In my dollhouse renovation, I’ve done some wallpaper removal, but so far I haven’t totally removed the paper from every wall.
For some of them, the wallpaper came off by peeling it, and for others, it wasn’t stuck on at all, other than at the top and the bottom.
There are a couple of rooms where I would need to totally remove the paper if I want to attach new paper directly to the walls, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.
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For this room, I wanted to remove the paper and the copper strips for the wiring because I want to add more paper directly to the walls.
I started out thinking that I would remove one wall and sand down the others, but the paper came off so easily, I went ahead and did all of the walls.
Materials You Will Need:
- A utility knife (might be optional)
- A plastic or metal scraper
- A small bucket or bowl with water
- A clean cloth or sponge
Step 1: Take out anything you can remove from the room you’re working on, including flooring, window trim, and molding. If you can’t remove the trim around doors or windows you can use the utility knife to score the paper around the openings so that you can remove the paper that’s visible.
Step 2: Score the wallpaper with the utility knife so that the water can soak the cut edges and make it easier to wet down. You might not even need to do this if the paper is plain paper that dissolves in water and if it doesn’t have a coating that makes it slightly waterproof.
Step 3: I took plain water and a sponge and wet down the wallpaper. I’ve seen people who say to use a spray bottle but using a sponge lets you add the water directly to where you want it without any overspray.
Step 4: Let the wallpaper soak until it softens up, or just start scraping if it gets mushy enough quickly. In this case, it was ready to scrape off right away, so I didn’t have any wait time..
Step 5: Scraping the wallpaper using a plastic or metal putty knife, gently remove the wallpaper from the dollhouse. If anything sticks, add some more water to dissolve the paper more.
Step 6: Clean out the shreds of wallpaper by vacuuming the room, and remove anything that you missed the first time. I was able to remove a lot of the flooring adhesive using the putty knife and pulling it out with my fingers. Try to clean the entire space out as much as you can.
Step 7: If there’s any leftover adhesive that’s still attached to the walls or floor, decide whether it’s something that you need to remove or not. You might have to use some type of Goo Gone glue remover, or you can leave it alone if you’re just going to be recovering the walls with more glue so that you can add more paper.
Step 8: Leave the dollhouse to dry out completely, then sand off any imperfections and fill in any holes with wood filler or spackle if you’re planning on painting the walls. If you’ll be adding more wallpaper, you might not need to do any more preparation.
Step 9: If you had to use wood putty or spackle, let it dry completely then sand it down and clean off the walls before adding the new paper or paint.
Extra tips and things to watch out for.
- If you can peel the dry wallpaper off in sheets, definitely try that first. Sometimes people don’t attach wallpaper to dollhouse walls very securely, so you might get lucky and end up being able to remove it without any water or scraping.
- The water that I used was DIRTY when I was done. The glue that was used to attach the original paper smelled like old adhesive from postage stamps, so I have no idea what it was, but it made the scraps of paper slightly sticky when they were removed.
- If the adhesive on the original paper is too strong, you might not be able to get away with using plain water. Paper that’s too firmly attached to the walls might be secure enough that you can sand down any edges and paint over it with a primer before adding more wallpaper.
- If the original wallpaper was vinyl or waterproof in any way, you might be able to peel it off, but you might also have to score it to remove it in pieces if it won’t pull off in one piece. If the adhesive isn’t water-based you might also have to use something more than water to remove the glue. Some sources say to use a solution of vinegar and water, and you can also try a fabric softener/water solution. If it’s really resisting, you might want to try some GooGone or another type of solvent.
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