Tutorial: Small-Space Vintage Wallpaper Collage

Small-Space Wallpaper Collage At an Upcycle Exchange event a couple of months ago, I scored the awesomest vintage wallpaper swatchbook ever. I have loads of vintage upholstery swatchbooks that I craft with probably every day, so I was super-stoked to receive a wallpaper swatchbook.

Until I actually tried to work with it. After totally thrashing the cutting mat for my Cricut, I realized that the wallpaper in this particular swatchbook was waaaaay too brittle to do most of the wallpaper craft projects that I’d had in mind.

And of course, there’s no point in actually wallpapering with any of the hundred or so 20″x20″ samples.

Or is there? Imagine a huge number of wallpaper swatches, all in complementary colors and patterns. Are you imagining what I’m imagining?

You betcha! Decoupage!

A couple of caveats:

  • This is a busy look. Busy, busy, busy, busy. It works well, in my opinion, in small spaces, such as the built-in bookshelves in my living room, but if you do it over all the walls in your whole house–well, that’s kind of crazy-looking, but if it’s you, then it’s you.
  • I fully admit that I used Mod Podge, but again, I have an entire dark history of gluing things to my house. I refuse to pander to a future in which I’ll need to explain to a realtor why the seashells glued all over the bathroom doorframe won’t bring the market value of my house down by at least a grand. For you wimps, however, I am quite sure that wallpaper paste is suitably functional, as well.

You will need:

  • a huge book of wallpaper samples. I like to work out of a single book of samples, because I think the coordinating colors and patterns make the overall work look intentional, not chaotic.
  • self-healing cutting mat, ruler, and a rotary cutter with a blade dedicated to paper work
  • glue (see above caveat)

Wallpaper Swatches1. You could go a lot of ways here–torn edges, random sizing, decorative scissors–but I chose to cut out all of my wallpaper pieces as rectangles or squares, and I made most of them the same size, around 6″x6″.

2. You could also choose from an infinite number of patterns or themes or color schemes, but the paint in my living room is blue, so I chose wallpaper swatches from the blues, and I divided them up–two shelves done in floral papers, and two shelves done in non-florals.

3. After you choose your space, follow the instructions on your container of glue to decoupage your wallpaper pieces to your wall. Because I used Mod Podge (I know!), I brushed several layers over the top of all my surfaces to seal it, and I still may cut some glass to line the bottom of each shelf.

Small-Space Wallpaper CollageNOTE: If you’re covering a space like a built-in bookshelf, it’s really important to line your edges up neatly–it just makes the project look better. I did all my outside edges and corners first, then went crazy with the centers.

I might have gotten a little high on the Mod Podge, but still–I think it looks cool. Haven’t you ever done anything weird to your house?

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. I love it!

    I have a couple of partial rolls of 1959 Waverly wallpaper that was in the home I was raised in.

    I have used it as mat paper for photos and cut in strips for kitchen border. That brittle dry paper can be quite a challenge to work with but the results are worth it!

    btw – I love mod podge too!!!!!

  2. This idea is awesome. But its really hard to find vintage wallpaper that doesn’t cost an arm and leg. Ketchwallpaper.com will send out samples at a really affordable price so that you can recreate this look in your own home.

  3. Upcycle Exchange is local to St. Louis–it’s an in-person kind of dealio, so unless you’re local to there, you should totally start your own Upcycle wherever you are!

    I really haven’t found it difficult to score the odd book of vintage wallpaper samples, and most of my finds have been free. My advice is that if you want something, send it out into the world–freecycle, Craig’s list, wanted ads in the paper…

  4. wallpaper windows 7 seven fond d’ecran : toute une variétée de wallpaper fond d’ecran, les couleurs de windows seven et la beautée et la diversité des couleurs. plusieurs designers et de très belles prises de à découvrir et à voire sans regretter

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