For two-and-a-half years I have been unhappy with the dark wood built-ins that take up the majority of one of the walls in my older kids' shared bedroom in our rental. For two-and-a-half years it has made their tiny room feel even smaller and outdated, and I was just biding my time until we moved. I considered removable wallpaper but didn't find any I liked for their shared style that was also in our price range (read: low budget). I also had someone suggest cutting cardboard panels and wrapping them in fabric, but that just felt like a lot of room for error. One day I decided I would at least make the effort to see if lining them with blueprints from Kinkos would help.
Spoiler alert: It did!
Had I known what a transformation $26 could've made, I would've done it the week we moved in. It turned an underutilized, ugly spot into a lovely showcase wall and added just enough pattern to help tie the room together. Also, it was such an easy installation and will come down easily when we move without doing any damage to the landlord's beloved dark wood.
First, I measured my shelves to be sure I was printing off the best fit. They were roughly 24" wide with the shelving on the left and right sides being removable. I knew I wanted a larger pattern but didn't want to sweat over getting any illustration details just right. I considered having my son write something funny or inspiring in lines on a page and using that as my pattern, but I'd already done something similar for their gallery wall. Finally I just decided to freehand some geometric shapes and was really happy with the end result.
I suggest starting with a pencil and then tracing and maybe filling things in with a Sharpie. A bold line will help your pattern stand out. I also suggest sticking with a design that can be trimmed down to make it easier to make adjustments after you get home. A happy accident I stumbled upon when I was putting the papers together was that my shapes almost line up perfectly on two sides. By drawing triangles that were centered, but went off the edge of the page, I was able to create the illusion of a seam that matched up.
My next step was taking my paper to Kinkos to have it copied onto six 2' x 3' blueprint panels.I only used five, but I wanted a backup just in case one got crushed or ripped on the way home. Blueprint panels come in a few sizes, so be sure you are printing a size equal to or larger than you need.
After cutting my prints to fit each panel, I adhered my papers to the built-in using double-sided photo splits. They can be found in almost all scrapbooking sections of any craft stores and are acid free. Always be sure to test your adhesives in an inconspicuous spot before committing to be sure you aren't going to damage your surface.
I was able to hide my seams by adjusting the height of my shelving so that you can't tell I used a print-and-a-half. I also switched up the direction of the print in the center panels so it would look more fluid.
A month later and the paper still looks great, other than one corner that sits near a diffuser. Since it is just paper held up with double-sided tape, it won't have the same flush look as wallpaper that has been glued on, but you can still get pretty close. The best part is that if one section gets ripped or colored on, I can always go print off another panel to replace it!
This little project has gone a long way in making this an enjoyable space and has inspired a few other projects in their room. I love how the momentum from one project can carry over to the next until you have a whole new space! -Rachel