The kitchen in my childhood home has sported the same awful wallpaper for more than 30 years: ducklings in togas carrying sprigs of ivy in-mouth and on the way, I’d always imagined, to some raucous pool party. (Don’t even get me started on the pineapple-theme guest room.) What seemed stylish in the early 1980s, bless my mom’s heart, has turned into a perpetual reminder that wallpaper is a sticky situation. It’s time-consuming to remove, leaves behind a messy residue and becomes outdated before you know it. While paint seems like a valid alternative, we’ve got an even quicker and less-permanent way to combat blank white walls: Our homespun projects all took less than one hour to do, cost less than $50 each and can be removed with ease.

Diamond in the Rough

This larger-than-life adaptation of a ribbon board is an adult-approved version of the dorm-room staple. We peppered ours with personal effects and prints from Art Deco (1508 King St., Alexandria; 703-548-4361) though, much like during undergrad, feel free to experiment.

How To:
1. Starting in the upper left-hand corner of a wall, tack the end of a spool of ribbon with a pushpin.
2. Pull the ribbon tight and tack it on a slight diagonal to the bottom of the wall. Snip it with the scissors.
3. Tack the ribbon parallel to the first. The narrower the distance, the more diamonds you’ll get. (We spaced ours about 1 foot.)
4. Stretch the ribbon to the bottom of the wall and tack it in place, making sure to keep it equidistant from its parallel pin.
5. Repeat until entire wall is covered, and then do the same starting from the upper right corner.

Couldn’t Have Thread It Better

Don’t be intimidated by this elaborate-looking (yet fool-proof) project: If you can tie your shoelaces, you’re already overqualified. All it requires are a few knots and the following materials:

How To:
1. Using a ruler and pencil, draw your letters directly onto the wall. For time-saving purposes, you can do a Google image search for “alphabet stencils” and print and trim letters on heavy-stock paper to use as a guide.
2. Hammer the nails into the outline of each letter.
3. Tie yarn to one of the nails and begin winding it around each nail in a random manner until the entire letter is filled in.
4. Knot off yarn and trim any excess.

Raster of Your Domain

Rasterbation (we’ll pause for chuckles) is a term used to describe a type of tiled printing. By magnifying an image and arranging it in a grid, you get mosaic-like results with a modern bent.

How To:
1. Find an image you love. It can be in gray-scale or color, and the larger the file the better. (We scored ours on Download the proper software. We recommend the Rasterbator for PCs ( or PosteRazor for Macs (
3. Follow the directions to upload your image. Adjust the number of pages you’d like your final product to have.
4. Print the pages.
5. Trim any excess white space and tape them to your wall, using a level to ensure a straight line.

Bound for Crateness

When built-in shelving isn’t an option, repurposing box-like receptacles is a thrifty alternative. Blogger Stacey Remiker of nailed a cluster of vintage soda crates and wire racks into the wall and filled them with antique china, tea tins and mason jars. The result? Ample display space that’s DIY approved.

How To:
1. Arrange your crates and racks on the floor to get a sense of exactly how you want them to be displayed.
2. Hammer your nails in the coordinating areas of your wall.
3. Hang the slats of your crates and racks on the nails.