DIY VINYL WALLPAPER, IT CAN BE DONE!
Mostly because we're so dang happy with the way it turned out. All our fellow DIY lovers know that sometimes the end result doesn't always match the original vision BUTTTTT in this case, we're pleased to report that it's even better and as Candis said, "a totally do-able job".
DIY vinyl wallpaper, let's get to it!
- High-resolution image of your choice
- Outdoor vinyl, professionally printed (more on in the next paragraph)
- A hard plastic scraper, credit card can work but we recommend something a little more sturdy
- Xacto knife, razor blade or box cutter
Step 1. MEASURE YOUR SPACE
You need to know the general height and length of the space you're working with so that you can order enough vinyl and have a little extra in case you trim it short or hang it a little wonky and need to re-evaluate. Not that we did that...*COUGH
Step 2. CHOOSE YOUR IMAGE
We chose a classic masters painting from the 1600's for this project and downloaded for FREE (in high resolution) from the Getty Museum through their Open Content program. You can find that download HERE.
There are so many other free downloads out there, available for private use from sources like The Met, TIME, and of course The Getty too. It's one of our favorite go-to's for all sorts of fun projects.
Step 3. CROP AND SIZE IMAGE
I opened the image in Photoshop and cropped it to overall size on the portion of the painting I loved most. Photoshop is great because it automatically tries to make the image look good large. Since you're taking it to a professional shop to print you can let the program decide the dpi. Your vinyl shop will likely adjust the dpi or
ppi for you to optimize the image, just instruct them to make it look as good as they can large.
We had the image repeat itself 3 times, so we had three different rolls of the same painting and the finished effect would flow together beautifully. No weird abrupt seams. The cropped image I sent to the printer looked like this:
Step 4. SEND TO PRINT!
Find a local sign printing shop that prints on outdoor vinyl, most cities have at least one or two. Put your friend Google to work and search out the nearest one to you. We used Signs By Tomorrow
in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Tell them you need a piece of outdoor vinyl printed and cut. We sized ours 24" tall for this "wallpaper" and printed our image in strips approximately 6 feet long 9 (???). We ended up using lighter weight outdoor vinyl that comes with an adhesive back.
Hot off the press!
Bruce, The Vinyl Guy, sent us home with these rolls of gorgeousness and we were ready to rock!
STEP 5. UNROLL VINYL AND MARK CENTER POINT
Unroll your vinyl and mark your center point which where you want it to hang on the wall. Take that center mark and align it with the center of the wall you're working on. Tape to wall or ceiling just to give yourself an anchor. Then slowly peel a section of the backing away and stick to the wall.
STEP 6. PEEL AWAY BACKING AND ADHERE TO WALL
Peel the adhesive backing away and use your scraper to smooth over the top to prevent wrinkles or air bubbles as you peel and adhere to the wall. Work from the middle out, finishing one side and then go back and do the other. Just keep peeling and smoothing with your scraper. If you do get some bubbles or wrinkles, don't stress! You just use an Exacto knife to make a small slit to let the air out and then smooth it out. Nobody is worse for the wear. Depending on what print you choose, wrinkles can just add character!
Take care to make sure your vinyl stays level as you're unpeeling the backing and sticking to the wall. Sometimes as you go it will start to head uphill at an angle, you can't pull it back and re-stick so pay attention as you go along to keep it as straight as you can. It's definitely a two person job!
Smooth up and use your scraper to really press the vinyl into the corners.
STEP 7. TRIM EXCESS VINYL
Once your piece has applied the length of the wall you need to trim it. Carefully use an Exacto knife or box cutter and trim off your excess vinyl. If you want to get a straight edge you can use a ruler or meter stick to help guide you. In old houses, the walls and ceilings are rarely level so Candis just eyeballed it and trimmed by hand. Thanks to the picture rail she didn't have to be super careful on the bottom!
STEP 8. PEEL OFF FRONT PROTECTIVE BACKING
Again, start from the middle and work one specific direction. Use your scraper to smooth the vinyl as you go as it can lift a little as you peel. If you fall a little short when you get to a corner, you can just make up the difference and overlap the piece you have for the next wall.
Be sure to step back and admire your work as you go, doesn't it look AMAZING??? We love how the texture and minor imperfections of our walls show up in the image, making it look like a custom oil painting. So great!
Voîla! High five your helper and you did it!
Totally custom vinyl wallpaper at your service.