Painting Over Wallpaper – Art For Your Walls

“I would like to know if I can paint over wallpaper?”


Many people asked us through our ” Contact Us” form if painting over wallpaper is possible, and if it is, what are the consequences.

Well, you have that old, outdated wallpaper on your walls, and you’d like to make a change.But you’ve heard that removing wallpaper it’ s not a walk in the park!

What to do?

How about painting over wallpaper?

If you have wallpaper over unprimed drywalls, or plaster walls (and it happened a lot, judging by our vistors’ comments), painting all over wallpaper might be your salvation, because stripping wallpaper might damage the walls beyond repair!

Balance Your Decisions And Choose The Right One

Before you start your wall makeover project, consider these points of view. It should help you to take the right decision, and have a final answer if painting over wallpaper is best for you:

Take a look at your wallpaper and assess its condition.If it’s nicely attached to the wall and it’s smooth, it doesn’t have bubbles, and seams are not loose, you’re good to go. If the seams are loose, use wallpaper paste to stick it back in place.

Alternatively, to stick back any bubbles in the wallpaper, you can use Elmo’s Glue. Put it into a syringe, so you won’t have to pull the wallpaper out, and press it back to the wall. Personally I didn’t used Elmo’s Glue, just wallpaper paste, but people say it works!

Textured WallpaperIf you have textured wallpaper, and want a smooth paint over, you might be better off to remove the wallpaper. If you want to have a texture painted wall over that wallpaper, you can do it after covering the seams with joint compound and sanding it. Then you can get the desired texture using a hopper. This way the texture will be uniform.

Even you don’t see any texture in the wallpaper, you might have the surprize that some of the motifs actually had a texture. But you will notice after you finished painting. Best bet in this case? Use a thin coat of wallboard compound to “hide” the texture of the wallpaper. Then follow usual steps.

Do the test.Paint over a small hidden area of the wall with a primer, and after that, paint it to see if the wallpaper will remain smooth, and stays in place.If it’s start breaking, it means that is a good idea to remove the wallpaper altogether!

Why? If wallpaper begins to fail now, the process will continue in time, and walls will begin to look ragged. Even though it’s not difficult to repair, the process of repairing will repeat again and again…Save yourself time and frustration…and strip the wallpaper now.

Check the color of the wallpaper.
If it’s a light color, and no texture, go ahead with the painting over it. If it’s dark, and it has lots of rich textures and motifs, go back to the idea of wallpaper removal.

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7 Steps When Painting over Wallpaper


Useful steps to follow when painting over wallpaper:

  • Step 1: Check for any loose seams or bubbles. Fix those using wallpaper paste or glue.
  • Step 2:Wipe the walls with a damp sponge to remove any remaining wallpaste after you glued the loose seams. You would want to get rid of any dirt and dust.
  • Step 3:Let the wall dry before going any further.
  • Step 4:Turn the power off in the room you’re prepared to work, take all outlet covers off, and using masking tape, cover all switches and outlets.
  • Step 5:Repair any scratches or wall small damages using a spackle. Let it dry and then sand it, to make it smooth.
  • Step 6:Prime the walls, so the paint will stick better to the wallpaper. To make sure no wallpaper color or stains will show through use oil-based stain-blocking KILZ Primer. You can even tint the primer to match the color of the final paint.Let the primer dry before you go any further!
  • Step 7:Start painting. Let dry the first coat of paint, and for a better coverage, you can go with a second coat. Pay a little more and choose a slightly more expensive paint. The coverage will be better.
  • Congratulations! You’re done!