Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tutorial: Fabric Wall Decal


I've discovered an easy and effective way to create your own wall decals. This enables you to be able to choose the fabric and design it yourself, while saving you bundles of money. My method also will not damage walls so is prefect for renters and those of us who struggle with committing with long-term wall treatments.

When I first decided to take on this challenge, I tried using liquid starch since I've read that was a solution. It was a disaster! It was a messy process and it simply did not work at all for larger decals (the fabric was too heavy) and even when it did work for the smaller decals, I found my toddler could easily peel it off. I was frustrated and knew I needed a better system. After months of brainstorming and many failed experiments, I finally found a great solution that I would love to share with you. I recently created bird to keep my giraffe company and photographed every step.

1. Create a pattern. For small patterns, like the bird below, this is easy but for larger decals, like my giraffe, this is the most time-consuming step for me. It's hard to free-hand a giraffe that is almost as tall as myself! Cut out the pattern when you are satisfied with your design.


2. Set the pattern aside. Now, place ironed fabric down so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing you. Now, we apply the adhesive (the real secret for making this work).

For the adhesive, you will want double stick fusible web, that is often used in appliques. This product is sticky on both sides (for temporary adhesive) and bonds semi-permanently with an iron. I used Steam-A-Seam2 and it works like a gem! It is cheap and comes with several 9X12 sheets. The sheets work great for smaller appliques, like the bird, but you need a much larger size for large projects, like my giraffe. Fortunately, Steam-A-Seam2 comes in large rolls (up to 24X36) for about $8.00 a yard. This large size can be hard to find but you can purchase it HERE, at www.softexpressions.com.



The fusible webbing has protective wax like paper on both sides. Remove one of the layers of paper and carefully place it sticky side down onto the wrong side of the fabric.


4. Use your pattern now to trace the pattern onto the paper that is remaining on the webbing (you can always skip the first two steps and just create the pattern here but I like having a separate pattern so I can use it again).

5. Cut out the pattern.



6. You will now have three layers (fabric, clear webbing, protective paper). Remove the paper.



7. You can and stick it to the desired wall-location,using your hands to smooth out any bumps. You can lift it off and on the wall to try different locations since it will stick, but not bond to the wall, until we iron it. Once you are happy with the location, use a hot iron and press it against the decal, while on the wall. This creates a strong hold that even deter the naughtiest of toddlers.






(Yes, that is our front door next to the giraffe. We live in a NYC one-bedroom so Scarlett sleeps in the entry way. Maybe one day she'll get a real room)

*You can remove this at anytime by lifting an edge and easily peeling it off. The best part is that it does not damage the walls. I had my giraffe on for over a year and just pealed it back and the wall looks untouched. We have typical white painted walls. I'm not sure how it will react on other surfaces. Always test first!


(Here is the wall, after I peeled back the decal one year later)

**Once the decal is ironed on, it cannot be removed and stuck somewhere else. New adhesive would need to be applied.

101 comments:

  1. yay, how fun Mel! Thanks for posting!

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  2. That is way fun! I love the giraffe. Thanks so much for sharing this, I'll be linking.

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  3. Genius. Thanks for sharing this. I have such a hard time commiting, and commiting to decals I don't love. This opens a lot of doors for me. YAY!

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  4. Awesome! My husband is going to think I've gone insane but I'm going to be ironing all over our walls, thanks.

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  5. WOW. That is incredible! Thanks so much for the great tip, I'm sure I'll be using this & when I do I'll take pics & link back to you on my blog.

    GREAT GREAT IDEA!

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  6. What a great idea! I'm going to have to play with this. I'll be on the lookout for the fusible webbing! Thanks for the tutorial.

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  7. Wow -- how cool is that? I can't wait to try it!

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  8. Fantastic idea, and quite the eye-candy too! Thanks for sharing this. Shared it on LRB's blog!

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  9. Unreal. What a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing your genius. Can't wait to try this!

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  10. What a wonderful idea! I have been wanting to put up some decals, but they are so expensive. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

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  11. luv it. here's a chance to use the fabric i didn't dare cut into. now it can be displayed.

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  12. Great idea! I have a whole roll of this stuff and I have been wanting to do fabric cut in circles to decorate my bathroom walls. I really didn't want to try the starch because it just sounded messy. I glad I saw this post!

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  13. What a great idea! I never thought of ironing on my walls!

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  14. Oh my gosh! I love this! This opens up so many possibilities that regular decals dont have! I linked you on my blog! =]

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  15. wow, how clever to use this tactic! I so admire the decals that are sold but are SO expensive! This is a great alternative! DId you do the giraffe and bird freehand? and do you think a light weight heat n' bond would work or do you need a more thick version?

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  16. Yeah, I did the giraffe and bird freehand and that took the longest by far!

    I think a light weight head n' bond would word well. Isn't that basically that same thing as webbed interfacing?

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  17. This is awesome! Do you think you could use create a fabric collage using different fabrics?

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  18. Astrid -

    A fabric collage, or layering the fabric would be so easy with this technique! Since the webbing sticks you could even assemble it before putting in on the wall. Send me a photo if you do it!

    Melanie

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  19. You might be the smartest person ever. This is such an amazing idea. The possibilities are endless. thanks for the tip. I will be trying it. I will do a post with a link to your blog later this week if that is okay with you.
    Kalleen

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  20. What a brilliant idea, thank you so much for sharing your creativity! I'll have to try this.

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  21. Love this idea! thanks for sharing it! I'm going to have to give it a try :) I added this to our “link luv roundup” today!
    http://www.luvinthemommyhood.com/2010/02/link-luv-roundup_24.html

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  22. How great! I will be adding this to my blog at www.ellzabelle.com. I can't wait to try this out for my kids! AMAZING. Ellen

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  23. Just today I was thinking of doing something like this with the starch, but wondering if it would work... you've convinced me to try this instead. Thanks for the tute!
    -mab

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  24. This is awesome! I am already sitting here thinking of what I can do!!! Thanks for the step by step!

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  25. Love that idea! I too, have always heard about the wonders of liquid starch, but hadn't tried it yet. Thankfully, now I won't have to!!

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  26. Wow, this was a great idea! We're going to redecorate my 5-year olds bedrom in a couple of months, so maybe we'll try this!

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  27. Amazing! That is a brilliant idea!! :)

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  28. You are a genius, my friend! Someone e-mailed me this fantastic post, and I am so glad. I am featuring you tonight...hope that's ok!

    ~Amanda

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  29. Thanks for offering an alternative to the starch method. Truthfully, it always made me nervous. This is much simpler! I am very excited to try this.
    Nicole

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  30. Thanks for offering an alternative to the starch method. Truthfully, it always made me nervous. This is much simpler! I am very excited to try this.
    Nicole

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  31. I've seen these ridiculously priced decals on the web and NEVER THOUGHT I could do my own!! Thank you. These are fabulous!!!

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  32. You have no idea how excited I am to have found this!! (linked through Imperfectly Beautiful) I've been working on a fabric applique for my sons room but was baffled on how to adhere it to the wall! We are renting a home in Germany so anything permanent wasn't an option. I happen to have loads of Steam-a-Steam for all my applique work too!! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!

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  33. That is an absolutely brilliant idea, thank you so much for sharing.

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  34. What an incredible idea! I use fusible web all the time, but would've never thought to have put it on the wall! Genius!

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  35. Wow, that is such a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing your tutorial!

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  36. You are amazingly talented and creative! I've been using that bond for applique for quite some time, but I never would have thought to use it to adhere fabric to the wall! I'm full of ideas...can't wait to get to work on my kids' rooms!

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  37. I'm so excited. I was already planning on doing a fabric wall mural, and even have the cut-outs already prepared. I was thinking Elmer's glue...but I love this option so much more!!!

    Thank you for the AWESOME idea!

    What fabric did you use for those? I LOVE it!!

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  38. Thanks Mandy!

    I used Pineapple Brocade, in green, by Heather Bailey (http://www.heatherbaileystore.com/product-p/ab-pg37-hb08green.htm)

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  39. genius! I tried the liquid starch and just ended up with a big mess, so glad I tried it on a scrap of wall paper and not the wall, I will be trying this next, thanks.

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  40. This is absolutely adorable!!!! Thanks for the directions.

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  41. found you via ohdeedoh - was just trying to work up the courage to try the starch method in baby#2's nursery, and I think you just saved me a huge headache! Thanks for a great post.

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  42. I did basically the same thing but used contact paper, even eaier! but less options for patterns i guess. great job!
    check it out here: http://meredithtuttle.blogspot.com/search/label/contact%20paper

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  43. Yes, yes, yes! I had tried the liquid starch method and it just didn't work for me. Your idea is brilliant and I love the fabric you chose.

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  44. I am so glad that I learned this technique. I am posting it to my blog, and linking back to you.
    Tanks,
    Shauna

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  45. Great project! I love your ingenuity!

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  46. this is so smart and soooooooo cute! can't wait to start on the project.

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  47. Hi!

    Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

    I'd appreciate your letting me know if that's OK.

    Thanks,

    Nancy Ward
    http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com

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  48. Thank you for this great tutorial! I am moving to an apartment in 2 weeks and have been worried about all white walls! Although no children to decorate for I still want to add some color for me!! Thanks again.

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  49. Finally a good reason to use my iron!!! I don't have little ones anymore but this would look great when my entrance way reno is complete, thanks! Found this through creative jewish mom's site.

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  50. That is gorgeous! I just ordered some wall decals for my son's room...maybe I could take them back since yours idea is far more fabulous.

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  51. this was linked on http://www.creativejewishmom.com/

    I'm so glad you shared! awesome awesome awesome. I can't wait to redo my kids' rooms!

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  52. Very nice! Something that even this Nana can do!

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  53. this is awesome! we rent our apartment and I can't wait to do this!

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  54. This looks so great! I've been wanting to find some double sided interfacing stuff for another project and will have to try this too! How fun!

    I followed a link to this from "creativejewishmom.typepad"

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  55. It's a great idea, i'd be worried with renting though - I use fusible webs all the time with quilting and textile art and almost all of the ones i've tried are permanent after ironing - meaning you can put them through the washer and they are still very stuck and you can't peel the fabrics apart after that without leaving bits of the glue stuck on the backing piece. Is it only different on gloss paint (as it's not porous?) or is it the steam a seam 2 itself that makes the bond not permanent?

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  56. Neroli -

    I used it it on my walls for over a year and there was not any damage at all. My walls are just plain white but do have glass paint. I'd just test a little (hidden) section first to be safe.

    Hope this helps!

    Melanie

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  57. You think this would work on craft paper decals? I just made this tree mural (http://bit.ly/b2CMsz) for my niece's nursery and used a fast-dry scrapbook glue. I don't think it's going to be pretty when it's time to take down (tho my sis-in-law doesn't mind).
    Also found you through CJM. High five for solving this mystery!

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  58. Thank you so so much for sharing this idea - and testing it until it worked! I am so excited to add some birds and duckies to my daughter's nursery walls.

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  59. BRILLIANT!! Am getting ready to finich my daughter's room- fabric clouds and sky-objects, here we come! SUPER GREAT!!!! (and I can use a "boring" white patterned fabric since it's going on a brightly colored wall.

    YOU ROCK!!! Thanks for the awesome idea!

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  60. I'm so glad there is a FABULOUS alternative to the vinyl decals. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  61. Brilliant! Another use for Steam-A-Seam 2. Thanks for testing and sharing this technique

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  62. how fabulous!! thank you so much for this tute
    i need to come up with a great idea to use as an image for my wall!
    you can get the big rolls of steam a seam at walmart for pretty cheap

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  63. Wonderful idea! Can't wait to try it!! Thank you.

    But what if you don't iron it onto the wall? Will it hold indefinitely so long as little people aren't ripping it down? I'd like to make some but not have to re-make them when I move, yk?

    Thanks!

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  64. You really need to iron it on for it to stick. the adhesive is not very strong otherwise and it will start to bow and peel on its own.

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  65. This is linked on my blog http://aworldofcrafts.blogspot.com/
    Very good! Thank you!

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  66. I'm paying homage to your brilliance by repostng this idea to my blog @ http://asewfullife.blogspot.com/
    But first I'm going to blog about me tryng your idea in my home. I just want to make sure you get all the credit for sharing something so simple and fantastic!

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  67. I found this when searching for info on fabric wall decals & included it in my post on my blog ModachromeHome - I'm very excited to try it! :) Thanks for posting it!

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  68. Now this is a brilliant idea! But the most amazing part about your post was that your daughter's room is the entryway. Wow, I guess you get what you get when you live in NY. You evidently have made the most of it :)

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  69. Your giraffe and bird is so clever. Thanks for the information for larger pieces. I didn't know you could iron things on the wall. This is getting my mind thinking of what I want over my bed. We're in Southern California and can't have heavy pictures and things over our heads. At least I don't want to risk it.


    Thanks for sharing.

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  70. Thank you sooo much! I did this tonight and blogged about it here:

    http://lindsaywilmore.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-fabric-wall-decal.html

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  71. Great idea! Thanks so much. I can't wait to try to cut some out with my Cricut.

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  72. Thank you! I was getting nowhere with iron+starch method - this tutorial was a huge sanity saver!

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  73. So very, very cool! Happy to have found your blog!

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  74. Found this while searching for a way to decorate the playroom. I'm glad too- the wall decals I've found for sale are waaaay out of my budget. Thank you for sharing this! This will look great without breaking the bank.

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  75. I'm so excited to find your instructions! I'd never thought of making my own decals until I came across your giraffe on Pinterest. Will be dreaming up some decals in the coming weeks...

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  76. very good idea to decor the wall according to our mood... I would like to appreciate your on this good sharing..


    Scavenger Hunt Idea

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  77. awesome! I am just waiting for my stencil to arrive before trying this in the nursery. Do you think this will work on textured walls? Also how hot did you have the iron?
    Emily

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  78. I think it would be ok on textured walls but I'd be sure to test first!

    I had the iron pretty hot... near the cotton setting I believe

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  79. I am SOOOO EXCITED to have found your tutorial!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

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  80. Questions:
    - Can I use any old cotton fabric? Can I use a thicker fabric, like flannel?

    - Did you zigzag stitch the edges of the fabric first? Is there anything I need to do like that before ironing it on the wall?

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  81. I think flannel would work just fine-- just test it.

    And nothing is required for the edges. The steam-a-seam prevents it from fraying.

    Just iron on and you are set!

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  82. Do you think this technique would work to make a faux fabric headboard for a queen-size bed (so 60 inch wide) ? Would fabric be too heavy for the adhesive at that size? BTW, excellent idea. Thank you for sharing!

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  83. I loved this idea and wanted to make a cherry blossom tree.

    What do you think??

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Zevs90vSZ8g/TqlZLtSdwsI/AAAAAAAAAaw/59uLd8yj0Ww/s576/WallDecal.JPG

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  84. Ichavez - Using fabric for a faux headboard would be easy! As long as all the fabric is backed with that double stick adhesive it should work great. Just have someone help you when putting it from the ground to the wall so it does not fold on itself.

    Alyssa - I love the idea of the cherry blossom tree. The flowers should stick on it just fine.

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  85. So pretty!
    I am 35 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow. And My husband painted a BEAUTIFUL wall art in our baby room! Come check it out !

    http://sailingwithbarefeet.blogspot.com/2011/12/daddys-christmas-present-for-kyra-lee.html

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  86. Thanks for this tip! As a fellow renter, I always wondered if there was a way for me to have a wall decal, and now I know there is.

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  87. THIS IS A GREAT IDEA. I HAVE SO MUCH FABRIC AND THIS SEEMS LIKE THE PERFECT USE. VERY CLEVER

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  88. FANTASTIC....this looks really good, I have tried the starch method too and cannot imagine how other people get it to work, it just doesn't and this looks better than modge podging fabric to contact....Can't wait to give it a go. I love your giraffe and bird and their fabrics...will be checking by to see what other creative stuff you are up to from now on. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  89. You are a LIFE SAVER THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am currently (or was) about to paint a giraffe and some other jungle animals on my sons wall and I cannot draw for toffee!

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  90. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  91. Hi there, I really love this post, I've linked to this post on my blog, hope that is okay :) check it out here if you want http://homebecomesher.blogspot.co.nz/

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  92. very informative article and I love the design’s, bookmarking your website as we speak lol xx
    Love it xx

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  93. I have been searching forever for a method to decorate my stair risers that would not be permanent so I could change as I redecorate. This looks like a perfect solution!! Thanks!!

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Question or comment? I'd love to hear it!