How to Paint Your Walls to Look Like Wallpaper

So here I was wanting wallpaper on a Clarepaint budget 😂. I laugh now, but I came across this St.Frank kuba cloth wallpaper one day and I knew it would be perfect for creating an approximately 15 foot DIY accent wall in my bedroom. I ran into two problems however; the wallpaper did not come in a renter-friendly removeable option AND I would need almost $1000 worth of material to cover the wall and account for any overage. So painting my wall to look like the wallpaper was my best option!

Enter my #deeIY spirit to save the day with this painted wallpaper mural! Guys, this project was literally blood, sweat and tears! If you were following my story on Instagram, then you know I cut my finger in the process of creating the stencil, that it took at least 4 hours (not in the same day) to draw the stencil onto the wall and that it took a total of 24 hours over a period of 3 weeks to actually complete the mural. BUT it was totally worth it because it cost me under $100 to complete ( including cheap labor 😉 ), and I even got a DIY feature in Domino Magazine!

wallpaper mural dee diary

Now before I get into the details of HOW I created this feature, FAIR WARNING this is definitely a labor of love but it’s CHEAP labor if you do it yourself and WAY cheaper than buying the wallpaper. Plus, you can create ANY pattern you desire and its as easy as painting over your mistake if you mess up!

So Here are the steps to creating your own wallpaper mural;

  • step 1. find your inspiration for your wall mural.
PRO TIP: Order wallpaper swatches to see if the scale works for your wall. I liked a fabric from St. Frank so I bought a yard of that to create my stencil. the scale was perfect.
PRO TIP: Buy paint swatches to see how they change in the lighting within your home. This is a time-consuming project so you want to choose the right color for your space. Plus since its two colors you want to see how they work together.
  • step 2. figure out your colors. The colors I used are meet cute and pink sky by clare paint.
  • step 3. buy your supplies. I’ve listed out all the supplies—paint, brushes, mylar sheets, etc here in my Amazon storefront here.
  • step 4. Create your stencil using mylar sheets and an exacto knife. You can see the process here
PRO TIP: watch your fingers!
  • step 5. paint your base color
  • step 6. Trace your pattern with a pencil. I chose to use a pencil to trace the stencil pattern on the entire wall before I went in with my secondary color. Mainly because I was not sure how the pattern would look.
PRO TIP: To save time, skip the pencil step and dab paint directly onto the stencil with a foam brush. Note that dabbing paint will look slightly different from what I achieved with freehand painting.
  • Step 7. once that was done I painted the pattern using the lines as a guide. I liked the freehand look of the brush strokes. I posted a video of this here.
PRO TIP; use the same type of paint for the base coat and the stencil pattern if you want to achieve a wallpaper look. It’s the only way to ensure the paint dries together like a painting similar to what wallpaper looks like.
  • step 8. go over any bits you might have messed up and enjoy your DIY accent wall!
PRO TIP; paint a smaller wall!  lol. I kid but seriously, this was an ambitious project almost gave up but my husband didn’t think I could do it so here we are. lol.

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So how long did this take to complete from start to finish? I stopped counting. It took almost 3 weeks between painting the base color and outlining with a pencil and then going in with paint took several nights. I was working around work schedules and my two small children’s’ bedtime. I thankfully had long summer hours so had at least 2 hours after 7 before it got dark in New York. So. That said, it took me more than 24 hours total. But, I’m proud of myself for trying and I think it’s a nice example of a renter-friendly, budget-friendly (not necessarily time friendly) hack for folks that like the wallpaper look. So do the math that works for you. If your time is too important, then this is not for you. But it was like therapy for me. I’d love to hear from you, would you try this at home?

Happy Thursday folks! 🖤


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