Removing Wallpaper

For anyone who just moved into a previously owned older house, they are probably faced with at least one room of wallpaper needing to be removed.  In the late 90's wallpaper was 'in' and recently it has been booted out the door. There are rumblings of wallpaper making a comeback - not the typical leaves & flowers, but more contemporary and dramatic styles - even putting it on ceilings!

In the right space, it can work, as above.

So if you are faced with unsightly walls - or ceilings - I'm sure you've heard the heavy sighs when you tell your friends and family that you will be removing it. Yes, it is a tedious job, but it's really not too bad and it can even be therapeutic! There is nothing more satisfying - and even rebellious! - than grabbing a corner a pulling!

Before you go buy all the chemical wallpaper removers that everyone has promoted, stop! You need not spend one penny on bottles of so-called special removers. Just use water. Yup, plain old water will work and you don't have the nasty chemical-based solutions requiring you to wear a mask or open windows. Better for you, better for the environment, greener.... organic.

water, 2-sided sponge, spatula and a rag.

Step One:  Find a seam and dampen it. Keep rubbing in water on the seam and high and low edges in a short space. I hold a rag under the sponge to catch drips. Wait for a minute or two  - I start wetting down another seam.

Step Two: After seam is sufficiently wet, slide spatula under an edge and lift top layer. I think it's easier to get the design part off first and then re-wet the glue layer. When pulling the top layer off be sure to pull at an angle to get bigger pieces!

You can see the dark yellow glue layer under the design layer.
The white is the wall. Nice paper, huh?

Step Three: As you pull off the design layer, keep wetting the edges and glue layer. And just keep repeating. I like to wet one area and while that's soaking in, I scrape off the previously wet paper.

Last: Use the rough side of the sponge to remove any tiny pieces of glue you couldn't scrape off. Wipe area with rag. Done!

I had one last spot in the photo above, but what a difference! The whole room will look much bigger and brighter. It's really not so bad. The cost and smell of the chemical solutions is much worse! I think of the money I've wasted on commercial removers. It's just not necessary.

Do you have any tips for removing wallpaper?
Happy Scraping!

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Emily said...

We had the most hideous wallpaper in our kitchen/dining when we moved in. Turns out, it wasn't wallpaper at all, it was contact paper. You know, shelf lining! Imagine how fun it was to remove that mess.

Emily from Nap Time Is My Time

Nan said...

Emily, you've got to be kidding! That's a new one! Was it easier or harder to remove than regular wallpaper?

Debbie said...

I have never liked wallpaper. Doesn't matter to me if it is in style or not, I just don't care for it. The kids and I stripped all the wallpaper off this house when they were young. And yes, we only used water. We had a blast!

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