How to Paint Fabric Walls

by Helen Harvey
Fabric wallpapers can be painted over, if removing it seems labor intensive.

Fabric wallpapers can be painted over, if removing it seems labor intensive.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Removing fabric wallpaper takes time and hard work. During the process, you may uncover problems, such as walls that required filling and replastering. If you do not have the time or will to undertake removing your fabric wallpaper, which was probably applied with a very heavy duty adhesive product, a quick fix is to paint over it. This will freshen up the room, until you can face wallpaper stripping.

Items you will need

  • Soft bristle brush
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Paintbrush
  • Roller
  • Roller tray inserts
  • Acrylic primer
  • Interior flat paint
Step 1

Brush down the fabric with a soft bristle brush to remove dust and other particles.

Step 2

Vacuum over the wall with a nozzle attachment to remove as much of the dust and particles as possible.

Step 3

Test a small hidden area of the wall with water to see how the fabric wallpaper reacts. Allow to dry completely. If no air bubbles have appeared under the wallpaper and it is holding up well, it is safe to proceed. If the wallpaper lifts or bubbles, it is not suitable for painting over and will have to be removed.

Step 4

Apply a coat of acrylic primer over the fabric wallpaper with a roller. Allow it to dry thoroughly.

Step 5

Apply your flat paint color over your primer. Deeper colors may require more than one coat. Roll the paint on and use a brush to dab into areas that the roller may miss, if the fabric is textured.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow the primer to dry thoroughly. Don't be in such a hurry that you start to apply paint on top of the damp primer. This may make the fabric heavy and cause it to lift away from the wall.



  • Paint Ideas and Projects; Old House Magazine Staff; 2011

About the Author

Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images