3 Secrets For Hanging Wallpaper So It Can Be Removed Easily

3 Secrets For Hanging Wallpaper So It Can Be Removed Easily

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the process that I went through to make a fabric roll storage rack. What I didn’t share was that when I was originally planning it, I almost talked myself out of it.

The wallpaper panel behind the work area

The issue was that the only wall space in my office that was big enough for the fabric rack was the area behind my work table. If you take a look at the picture of that area from when I did the office makeover back in the spring, you’ll notice that there is a wallpaper panel back there.

The other wallpaper panel

There’s actually 2 wallpaper panels that had to be removed…the other one is between the cabinet where my computer electronics are hidden and the work table. So installing the fabric roll storage rack would require removing two sets of moulding and wallpaper panels. And I didn’t really feel like doing either of those jobs.

Taking down wallpaper brings back bad memories of my first house, which had not been re-decorated since the 60’s and had the wallpaper to prove it! I know a lot of people who won’t put wallpaper up for exactly this reason…they are afraid that they will have to take it down and it will be a nightmare of a project.

However, I happen to like wallpaper (it gives you so many options to add color and pattern to a space) and I like to change things around a lot. Which means I have done a fair amount of hanging it, and then removing it…and so I have learned a couple of tricks for hanging wallpaper so you can remove it.

Read on to find out what they are.

Secret #1: Buy Strippable Wallpaper

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Strippable wallpaper lets you pull off the top layer in one piece

Look for a wallpaper that says it is strippable or remove-able. The front of these wallpapers will usually separate from the backing very easily once you get them started.

Just loosen a piece in one of the corners, and you can usually pull off the top layer all in one piece.

Even if it doesn’t say strippable, most vinyl or PVC wallpapers will be fairly easy to separate from the backing.

The paper layer of the wallpaper

Then you will end up with just the backing paper still attached to the wall. If you used secret #2 to put the wallpaper up, removing this backing will also be very easy!

Secret #2. Use Strippable Wallpaper Adhesive

Putting the wallpaper up using strippable wallpaper adhesive* makes it very easy to remove from the wall later. I use this adhesive even if the wallpaper is pre-pasted.

For more details, read how to hang wallpaper (the easy way) using this adhesive.

Here’s how easy it is to get the wallpaper backing off the wall:

Spray the paper with water

1. To remove the backing, simply squirt the paper that is left on the wall with some water.

Let the wet wallpaper sit for a few minutes

2. Let it sit for a couple of minutes

Use a scraper to help loosen the paper

3. Use a scraper to help loosen the paper if necessary.

Strip off the paper

4. Pull the remaining layer of wallpaper off the wall.

Wash off any remaining glue

5. Wash off any remaining glue with a damp cloth, and you are back to where you started from.

Secret #3: Paint With Wallpaper Primer

Before you start wallpapering, painting the wall with a wallpaper primer* seals the area which helps to prevent the drywall from getting damaged when you remove the paper. This step is not absolutely necessary if your walls already have a coat of good quality paint on them…but I usually do it anyway just to make sure.

Wallpaper primer makes sure the drywall doesn't get damaged

The primer looks a lot like paint primer in the can, but it actually doesn’t add much color to the wall. However, you can have it tinted to match the wall color if you are concerned about being able to see it.

Now, if only removing the mouldings was that easy…

Comments or questions about secrets to hanging wallpaper so it can be removed easily? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on October 17, 2016 but was updated with new content on April 13, 2024.

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