Wallpaper Removal


I’ve been wanting to take off the inspirational wallpaper in the bathroom for some time now, but y’now how things go – some projects just seem SO BIG. This house getting all set up feels like it is going to take forever and when you think about all the things that need to be done it’s totally overwhelming. Paint upstairs, remove wallpaper in bathroom, remove wallpaper in stairwell, change carpet on stairs, replace flooring in kitchen, refinish table, ETCETERA. But when you take one thing at a time you can get it all done without overwhelming yourself. I’m just glad we don’t have any *major* renovations to do.

I was sure I wouldn’t get to this bathroom before the fall because it seemed like such a huge task. I also hadn’t a CLUE how to take off wallpaper until reading Young House Love where Sherry took the wallpaper off of their bathroom walls in 3 hours. And then I was all “YES I CAN SPEND THREE HOURS DOING THAT!” Jeepers that’s like a weeknight task if I wasn’t so dang tired all the time. So I woke up on a Saturday and was like “LET’S DOOOO THIS!” well actually, as per my style, I dragged myself out of bed, moping the whole time (because y’now, morning) worked for about 10 minutes (eww, I know), stared intently at the garage sale across the street to see if I should go over (I didn’t), went to Dollarama, ate a banana and then was like “alright, I’m going to give this a go.”

So the strategy I learned from Young House Love was to spray nearly-boiling water on the wallpaper and tear it off and repeat. Before jumping into a project such as this where you don’t know what’s underneath the wallpaper, brace yourself. I just tackled this spur of the moment and, if the walls had been bare drywall with pink plaster, or an old orange paint like it was in my childhood bedroom, I didn’t have immediate plans to paint it and would have had to live with it or rearrange my schedule to paint it. Keep that in mind because you never know what you’ll find behind wallpaper.

I learned from her experience that you can’t put boiling water into a flimsy plastic spray bottle, so I bought a spray bottle from Dollarama and brought it home – but with a different plan in mind. I used a thermos that I had won at Grey Cup festivities a few years back to hold the boiling water. This way I didn’t need to hold the container with a glove, it wouldn’t melt the bottle, and the water would stay hot longer. Win. Total genius. Honestly if you have a travel mug or any insulated container, USE THAT. Also, consider the size of your container when buying the spray bottle. That seems like a no-brainer, I know, but I didn’t do this and bought the smallest spray bottle. Which meant the tubing inside was pretty short. The up-side is that I was then using the hottest water possible because I refilled the bottle more frequently.


Ok, so you HAVE TO fill the bottle with the kettle. Don’t boil water in a pot on the stove. Also, sometimes these stupid $1 spray nozzles will leak a bit too so you might want to make sure you have a set of rubber gloves at the ready. I didn’t wear them but I had them there.

Ready? Attack. I sprayed across the pieces of wallpaper (starting at the top of the wall) until they were nicely moist but not completely saturated. You don’t want to soggy your walls. Make sure you have a towel on the floor to catch the water that will run down the wall. You’ll need a scraper or knife or something to get some of the edges started. I did small sections at a time, misted, pulled the first layer (the part that has the print on it), then misted the second layer (the papery backing) and pulled. It came off amazingly like there was PAM underneath. In the wallpaper’s defense, it had been up MAX four years and the wall was painted underneath and not just bare drywall. Warning: the first time you pull a sheet or two, you may think you’ve made a terrible mistake, see below, but you’ll get the hang of it. And, over the course of my three hours I was SO INSPIRED from looking at that wallpaper the whole time. Gosh darnit, I was going to SHOOT FOR THE MOON whether I liked it or not and, no matter what, I was to NEVER GIVE UP. Ever.



So after a while you’ll get this kind of thing happening:


And let me tell you this: removing wallpaper from BEHIND THAT TOILET is enough to discourage me from ever wallpapering anything. ANYTHING.

Fast forward 3 hours. *scratching sound*



We will probably paint that wall a modern-coloured accent and the other one and a half walls a proper white, but I love that I tried something at it worked! *pats self on back*

What do you think?


One thought on “Wallpaper Removal

  1. Jennifer says:

    Well done Sarah! I too would have put that chore off as long as possible, then probably would have wanted to stop half way through as well! *applause*

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