Can You Paint Over Dollhouse Wallpaper? (And Do You Need To?)

Painting over dollhouse wallpaper is definitely possible, but depending on the color and condition of the wallpaper, you might need to keep some tips in mind.

On top of that, if the house is in one piece and you’re remodeling it without taking it apart, you’re going to have to be careful not to get any paint on the other parts of the house, but that’s not a huge deal.

I’ll assume that you’re leaving the house in one piece because that’s how I’m doing mine. But if you’re taking yours apart, you can easily paint the walls without worrying about taping off anything to protect it from drips and stray brush strokes.

how to paint over dollhouse wallpaper

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Removing the wallpaper from the dollhouse
Can you remove the wallpaper?

How to prepare the walls for painting.

Before starting, you should check to see if the wallpaper is securely attached to the walls of the dollhouse. If it peels off easily, there’s no reason to paint over it.

Just peel it off, make sure that the walls are clean, and you can paint the walls directly.

If the wallpaper is really stuck and you end up having to tear it to get it off, you’ll have to get the wall as smooth as possible before painting it. Or you can just leave it intact and follow the cleaning instructions below.

Another detail you should check is whether the dollhouse has electrical wiring in it. Mine has some really old copper wiring attached to the walls and the floors, but it was under the wallpaper and flooring.

If you want to wire the house for lighting, you should do that before the paint gets done or you might have to redo your work later.

Think about the order that you’ll need to do things before jumping right into the decor of your house because there’s definitely a best way to do things when it comes to when to do what decorating task!

dollhouse after taking the wallpaper and flooring out

My dollhouse had some wallpaper that came right off, but some is so glued on there’s no way I’ll be able to get it off unless I want to do a lot of scraping, which I don’t.

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To get the walls ready, you should take these steps:

Dirty water after cleaning a dollhouse wall
Dirty water after cleaning the walls.

Start by cleaning the wallpaper surface to remove any dust or dirt. you want it to be clean and dry when you paint it so that you’re not painting over dust and specks of paper. If you use a wet rag you might dissolve some of the paper, so if that happens, you’ll need to sand the walls to smooth them out.

If the wallpaper is shiny or uneven, you may need to lightly sand the surface to get rid of the shine and even out the edges. Use fine-grit sandpaper, and be careful not to do more damage to the walls than you’re removing! If you’re too vigorous with the sanding you can create divots in the paper that will be really obvious when you paint over them.

Make sure to clean the walls after sanding if you do have to sand them.

Once the wallpaper is smooth, clean, and dry, apply a coat of primer to the surface. This will help the paint stick to the walls better and provide a more even finish. It can also help to cover up some of the color and pattern of the wallpaper.

Tape off any areas that you don’t want to paint. Just like painting a real wall, you should use painter’s tape to protect the floor and ceiling so that your paintbrush won’t spread paint onto parts of the house that you don’t want to paint.

How to paint the dollhouse walls.

I would recommend using water-based paint for this because it’s a lot easier to clean up.

You can use paint that you get at the craft store or paint that you get at the hardware store, it’s not a big deal either way.

Real housepaint might be a good choice if you have to cover up a very distinct pattern because they make paint that has primer and paint all-in-one now, and it can save you some time. But the paint that you get at the craft store will work fine too.

Just make sure that you’re not buying something that’s a really basic craft paint in a little plastic flip-top container, because the quality of those can be pretty questionable.

Matte finish paint will dry quickly and can give you a chalky surface, so if you don’t want that you might have to test out a few types of paint to find one that looks the way you like when it dries.

To paint the walls, use a paintbrush that has about a 1″ brush width so that you can get into small places like corners, but you’ll also be able to cover the walls without a lot of brush marks.

If you’ve taken the dollhouse apart, you can use a small paint roller and paint the walls while they’re flat to get the most even coverage you can.

If your house is still in one piece, work in small sections, starting at the top of the wall and working your way down. This will help you avoid drips and ensure that you get a consistent finish. Make sure that you tape the edges of the ceiling and floor to mask them off.

If you are using a paint color that is significantly different from the original wallpaper color, you may need to apply multiple coats of paint to get good coverage. You might want to consider using a primer, like I mentioned above, because that can help to mask the original wallpaper pattern.

Let each coat of paint dry before adding the next coat. That will give you the best coverage and is the best way to make sure that the paint sticks to itself well.

If you notice any imperfections or unevenness in the paint after it has dried, you can touch up these areas with a small paintbrush or roller.

Once everything is completely dried, you can remove any painter’s tape you were using, but wait until the paint is totally dry before taking anything off!

In general, the key to painting over dollhouse wallpaper is to prepare the walls first, take your time, and be careful to apply thin, even coats of paint. With a little patience and attention to detail, you should be able to achieve a beautiful, professional-looking finish.

To see more dollhouse wallpaper that I’ve designed, check out my Etsy shop here: Clay Paper ScissorsOpens in a new tab. 

For more free dollhouse wallpaper printables, click to go to the templates and printables section on this blog.

Kara Buntin

Kara is a former wedding cake decorator who has won numerous awards for her cake designs and gingerbread houses. She currently owns a cake decorating supply business at

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