How to make a patchwork wallpaper wall

Jan 24, 2017 | Home + Studio Tours

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I have always wanted to make a patchwork wallpaper wall, and I finally decided to go for it. I’m so, so glad I did. 

I thought I’d share our process as so many of you on Instagram and Facebook wanted to know and I think we should all have at least one wall in our homes that comes alive like this, yes?

Step One: Get Inspired.

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Get inspired. Head over to Pinterest and drool. Above is a great collection of wallpaper walls that found by searching “patchwork wallpaper walls” over there. As you can see, there are many different styles of doing it. The first photo in this grid is what I used as my inspiration. I loved how it looked like a quilt for the wall with different shapes and sizes of paper overlapping one another. I also loved the vibrancy of the colors, which is how I chose my color palette.

Step 2: Gather up your wallpaper pieces

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Gather up your wallpapers. I have a large collection of vintage wallpapers, but I knew I needed to round out what I already had with other papers that featured different colors. I was able to find what I was looking for on Etsy with a simple “vintage wallpaper” search.

Warning: there are hundreds and hundreds of options on Etsy. I decided to only add papers to my cart that I was drawn to (in love with) and that also included colors to go along with my chosen color palette. I didn’t worry about making definite choices at this stage. I only chose what I was in love with. When I was all done filling up my cart, I had about 35 different pieces of wallpaper (most at about $16 per yard) totaling about $500. I then refined that original selection down to about 10 choices for about $200 total. WORTH IT. In the end, between the 10 yards of various papers I bought from Etsy and the collection I already owned, I had about 25 different patterns that I would end up using on the wall.

Cut your papers. I gathered up all the papers and cut about 50 big squares (ranging from 10×12″ to 10×14″) as well as smaller squares and rectangles (ranging from 6×6″ to 7×10″). I put a large piece of cardboard down on my dining room table and simply used a box cutter and a large straight edge (ruler) to cut the pieces. I didn’t worry about being exact, but was sure I had as many large squares as I did smaller.

Step 3: Get Started

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Start with the bigger pieces first. I didn’t have an exact plan when I started to put the pieces up. I just knew that I needed to start with the the bigger pieces first. I started on one side of the room and slowly worked by way over to the other side of the room.

Step 4: Evenly distribute shapes and colors.

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Pay attention to color. As I moved from one side of the room to the next with my bigger pieces of paper, I was sure to pay attention to distributing the colors somewhat evenly so that the greens, yellows, oranges, blues were nicely balanced. I also was sure to paste some of the papers vertically while others were horizontal.

Water + wallpaper adhesive = everything. For each piece of paper we glued, we first spritzed it with water using a water bottle (you can see the water bottle we used in the photo above). We did this before apply the wallpaper adhesive because so many of these papers were brittle from their age. The heavy spritz of water helped tremendously. After we spritzed the pieces with water, we used our hands to spread the wallpaper paste onto the backs of the papers. We were sure to generously cover the edges of the papers. We used this exact wallpaper adhesive and it worked great.

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Step 5: Start overlapping the smaller pieces over the bigger pieces

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Overlapping = quilt effect. After you have a large part of the wall covered in larger pieces, start overlapping them with smaller pieces. This is the fun part because you can start to see the quilt effect on the wall. Using smaller pieces to fill in an areas that need a certain color is another way to achieve a nice balance of color on the wall.

Step 6: Enjoy

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Delight in your one-of-a-kind patchwork wallpaper wall. I so wish I had done this years ago!

FAQ’s

What will you use this room for?
I’ll share the full room reveal and what we’ll use this room as in an upcoming post. Don’t want to miss it? Be sure to sign up over there –> on the sidebar to receive blogs in your inbox.

How long did it take?
My mom helped me with this project. From the time we started cutting squares to the finished wall was about five hours total.

Can you use scrapbook papers or other papers? What about fabric?
I’m sure you can, but you’ll need to do some research as I’ve never done it. If you have some resources or information, please share in the comments!

Did your papers come out smooth or bubbly?
It’s perfectly smooth. We found it MUCH easier to hang pieces of wallpaper vs the usual long strips of wallpaper. There are seams, of course, but that was to be expected and I love it.

Tell me what you think in the comments!

XO,

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (48 comments)
48 Comments
  1. JoELLE

    How do you help women explore their creativity, do have classes ???

    Reply
    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Hi JoElle,
      Yes, I have recently retired a number of courses (working on new ones), but also though retreats (which are on hold per Covid).

      Reply
  2. Louise Hayward

    I love to this! Looking to update my daughter’s room on a very small budget. Feature wall, here I come. Was wondering about doing a wall in our rather dull bathroom too but not sure how the wallpaper would fair with steam.

    Reply
  3. Hollin

    Hello from Portugal! I LOVE this. I’m debating whether or not to attempt it as we are just renting and I wonder how hard it would be to remove? I will have to research it.
    Thanks for the inspiration– def. a kindred spirit! Cheers!

    Reply
    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      We had to have it removed when we sold this house. We hired professional wallpaper removers to remove it and it didn’t seem to be a problem 🙂

      Reply
  4. Christine Robie

    I love this patchwork wall and plan to do one of my own in my little kitchen, removing cupboard doors and wanting open shelves …and came up with an idea to do it all in scrapbook 12×12 squares…some cut smaller…will do one wall and back splash areas and inside cupboards… I couldn’t see what wall paper paste you used. Thanks for the guide…will be fun and whimsical. Just ordered a little “retro” style red microwave!

    Reply
  5. Donna

    You said that you picked colors based on your color palette, but it looks like you used a gazillion colors. I am a color lover, and I would like to use a lot of colors in my decor, but you hear so much about..choosing one main color and maybe one or two accent colors or stuff like that. I’m just curious how you approach a color palette, because I love your colorful style. How do you work out your colors and prints? Any tips for me? Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Hi Donna, such a good question. I understand the approach of choosing one main color, etc, but that has never worked for my creative/colorful brain. Like you, I love color! For this wall, as I was shopping online for vintage papers, I put them next to each other up on the screen to be sure they all sort of went together. There were several that didn’t make the cut – mainly super bright ones and ones that had a lot of blue/purple. Being sure to spread all the color evenly around the wall helped, too. Chances are, whatever colors you love and start playing with putting together, it will become clear what colors don’t quite light you up and which ones do. I hope this was helpful!

      Reply
  6. Bev Bower

    I can’t understand why people are BUYING PAPER?!! Just go to local hardware stores and get samples…. they’re free!! 🤦🏼‍♀️

    Reply
  7. PATCHWORK WALLPAPER WALL

    wow rhis is so pretty and awesome. I’m going to do this for my new room and it would work really cool as a background for taking photos.and i’m really sure you can try very easily 

    Reply
  8. Moon Rocks

    great posting and high quality keep shearing this

    Reply
  9. Heike Weiß

    wow so so great ideas thanks a lot

    Reply
  10. Ruth

    I think if you’ll do a search about using fabric on walls you’ll find that could also be an option. I’m thinking fabric is “glued” using liquid starch, and it’s then removable.

    Reply
  11. Theresa Brockman

    I love it, it makes me feel cozy and grounded. And how awesome to be able to create it with your mom ~ the memory of that activity alone is priceless ! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Kimmie Hogan

    Love how your wall turned out!!!! I have 5 kids, my oldest was already out on her own, and after my oldest two boys moved out, my youngest daughter moved upstairs to the “cave” she now shares with my youngest son. So I took over her old room downstairs. (It’s great being able to carve out my own space) I’ve been wanting to try something like this in my new space. You’ve inspired me to give it a go!!!! As always you are an amazing inspiration!!!

    Reply
  13. Joan Kovach

    Kelly, this is indeed such a wonderful idea !!
    Like a COZY quilt covering you with comfort……genius !!
    love love love it….thanks for sharing !!

    Reply
  14. Jules Madden

    Kelly this looks fantastic!! I recently did some fabric “wallpapering” on my blog in the back shelves of bookcases. It worked really well, so fabric is an option too. I’ve always wanted to try it with scrapbook paper. I’ll have to let you know if it it turns out if I finally bite the bullet and try it!!

    Reply
  15. Hally

    I LOVE IT!!! Need it in my creative space.

    Reply
  16. shirley

    I hate it….it looks childish and I would never, ever do this in my home…

    Reply
  17. Hila

    To be honest, I wasn’t excited when I saw the first pic, when you began, and there were only few pieces on the wall. However, when I saw the finished wall I totally changed my mind, and I think it looks great! Love it, and thinking where can I add such wall at my house.
    Great inspiration

    Reply
  18. Brenda Small

    I love your creativity. .we are a lot alike…except you aren’t scared to jump in…I have a zillion projects in my crazy head.

    Reply
  19. donna joy

    absolutely wonderful! love this~

    Reply
  20. Nina

    such a great job!!!! i’ve been wanting to do a portion of my kitchen ceiling around the light fixture for years (installing a Schoolhouse Electric globe in place of a yucky fluorescent fixture will require spackling and painting, something i avoid) but was curious if the brittle paper would hold up. you’ve given me more confidence to do it!
    i always think of having the pleasure of your company in that little parlor book class at artfest, whenever i see layered varieties of vintage wallpaper patterns. remember how we layered the scrap paper? i think of you sitting there at the table working on your book in your cute pigtails and colorful sweater – a favorite image of mine from many years ago…. xox

    Reply
  21. Tracy

    Love this! We cannot do it here without massive other decorating style changes, but it is wonderful and I love the color, color, color!

    Reply
  22. Sally Wright

    So whimsical and you! I just love your entire inspiring and inviting home! Thanks so much for all you share with us.

    Reply
  23. Oksanna

    You can also ask wallpaper shops for their old wallpaper sample books and use the sheets of wallpaper to paper a wall.

    Reply
  24. Minnie Klashinsky

    I LOVE this!!! It turned out sooo beautifully. 🙂

    Reply
  25. Pam Hogeweide

    I am in the midst of an amicable divorce and soon will be looking for a new home all for myself (goodbye north Portland…. hellooooo East Portland ? Or maybe Troutdale ?!) I am obsessed with Redfin listings and once I have a home it will be a project all of my own to decorate however I like…this wall paper project is SO PERFECT for me … def will be referring back to this blog post when the time comes. I can already imagine using Cavalllni papers … oh the possibilities ! Thanks so much for sharing this. Will look forward to your full room reveal. 🙂

    Reply
  26. Maria C

    This is so fantastic!! Great job. Very inspiring. What a fabulous makeover for 5 hours worth of time. Very worth it I would say. Bet it makes you smile every time you walk by.

    Reply
  27. Debbie Dolan

    I LOVE this wall! I think this is a perfect wall for this application. The windows make it pop more than just a plain wall. Your instructions make it sound very doable.

    Reply
  28. Mary Anne Perlmutter

    I love this wall. I would love this in my home, but it is too colorful for my husband. You and your mom did a great job. Enjoy!!

    Reply
    • Jules Madden

      I had a giggle at this- what I do is do these types of updates when my hubby is at work! Lol

      Reply
      • Faith G

        YES!!!!

        Reply
  29. Dora B

    Love it! Colors and patterns well balanced and pleasing to the eye. I may consider this for a wall in my bedroom that is currently painted all white! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  30. Kristi

    Kelly Rae, this is absolutely stunning! So unique and colorful – and when does a quilt not evoke feelings of being wrapped cozily in comfort?? Enjoy! I will look forward to your big reveal of how the space is going to be used.

    Reply
  31. Tracee

    I’ve been searching for the paint for a focus wall! I love this!! Thank for sharing!

    Reply
  32. Carla Hogan

    LoVe It! GREAT JoB!

    Reply
  33. Donna

    I love it! Makes me want to shop Etsy😃

    Reply
  34. Greta Young

    LOVE it! ❤️

    Reply
  35. Donna

    I love it! Makes me want to shop Etsy?

    Reply
  36. Cleone weyers

    Love the final result,splendid.If you are on a really tight budget,most wallpaper shops will give you their outdated books,where you can remove the pages and cut them to size.You inspire me with your upbeat , joyful outlook and lovely art.

    Reply
  37. Dawn Osborne

    I have applied scrapbook paper many many times to walls and wooden furniture and all I use is Minwax Polycrylic water based sealer. Works Amazing…no fumes and dries super fast. I really hope this helps someone. God Bless!

    Reply
    • Maria

      Hi Dawn,
      I’m curious if you used adhesive first and then the Minwax sealer or just the sealer.
      Thanks,
      Maria

      Reply
    • Layla

      How do you apply the sealer? On the back of the paper or over top of it on the wall? I’ve never done anything like this before but I am planning on it soon.

      Reply
  38. joan

    Absolutely stunning!! Thanks for the step by step–Just have one question and did not see it in FAQ’s. When you added the smaller “fill-in” pieces did you overlap the papers or cut away the piece on the back ? Hope you enjoy the room for many years to come!

    Reply
  39. Mary Ryan

    I love your wall. Have loved your couch forever and had that on my bucket list. No blank walls at my place. All covered with KRR prints.

    Reply
  40. Wendy Y

    Wonderful!

    Reply
  41. Heidi

    Thank you for sharing this with us! It turned out gorgeous ! I’m looking forward to see the finished room reveal !
    ❤ you KellyRae

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Living room accent wall ideas using various colors - […] Image source: Kelly Rae Roberts […]
  2. You Are Awesome! | dianne faw - […] 2017 Valentine’s were inspired by this patchwork wall in Kelly Rae Robert’s new home […]

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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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