diy project: susan’s tiger wallpaper

today’s first of 3 diy projects comes from susan of doggie eyes. she created this incredible “wallpaper” using images she printed from the web and a little spray starch to attach them to a wall in a decorative pattern. the “x” shape she chose looks so much like a regular wallpaper roll from a far i can’t wait to try this in my bathroom. the spray starch comes off relatively easily so it’s heaven for a renter. thanks so much to susan for sharing!

CLICK HERE for the full project steps after the jump!

What You’ll Need:

-straight edge
-can of starch
-hand towel

tiger supplies

1. First, choose an image (or two) that you like. On this wall I used a tattoo-flash tiger, and a really basic daisy. Google image search is obviously great, so is Wiki-images – lots of cool old animal drawings.

2. Make sure your image is in black and white (especially if you’ll be printing on colored paper), and print a ton of copies! I used about 80 7″ish tigers on my wall.

3. Cut out the images. Little nooks and crannies will blend in with the wall easily if you’re using white paper, but will stand out as mistakes if you’re using colored paper. So, with colored paper – cut carefully.

4. Come up with a plan. I tried to freehand this tiger design without planning it out, and it was a disaster the first time around. Have more than a vague idea of your pattern – do a mockup on the floor or table first. There’s obviously an infinite amount of patterns you could come up with (with or without tigers…)

We ended up starting with a big, 90 degree, diagonal “X” in the middle of the wall, and working out from there. Good tools to have? A pencil, a straight edge, a ruler, a level. Once you do the pattern two or three times, it’ll get easier and easier to place them.

5. Using spray starch (usually a dollar or two at the grocery store, in the laundry aisle) spray the back of one paper. Wait a moment for the starch to “sink in”, then stick it up on the wall! You can move it if you stick it in the wrong place – even after the starch has dried. Just quickly respray the piece, and it’s ready to re-position. Repeat and repeat and repeat. (You also might want to have a dishtowel on hand to wipe up any drips).

Starch is a great, underused tool! You often read about using it to put fabric on the walls, but it works with pretty much any porous material (like paper).

If you’re a renter or serial re-decorator, this is a great project, because it’s super cheap and should be totally removable. Once the paper is totally dry, and stuck to the wall, you should be able to remove it with your fingernail (like a wall decal) or with a wet sponge (if it’s stubborn).

CLICK HERE for more information on and images from Susan’s wallpaper project

tiger wall

  1. Patti Backer says:

    this is fantastic! soooo beautiful and fun.

  2. sarah says:

    that is awesome!!!

  3. Uncle Beefy says:

    There’s really nothing I can think of to say about this post or project. I can only bow humbly. [insert repetitive bowing here]

    (In awe!)

  4. caitlin says:

    Wow, what a great idea. And that tiger pattern is amazing!

  5. Marie says:

    Wow! That must have been a lot of work cutting out all those tigers and flowers!! Looks great!!

  6. Casey says:

    This is an excellent idea! I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my boring all white bathroom and I think a treatment like this would be perfect! Thanks!

  7. Simone Rene says:

    OMG!! What inspiration…ty!

  8. patty says:

    Love those tigers – this is a great idea especially when cool wallpaper can be so expensive. Thanks!

  9. Heather says:

    Seriously? Wow…I want to do this right this very moment. Amazing!

  10. Summer says:

    I love the impermanence and that it’s not perfect. I think I’m going to have to give that a try!

  11. Sara Jensen says:

    Oh, Im letting Henry pick an animal for this. I am guessing that he will want Hippos, Penguins and Tigers.

  12. lauren says:

    this is the chuck norris of wallpapers (minus the conservative fundraising, plus TIGERS). susan, we’re not worthy.

  13. Azzy says:

    This is perfect; I’ve always wanted to mess with my walls but never wanted to lose my security deposit.

    Trying it today!

  14. Alison says:

    Do you think the spray starch would hold in the bathroom too?

    1. grace says:


      i was thinking about this and got worried about the humidity. i’d try a small patch and see what happens after a few showers.


  15. Allison says:

    Wow! This is wild!

    I’m sure the same technique could be used with colourful images from printed fabric.

    If only I had the time to try this at home…

  16. Amanda says:

    That tiger print is SICK! love it.

  17. kaytet says:

    i did a spray starch “wallpaper” in my bathroom a couple of years ago and was worried about the same thing but everything stayed put! it really looks great.

  18. susan says:

    Yeah, I think you’d want to do a test run in the bathroom.
    Thanks for all the kind words!

  19. Karyn says:

    Holy cow, Susan, you are amazing. What a great job — and thanks, D*S, for posting!

  20. Hope says:

    What kind of paper do you use? Do you have to use something nice or almost glossy or would normal color copy paper work as well? Thanks!! such a good idea.

  21. susan says:

    this was just color copy paper from Staples. I think something super heavy-weight might not work as well.

  22. Jessica Kemp says:

    so GREAT.

    If I owned my own walls I’d be on this in a heart beat.

  23. ADD says:

    inspiring work! someone buy this girl a beer

  24. Tia says:

    Super cool. I have some unfortunate knock-down texture on almost all of my walls so wallpaper is out of the question – but this is a low investment way to see if it might work!

  25. This is awesome! Im so doing it! :D

  26. nath says:

    so. very clever.


  27. I cannot wait to do this in the entryway of my apartment. What an amazing and super rad idea!! thank you, susan & D*S for posting! OH BOY!

  28. Katie says:

    Great idea, you are a true designer. Unexpected combo of tiger & flower in a flower pattern, very original.

  29. Evita says:

    I absolutely love this!

  30. Lauren x says:

    Why haven’t I thought of this before? This is so awesome I’m going to buy coloured paper tomorrow just for this. Just a tip for everyone if you like the style of images that Susan used I love It has thousands of all those old illustrations :)

  31. Loora says:

    I’m speechless… this is the ultimate cool, plus great inspiration.


  32. Jeff Flemings says:

    Brilliant on multiple levels. Visual impact – A+. Looks like wallpaper Jeff Koons would design. Renter-friendly! How great. Cheap! Even better. Simple. So great.

  33. Georgia says:

    I love this idea! Especially since my landlord does not like holes in the wall. Would it be ok for furniture too? I’ve got a behemoth of a wardrobe in my room…

  34. Serina says:

    I love this! If it wasn’t 11pm I might get up and do this right now!!! The possibilities are endless…

  35. rachel says:

    I love your tigers & flowers wallpaper! I’ve been obsessing over this project for weeks , marked my wall, designed and photocopied part 1 of the project. I tried to stick up some of hte pieces tonight and the pieces keep falling off hte walls ?! I realized that i bought ‘instant spray startch’ . Could that be the problem ?! I’ve sprayed the paper on the lighter side and waited for the starch to saturate the paper before i applied , and also drenched it in starch before applying. It fell down both times. Any advice?!

  36. jennifer g says:

    Reminds me of a book from my childhood, Tigerflower.

  37. Laura says:

    You are a champion
    I love it!!!
    you have solved my boredom-whilst-sick problem!!! =]

  38. erin says:

    totally awesome! i want to do this, but i wonder if there’s any reason it wouldn’t work with a color image?

  39. Zafrina Rosemary Brigitte says:

    Totally awe.!

  40. Marie says:

    This is just great!
    Do you think it would work with golden paper on a dark blue wall? I could imagine white stains on not-white walls…

  41. Haley says:

    Could you use wrapping paper for this? And would it end up staining the wall?

  42. Marilena says:

    Hi, I have tried this but the paper just will not stick. Any tips for applying the starch? I can’t seem to figure out what I am missing.

  43. Maitri says:

    I have to agree with Marilena, the paper doesn’t stick as well as I expected. The edges seem to come off the wall. Any ideas how to get this right?


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