DIY: Removable Bathroom Wallpaper

If you saw last week's backsplash post or my desk makeover post before that, you know I'm all about quick, noncommittal decor projects these days. (A whole-house, whole-yard renovation will do that to you. I want things I can finish in two days, max.)

Smug from my recent successes, then, this past week I decided it was time to finally tackle the walls of my kids' bath. I wanted to cover one wall with a pattern that was youthful and fun, but not so childish that they'd grow out of it in 3 years.

Enter Spoonflower. I love this site's vast collection of graphic patterns, all of which can be printed to order on your choice of fabrics or wallpaper, including two types of removable wallpaper. The number of patterns available is staggering. Plus, it's a marketplace for indie designers, so they get a cut of every order. Points for good design karma!

I opted for a pattern called Birch Grove in Summer, by Willow Lane Textiles:

 Source:  Spoonflower

Source: Spoonflower

Why the birches, you ask? Tree-themed prints have been trending for a while (see: the ever-popular Woods wallpaper by Cole & Sons, originally designed in 1959 but a current darling of designers, or Birds & Butterflies by Schumacher). But I wanted something unique, and the Spoonflower print felt fresh to me. I also suspected it would pair well with the Spring Meadow paint by Benjamin Moore we put on the walls. 

 Here we go... The walls before. 

Here we go... The walls before. 

I needed five of the woven peel-and-stick rolls, in custom lengths to fit my 9-foot wall height. Once they arrived, I assembled my supplies: A sharp utility knife, the squeegee that came with the wallpaper, a microfiber cloth to clean the wall. I also ended up using a level, scissors, and a ruler that could double as a cutting guide. As you can see from the above photo, Dave removed all of the towel rings and bars before we started.

 My arsenal. 

My arsenal. 

The first step was to unwrap and re-roll the paper so the top was on the outside. Easy enough.

 Unrolling. 

Unrolling. 

Then came our first hurdle. The directions instructed us to start hanging the paper from left to right. But the left side of the wall was mostly window. And our ceilings? Not so straight. Eek.

 Window troubles. 

Window troubles. 

After much thought and an awkward 10 minutes of standing on the toilet and snickering about "passing me a roll," we eventually decided to break from instructions and go a little rogue. First, we checked to see that the left wall was vertically plumb (it was). Then we pre-trimmed the paper to remove the window section, making the sheet much easier to handle as we positioned it.

 After the window cutout. 

After the window cutout. 

Taking off some weight helped us maneuver it more easily and let us see where the pattern was headed. We were pretty conservative with the cut, though, as we planned to trim it more accurately once the edges of the sheet were up.

Then we removed the backing and tacked the top of the wallpaper sheet to the wall, making sure the paper was horizontally level and leaving about an inch of excess at the top. This ensured that even if the walls and ceiling were crooked, our trees would be perfectly upright.

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Once the paper is in tacked in place, you just remove the backing a bit at a time and smooth it all out with the included squeegee. Then you repeat the whole process with the next sheet, overlapping the sheets slightly to get the pattern lined up. We trimmed around the window and vanity as we went, then did all the top and bottom trimming as a final step.

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There was definitely some lifting and re-setting of the paper required to get the pattern match just so, so I was thankful I had selected the peel-and-stick paper rather than the water-activated variety, which isn't as repositionable. I won't lie; that part was a bit tedious. But the OCD paid off: You can barely see the seams between sheets!

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Here it is all done:

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All told, I think we spent about 3.5 to 4 hours on this, including setup and cleanup. I think it would go a lot faster if we did it again. Now that I know how easy the process is (and that I'm actually capable of doing it), I'm tempted to add a fun wallpaper to my son's room, too.  

I'll keep you posted on how it wears over time, but for now, things are looking good. Thoughts? Would you try it?