The fabric is lightly starched before removing the paper (above) - but it helped to stabilize the edges and I believe the starch helped soften the paper. I've given up on ever maintaining a nice cover for the board, and now use a towel.
OK, how long to remove paper? less than expected -- less than 2 hours, -- very easy. The mess? uhhh! LOL
Bonnie has in store for us next. Hope she doesn't want blue strings!