do, but I never remember to buy the liquid laundry starch, and using my spray starch for this would probably take the whole bottle……

    • It’s totally worth getting a bottle — plus you can do the paper marbling with it too. Have fun!! xoxo

  11. This is unbelievably cool! I hope I can find liquid starch here in Oz, Ive seen it in a spray can but will see if I can hunt down a bottle of liquid, this looks like way too much fun. What a cute little elf door you’ve created, so magic! Love the felt board idea as well.

    • Oh, I hope you can find it there, but if not let me know… I remember seeing a recipe to make your own using corn starch, tapioca powder (??) and water. If I track it down, I can email it to you! πŸ™‚

  12. Oh! I love the on wall flannel board idea – what fun! And, what a cute little door πŸ™‚

    • I am loving that flannel board idea too — now I know what I’ll be adding to our craft room! πŸ™‚

  13. That is so darn cute!

  14. Oooohh….my wheels are definitely turning. πŸ™‚ I am wondering….when you use felt, do you still put the starch on the back AND front? It seems like felt pieces wouldn’t stick of there was laundry starch on the front, too. Just wondering.

    As always, thanks for the GREAT ideas!! We are living in a rental house right now, which has limited what I can paint on the girls’ walls, but I can definitely put some fun flowers, etc., with starch!!

  15. I’m not sure Jeannie, but I’ll give it a try and will let you know! I can’t wait to try it out!!

  16. Love love this idea!!

  17. So adorable.

  18. LOVE this idea :). The laundry starch works great for making gloop too! (equal parts of glue and starch, too sticky add starch, too stringy add glue.)

  19. Oh, wow. So cute and I love the ideas in the comments…!

  20. Hi Valerie – I am in love with this idea too! I purchased some really cute flannel board pieces and they are still in the bag! I am going to try this and see if they work on our wall – it so, I will take them to the school and let the children have fun with them! We have wonderful big walls that would make a great story board or canvas for flannel board play! Thank you for this amazing idea! You always bless me πŸ™‚

    • That is fantastic!!!! I’m hoping it works well — what a neat idea for a classroom! Keep us posted on it. πŸ™‚

  21. Oh, this elf idea is so cute!
    And so are Mark`s comments πŸ™‚

  22. I love that idea ! And the flannel board, too. I’m going to try that today, I guess, when it’s snowing again. I wanted to ask a question, Valerie: are you French ? Sorry if it’s indiscreet, but I never met a Valerie here (USA).

    • Oh, have fun, Cecile! I am not French… but I know what you mean because Valerie isn’t a very common name here at all.

  23. At first I thought it was tissue paper, and thought it would be great to go next to our stainglass window of tissue paper, but fabric?! Wow! I love, love, love the leprechaun idea! We try to catch a leprechaun every year in different ways.

    • lol oh, I can already picture you guys having so much fun with those tricky leprechauns! πŸ™‚ Have fun!!

  24. You are making such wonderful memories for you girls! My 22 year old daughter still remembers all the things her dad and I did to make her childhood special. It makes me feel so good that she remembers her childhood so fondly.

  25. I had no idea what a flurry of great ideas this would create. And to think I almost didn’t send it because I thought no one would would be interested or that it would be old stuff. – Kelly

  26. This is such a great idea! How did you even come up with such an idea. Also, thanks for telling us where to get liquid laundry starch, which I have been trying to find forever.

  27. Must go buy some this week! Sounds like I should get several bottles since there are some amazing ideas on in these comments!

  28. That is darling! I can picture my youngest pressing her ear to the door as well. So cute.

  29. lol OMgosh you come up with the best ideas. I love it

  30. I’m seriously considering doing a fabric accent wall in my guest room. I just need to spring my crazy idea on my husband first.

  31. This is brilliant! My kids are big into wall decals right now & sometimes we find small “wallies” at the dollar store, but your idea is PERFECT!

  32. I noticed a comment that said there might be a recipe for an alternative to liquid laundry starch – has anybody been able to find that? All I can find in my stores (Canada) is the spray kind.


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