I've discovered an easy and effective way to create your own wall decals. This enables you to be able to choose the fabric and design it yourself, while saving you bundles of money. My method also will not damage walls so is prefect for renters and those of us who struggle with committing with long-term wall treatments.
When I first decided to take on this challenge, I tried using liquid starch since I've read that was a solution. It was a disaster! It was a messy process and it simply did not work at all for larger decals (the fabric was too heavy) and even when it did work for the smaller decals, I found my toddler could easily peel it off. I was frustrated and knew I needed a better system. After months of brainstorming and many failed experiments, I finally found a great solution that I would love to share with you. I recently created bird to keep my giraffe company and photographed every step.
1. Create a pattern. For small patterns, like the bird below, this is easy but for larger decals, like my giraffe, this is the most time-consuming step for me. It's hard to free-hand a giraffe that is almost as tall as myself! Cut out the pattern when you are satisfied with your design.
2. Set the pattern aside. Now, place ironed fabric down so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing you. Now, we apply the adhesive (the real secret for making this work).
For the adhesive, you will want double stick fusible web, that is often used in appliques. This product is sticky on both sides (for temporary adhesive) and bonds semi-permanently with an iron. I used Steam-A-Seam2 and it works like a gem! It is cheap and comes with several 9X12 sheets. The sheets work great for smaller appliques, like the bird, but you need a much larger size for large projects, like my giraffe. Fortunately, Steam-A-Seam2 comes in large rolls (up to 24X36) for about $8.00 a yard. This large size can be hard to find but you can purchase it HERE, at www.softexpressions.com.
The fusible webbing has protective wax like paper on both sides. Remove one of the layers of paper and carefully place it sticky side down onto the wrong side of the fabric.
4. Use your pattern now to trace the pattern onto the paper that is remaining on the webbing (you can always skip the first two steps and just create the pattern here but I like having a separate pattern so I can use it again).
5. Cut out the pattern.
6. You will now have three layers (fabric, clear webbing, protective paper). Remove the paper.
7. You can and stick it to the desired wall-location,using your hands to smooth out any bumps. You can lift it off and on the wall to try different locations since it will stick, but not bond to the wall, until we iron it. Once you are happy with the location, use a hot iron and press it against the decal, while on the wall. This creates a strong hold that even deter the naughtiest of toddlers.
(Yes, that is our front door next to the giraffe. We live in a NYC one-bedroom so Scarlett sleeps in the entry way. Maybe one day she'll get a real room)
*You can remove this at anytime by lifting an edge and easily peeling it off. The best part is that it does not damage the walls. I had my giraffe on for over a year and just pealed it back and the wall looks untouched. We have typical white painted walls. I'm not sure how it will react on other surfaces. Always test first!
(Here is the wall, after I peeled back the decal one year later)
**Once the decal is ironed on, it cannot be removed and stuck somewhere else. New adhesive would need to be applied.