Burlap “Wallpaper” How To

Yesterday I shared with you that I “wallpapered” burlap to the back of my office shelves.

Use burlap as wallpaper

I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do to the back of the shelves.  Paint was an obvious answer but that seemed like a lot of work. And very committal. I hate commitment.  My husband is a lucky man.  I know you can repaint but I chickened out.  I also couldn’t decide on a color.  I know some people mentioned yesterday that they would have chosen a bright color.  That’s just not us.  We’re very neutral people.  I probably would have chosen brown.  Boring.  Whatever.  We’re a pharmacist and an accountant.  Crazy party people live here.

I then saw a post on How About Orange about using fabric as wallpaper.  It seemed easy enough.  The other positive was that if I didn’t like it I could just take the fabric down and wipe up the paste.  I was digging it.

I told Nate about my plan.  He gave me that “Are you out of your mind crazy woman beast?” look that I’ve been getting a lot lately.  (I think he is going to put a Pinterest block on my computer.  Seriously.)  I put up a good front and acted like I totally knew what I was doing and this project would be a piece of cake.

And surprisingly, it was.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric cut to your appropriate dimensions. 
    • This was probably the hardest step of the whole process. 
    • I’d check out Chelsea’s tutorial for cutting burlap here.  She pays better attention at Joann’s than I do.  Or maybe her local Joann’s employees are a little friendlier than mine.  Just saying.
    • Cornstarch 
    • Water 
    • A brush  (I used a foam brush but any brush would do.)
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Bring ~4 cups of water to a boil.  While you are waiting, mix ~1/2 cup of cornstarch with a small amount of water.  Just enough to dissolve the corn starch and make this milk looking sludge.

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Add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling water slowly while whisking.  I love whisking.  Seriously.  Favorite kitchen utensil.

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Boil until thickened (~5 minutes).  Let cool.

I cooled my paste just so that I could handle it without scalding myself.  (I’m super patient.  I think my impatience was okay in this case though because this paste turns to sludge fairly quickly.)

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I removed the shelves and then brushed the entire surface with a thin layer of the paste.  I found that I didn’t need a lot. A small amount would hold the burlap.  I did find that I needed press a small section for a few seconds to get the burlap to stick.  Burlap was a decent material to chose.  I am horrible at cutting and burlap is hard to cut.  It is, however, very stretchy and forgiving.  If my cut was a little off I could just tug and make it work.

Once the area was completely “wallpapered” I put the shelves back in, styled them pretty, and waited for Nate to get home to show him that I this was not the giant DIY disaster that we both expected.

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I’ll keep you posted on how this holds up.  How long will it stick?  Can I really remove it easily when I change my mind about in this room in 6 months?  Someone has to be the guinea pig, right?

Who’s going to slap some fabric on their walls now?  Do it!  Anyone else going to soon be banned from Pinterest?  What’s the craziest pin you have attempted?

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It Might Be the Fumes

It might be the spray paint fumes getting to me but I’m liking my latest furniture make-over!

Remember this chair? (If not, you can read about it here.)

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Pretty, huh?  Love that dirty black vinyl.

This is what it looks like after some spray paint and fabric love…

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This was my first time using spray paint to refinish furniture.  I’m usually a roller and paint brush girl.
It took me a little time (and some sanding of paint drips) to get the technique figured out.  After that, it was smooth sailing.  I prefer my roller/brush combo but I will now use spray paint for pieces that have lots of nooks and crannies (like this chair).

The chair now lives happily in the corner of our office…
waiting for my next lesson in bill paying…
or the scanning of 1 million wedding photos with my mom who just wanted "a few"....

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Is it sad I paid more for fabric and spray paint than I did for the chair?

What’s your favorite painting technique…roller, brush, spray paint?  Or are you one of those weirdos that doesn’t think wood furniture should be painted?

Does painting furniture scare you?  If so, stay tuned on Thursday for a sort-of tutorial to help alleviate those fears!

5 Dollars and 70 cents

$5.70 doesn't buy a lot these days.  My 80 year old self (that I keep trying to hide on this blog but she keeps sneaking out) is doing the talking...

It does, however, buy you this beauty from the Salvation Army Outlet ($5.00). 


Yes, you read that right.  Outlet.  It's really dirty and probably not the safest but it is one of my favorite stores in town!

Why?  Because 70 cents buys you this....


I don't really know what I'm going to do with it yet but it was just too pretty not to bring home!

I bought the chair out of neccesity.  I swear.
Usually a fern lives in the corner of our office (shown on right in photo below). 
I can never remember to water the fern.  It's time for it to move on....to the woods to finish out its dead life. 
We needed another chair in the office (that moves easily) for when we do important things as a couple....
like when Nate taught me how to pay our bills a few weeks back.  That was fun....


Now to decide on paint color and fabric for the cushion....decisions, decisions?

Light blue chair, fun brown pattern cover?
White chair, fun blue patter cover?
White chair, fun brown pattern cover?
Something else entirely?

What's your vote? 
Who handles the bill paying in your house?  Would a cute chair make the process less boring?

House Tour- Office

Friday equals "House Tour Time" here on DecorandtheDog. Get excited!

You have caught a few glimpses of our office throughout this week. 
This room contains a few of my favorite things...a glass paneled door, built-ins, and a double sided fireplace.
This room has definitely been furnished on a budget!

Let's start the tour...


Built-in cabinets.  Door leads to living room.

Double sided fireplace

Room Info
  • Wall Color- Down Home (Sherwin Williams)
  • Cabinets- Mid-Continent/Sullivan doors/Antique White finish
  • Curtains- Handmade (fabric from Joann's)
  • Pillow covers- Handmade (fabric from Joann's)
  • Ottoman- Target ottoman found at Salvation Army
  • Couch- Sleeper-sofa from college roommate
  • Frames- whatever I had laying around the house with a fresh coat of paint
  • Do you sense a theme for this room??

To Do List
  • Make the shelves more presentable. 
    • Maybe paint the backs a different color/do some kind of fabric background/stenciling?
  • Replace the curtains that I made a year ago. (yes, I have a problem...but I just don't love them)
  • Move the "map" picture to the right of the fireplace and find something to take it's place.
    • We're thinking a vintage map from e-bay with a vintage frame.
  • Replace dying plant with some kind of chair.
    • or water plant :)
  • Find a few more globes
Feel free to comment with suggestions!

We've Got the Whole World....

We've got the whole world...in our office!



I like globes. 
Awhile back I saw a picture in Better Homes and Gardens that has inspired my globe addiction.
(I can't seem to locate the "inspiration photo").

I am slowly adding to my "collection".  It's like a globe hunting adventure.

I found this one for $4.00 at my favorite store (aka Salvation Army) last week.
I don't like to pay over $10.00.


Ike eventually approved.

Just a few more and the collection will be complete!



Do you have any unique collections?

My Favorite Store

I think I've mentioned this before but I LOVE the Salvation Army. 

My co-worked told me that pharmacists don't shop at the Salvation Army. They shop at Ethan Allen, Pottery Barn, etc.  

Not this pharmacist! 

Why do I love the Salvation Army?  Because they have AMAZING deals..and I love AMAZING deals!

For example, I purchased this Target storage ottoman last week.  Brand new, perfect condition, tags still on it.


Check out the price tag...


AMAZING!!  I almost peed my pants. Seriously.  We have been wanting an ottoman for our office but we have been too cheap to purchase one for $79.99....but we can handle $25.00.  We're also helping out the Salvation Army with our purchase (justifying is always fun).

And here is our lovely new ottoman in our office....


Have you found any AMAZING finds lately?  Or does the Salvation Army scare you?

Rambling Week-end Recap

Home improvement projects were lacking in our house this week-end!  Bummer!

Just mainly some organizing and cleaning...nothing super blog worthy.

The office still needs help but I did straighten it up a little bit.


I cleaned the pantry..which I will post later this week. 

We also took the recycling away...it was taking over our garage...seriously. 
We could barely get out the door.  I didn't take a picture...it was that bad. At least we recycle, right??

Ike and I went on a walk to enjoy the balmy 35 degree weather.  Note that the sun is not out.  I don't think it has been out for more than 10 minutes in the past 3 weeks.  I wish I was joking.


Saturday night we went to supper with some friends.  We had thought about hitting up Flavor Flav's new chicken restaurant that opened up 20 miles from here...

William Drayton, also known as Flava Flav, right, serves the first batch of chicken at his new fried chicken restaurant in Clinton, Iowa.

but the risk of salmonella and gonorrhea scared us away and we settled on Old Chicago instead.
(Do you see gloves in that picture? Do you watch VH1?? Sickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk....)

There is currently a Winter Storm Watch for Tuesday/Wednesday.  10-14 inches of snow!
Keep your fingers crossed for a snow day post! (Yes, I am a small child!)