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

Uncle Beefy

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!)


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


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!


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


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


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


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

Trying it today!



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.



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…


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.


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


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


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.


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


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!


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

Lauren x

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 :)

Jeff Flemings

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


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…


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


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?!


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


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


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…


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


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.


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?