Get the look of wallpaper without the investment using decorative stamping.

How to Create a Wallpaper Look With Decorative Stamping

by Amanda Bell

Wallpaper adds drama to a room, yet if you ever get bored of the pattern, removing or covering it is no easy task. With decorative stamping, you can create the same effect with less effort, both during the project and later when you decide to redecorate. To create a look that closely resembles wallpaper, use acrylic paint rather than standard wall paint: It is thicker and available in a wide array of finishes and colors, many of which mimic the look of wallpaper patterns.

Move furniture away from the wall and remove any light switch or outlet covers with a screwdriver. Tape off the perimeter of the wall with painter’s tape and lay down a drop cloth to cover the floor.

Apply one coat of primer to the entire wall and let this dry. Apply two or three coats of paint in a color of your choice. Wait for each coat to dry before applying the next for the best results, and let the last coat dry for about 24 hours before proceeding.

Cut painter’s tape into small strips and arrange these along the wall as a guideline for the top of the wall stamp. Create rows by snapping a chalk line vertically or horizontally on the wall and spacing the tape evenly along the lines. Wipe away the chalk line once finished.

Fashion a more random, yet still even, effect by cutting a piece of string to the distance you want to space the stamps. Tie the string to a pencil, hold the end of the string against the wall, pull it taut, then mark the wall with the pencil. Hold the string against the first pencil mark and repeat this process until the entire wall is covered.

Fill a small paint tray with acrylic craft paint in a color of your choice. Create a monochrome effect by using a lighter or darker version of the base color on the wall, a crisp look with black or white, or choose a color that coordinates with the wall color.

Roll a foam mini roller in the paint and use this to apply the paint to the stamp. Hold the stamp just under the piece of tape or centered over the pencil mark, and, using a rolling motion, press the stamp firmly into the wall. Reload the stamp and repeat this process until the entire wall is covered.

Dip a thin craft brush into the acrylic paint and touch up any uneven portions in the decorative stamping carefully. Let the paint dry completely.

Remove the tape and carefully wipe away any pencil marks. Reinstall outlet covers and light switches, and put furniture back in place.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Painting trays
  • Roller brush
  • Paintbrush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Scissors
  • Self-leveling chalk line
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Foam mini roller
  • Craft brush


  • Always work in a well-ventilated area.
  • If you opt to freehand the placement of the stamps, stand back often to view the entire wall as you work. This prevents too many clusters of stamps, and gives you a good idea as to which sections need more attention.
  • If you’re happy with your current paint color, apply a fresh coat of the current color rather than priming and painting the walls with a new one. It’s always best to do decorative stamping over a fresh coat of paint, as new paint on top of old paint can look dingy.
  • Practice with the stamp on a piece of cardboard before you start stamping the wall.

About the Author

Amanda Bell spent six years working as an interior designer and project coordinator before becoming a professional writer in 2010. She has published thousands of articles for various websites and clients, specializing in home renovation, DIY projects, gardening and travel. Bell studied English composition and literature at the University of Boston and the University of Maryland.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images