Make This! Renter-Friendly DIY Typography Wall Art

By: Brittni mehlhoff Apr 23, 2013

When you're renting, wall art can be a sensitive subject. Usually, it involves a whole lot of holes in the wall or a whole lot of painting, only to have to spackle and paint the walls again when you move out. Luckily, I have a solution that won't harm your walls and definitely makes a big impact, without a single hole or drop of paint.    

 

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This project will take the better part of an afternoon to complete, but if you have help the whole process will go by much faster.

Supplies:

  1. one to two yards of fabric (depending on the size of your letters)
  2. fabric scissors
  3. fabric fray block
  4. paint brush
  5. a pencil for tracing
  6. 1/4 cup of corn starch
  7.  4 1/2 cups of water
  8. one medium-sized pot for boiling the water
  9. a level and painter's tape

How-To:

1. Select a font that you really like and have it printed to the size that you want your final piece to be. Local printers or copy shops can do this for you pretty inexpenisively, but if you aren't able to have it printed to the size that you want, you can draw the letters by hand on your own. There are plenty of fonts that you can recreate on your own; just take a lot of measurements and make sure to get the angles right.

2. Next, lay out your fabric and run an iron over it a few times to steam out any wrinkles. 

3. Cut out your letterss carefully and then flip your fabric over, so the wrong side is facing up. You'll map out the letters on this side to hide the pencil marks.

4. Since you are writing on the backside of the fabric, be sure to also flip your cut- out letters over to match. Trace each letter and then cut each one out carefully with fabric scissors. 

5. Use a very small amount of fray block on the outer edges of each letter to make sure that you don't have any fly-aways. If you use too much fray block on the edges, it could turn the edges white, so be sure to follow the directions and use sparingly.

6. Now it's time to mix your 'glue'. A simple corn starch and water recipe will adhere the letters to your wall without damaging the paint. And the best part is, you can easily pull the fabric right off if you move, or if you want to switch things up!

I used this recipe from How About Orange (Bring four cups of water to a boil. In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup of corn starch with 1/2 cup of cold water. Then add all of the boiling water to the mixture and stir.). 

7. Using a level and some painter's tape, create a straight line on the wall to act as your guide for the letters. 

7. Next, apply the corn starch mixture to the back of your first fabric letter generously with a paint brush. It works best to do one letter at a time. Apply glue, attach it to the wall, apply glue to the next one, attach it to the wall, etc.

8. Position your first letter on the wall where you want it, using your tape line as a guide. Press down firmly, smoothing out any bubbles or air pockets, and apply a top -coat of the corn starch mixture to keep it in place.

9. Repeat this process for the reamining letters until the word or phrase is complete. Note: Don't forget to space the letters evenly from each other. Kerning can make a big difference in the final design, so place with care.

10. Remove the painter's tape and enjoy your new wall art.

So what do you think? Want to tackle a typography project this weekend?

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Comments

will this work on cinderblock walls as well?

I would suggest washing/drying the fabric before the project if you're worried about the colors bleeding onto your wall

Amanda - it's pretty strong, so I would guess that it will last as long as you want it to, as long as it's not disturbed.

Brittany - Yes, it peels off with no problem whenever you're ready to remove it. The only residue that was left on the wall when I took mine down was from the glue. I was able to wipe down the wall with water and a tiny bit of soap to remove the residue. If your walls get scuffed up very easily, as you descirbed, I would just recommend being careful with the fabric you choose. Some fabrics could potentially bleed through to the wall when attached with the glue. I purchased my fabric from JoAnn's and had no problems with that at all. Good luck!

So, this peels off no problem, correct? I would be doing this in my dorm, which has weak paint (in that even the dye on clothes can rub off on it). However, the sterile white is quite boring and I would love to use this technique :)

how long does this last on the wall?

Hi Allison - the mixture does not have to be hot, but you don't want to wait too long because it starts to thinken after a while. You want more of a thin, liquidy paste than a thick one. As for using liquid starch, I don't believe you would need to add water. As is should be fine.

Does the cornstarch mixture have to be hot when applied to the letters? I live in a college dorm, so it would be easiest to boil it at home and then bring to college and finish the project there. Also, if I were to use liquid starch would I need to add any water?

Hi Jenna. Sure thing. The font is Neutra Text.

Dear sweet jesus this changes everything for me! Thank you so much!

Love this project and can't wait to try it out. I'd love to know the name of the font that you used :)

Yes. Good tip Bethany. I thought about using a liquid starch, but all I could find was a giant bottle for $20 so I decided against it. That would solve the insect worry that Anonymous had. Although, I have had mine up for almost two weeks now and haven't had any issues with bugs.

You can also use Liquid Starch (for Ironing) to make things quicker.  Keep in mind this project peels right off a steamy bathroom wall ;)

I would worry about the cornstarch paste attracting insects especially roaches.

Awesome Gabby. I would love to see a photo if you end of re-craeting this project on your own. Good luck!

So simple and lovely, great on plain walls. I can see myself doing this soon as I have a massive white wall with no life in my room www.coldcoffeemornings.blogspot.co.uk

Thanks Danae. :)

Love this project Brittni! Having rented my entire life- I always appreciate a good renter-friendly project. :)

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