Wallpaper Update and Create

So if you have followed my blog at all you know we recently bought a new house and moved in last fall.  This house was absolutely turn key.  It needed nothing which is a big deal in our rainy little town where nature likes to take over.  Anyway, Scott was skeptical, and maybe thought I was inventing work for ourselves, but I just HAD to update the powder room.  It was a derelict 80’s nautical theme – little lighthouses and whales so it was not my fault! That included removing and replacing old wallpaper and changing out the color scheme of the fixtures.  The gold tone fixtures that are uniform in every room of the house.  “Uh Honey, this could be a slippery slope…”

After an hour or two of Youtube “remove old wallpaper” videos I convinced him.  “It will be easy!”  He begrudingly agreed although he saw nothing wrong with the way it looked before….

I am absolutely NOT A DIY blogger or a lifestyle blogger or a How-To blogger, so forgive me if this is too verbose, but….. I just feel like I need to pass along some tips and trick we learned through the removal process!

Tools Needed:

The Scorer.  OMG I cannot tell you how important this fascinating little bad boy is!  And then score the HELL out of the wall.  This is your first task.  Yes.  Your arm will be tired.

Solution: We bought a spray bottle gel solution from our hardware store and combined it with a vinegar water solution.

Heavy duty baby wipes.  We used these.  We discovered this about a 1/3 of the way through the project and they made the job So.  Much.  Easier!  We were getting very frustrated and I watched *one more* Youtube video.  We call this the “This Old House” method.

Scraper:  I would buy the one specifically for wallpaper removal, but a putty knife would work.  In fact, the putty knife was perfect for those damn edges.

We had ALL the scrapers.  The Green handled one is the best.

Exacto Knife:  Again. Those damn edges.

Sponges.  Big old car washing sponges and one with a scrubber side.

Big Old Bucket: Yes, I used the same one I brined the turkey in at Thanksgiving.  Time for a new brining bucket.

Step one: Score the wallpaper.  A.  Lot.

Step two: Spray down a *small* section of the wall- from ceiling to base – one strip -with the gel solution.  Did I say that the more you score the wall the better?

Step three: Cover the gel solution with the baby wipes (or paper-towels) that have been soaking in warm as you can stand it water.

Step four: Finish up by spraying the baby wipes with the vinegar solution.

Step five: Continue misting the wallpaper with the vinegar solution at a minimum of every five minutes – more if you can stand the smell.  The key is keep the towels WET.

Step Six: Keep this misting, drinking coffee process up for 20 minutes.

Step Seven:  In theory, according to all the *experts* you should be able to simply peel the paper off.  Starting at the top and pulling down.

Now our paper was more complicated.

Problem One: It had been on the wall since the 80’s and was adhered directly to the drywall.  (Grrrrr….).  We peeled and the vinyl wallpaper came down but a layer of glue stayed.  So we repeated the process – without scoring.  Once the actual wallpaper was gone the glue came off fairly easily, and that wallpaper scraper we bought worked beautifully.  We finished up with the big car sponge, wetting the wall and scrubbing off bits of glue with the scrubber sponge.

Problem Two: It had a border.  So in that area there were double layers of wallpaper which meant repeating the process three times.

Problem Three: The wallpaper was the first thing that went up in the bathroom apparently, and all the trim was put up over it.  Of course we had prepped the room by removing all the fixtures and anything that could come off the wall did – curtain rods, lights, etc.  But were NOT going to remove the trim so we had to work at it with the exacto knife.

So in the end, what I hoped would be a one weekend project, was a two week project, but I am so happy – and will let you know how the final project turns out. I debated spackling and then simply painting, I NEVER want to remove wallpaper again, but I got the prettiest new wallpaper so I am off to watch some “How to hang wallpaper” videos.

(Prompt words: Uniform, derelict, fault, facinate)


8 thoughts on “Wallpaper Update and Create

  1. You have officially put me off wallpaper for life. Here in South Africa most houses have painted walls and although sometimes a pain to get smooth, I think your ordeal was much worse. But I do love to redecorate. Off to the Homemakers show this weekend to get new ideas for the house we moved into last month.

    Looking forward to follow up photos once you’re done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Yes, wallpaper is pretty bad! We are finding the “get the wall smooth” process difficult. So much filling holes, sanding, smoothing…. Taking a bit of a break from it! Thanks for reading… and South Africa.. WOW

      Liked by 1 person

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