Thursday, October 6, 2011

Create Unique Containers with Paintable Wallpaper

Paintable wallpaper is an easy way to turn plain boxes or canisters into unique storage containers.  It’s also great for resurrecting old containers, especially ones that are too scratched or gouged to be painted.  For this project, I used a tin ceiling style paper to cover a set of four wood canisters purchased at a thrift store for $3.  Sorry, no "before" pictures of the canisters, but just imagine plain brown, scratched, and ugly.

Step one of the transformation is to cover your container with wallpaper.  Wrap the wallpaper around the container like a tube to determine the length of wallpaper you need; cut to size.  Don’t worry about cutting the top and bottom yet.

Apply glue to the back of the wallpaper and wrap it around your container.  Press to secure.  To trim the top and bottom, use a utility knife or razor blade.  Make sure the blade is sharp; a dull blade will tear the wallpaper raggedly.  By keeping the blade perpendicular to the container, you can cut the wallpaper perfectly level with the top and bottom of the container.

After the glue dries, you can paint the wallpaper using a brush or roller.  For this canister project, I used Behr latex paint in a grey called Pewter Mug.

To accentuate the texture of the wallpaper, use a different color over the base.  It’s important to brush on the top color carefully so that it’s applied to only the raised parts of the wallpaper.  Load your brush lightly with paint, then brush the excess onto newspapers or paper towels until the brush is almost dry.  Holding the brush almost flat to the wallpaper as shown below, brush the top color on lightly.  Brush in all directions, a little at a time until you get the desired look.  You might want to practice first on a scrap of wallpaper to get the technique down. 

The photo below shows examples of different paint combinations: grey over black (top left), lavender over black (bottom left) and black over grey (top and bottom right).  I used black over grey for the canisters.

For the lids, I painted a black base coat and then glued on a cut-out of wallpaper.  I used small black drawer pulls for the handles.


  1. I want to do this project so bad I can't stand it!! *dies* You are my DIY project hero. :) These are gorgeous!

  2. Thanks so much! I'm sure you have something lying around the house that would look lovely covered in wallpaper. ;)

  3. This reminds me of the lament configuration in Hellraiser. In a good way!