The old house came with embossed wallpaper in the front room, covering very old plaster walls above heavy chair rail and wainscotting. We voted to keep it rather than strip it, make repairs to missing areas and see if it will hold paint and glaze without peeling. Here are some tips I've gathered along the road to my wallpaper rescue:
- Sections of the embossed trim were missing, but with the product number I was able to locate the items using Google. We ordered from the Lowes' website and picked it up in a matter of weeks—no shipping charges!
- I decided not to use straight-edges where the new trim met old. Instead, I cut the new trim decoupage-style so it would blend in better. Overlap your new piece over the old, lining up the design.
- Fold prepasted wallpaper into accordian pleats, sticky sides together, and let soak in a bucket of water for about 10 minutes. Shake it off, and it is ready to apply. It's much easy to handle when accordian pleated.
- Wallpaper is very particular what it will stick to and it is not really happy sticking to more embossed wallpaper! I used lots of low-tack masking tape to hold the trim to the main section while I glued down the seams with putty, smoothing as I went with my disposable gloves.
- Since our finished wallpaper project will be painted, all of the seams are puttied. I used a tough vinyl type patch where it met the crown moulding. I also used fluffy wall-board patch, which comes in the gallon containers, for the many seams. This patch stuff almost looks edible, but dries very hard in a short time.
- Sometimes I would spray the applied putty with water and smooth it with my fingers or the putty knife. This worked great, but got the spray bottle very crusty.
- Gloves, gloves, gloves. Cotton gloves for smoothing down the trim, plastic gloves (with cotton lining) to smooth the putty over the seams.
- My favorite putty knife is a re-purposed kitchen knife with a square tip. A fabulous tool that fits my small hands, and easy to clean with steel wool after use.
- Wallpaper can loosen when painted, so an important step is primer! Oil based primer which is gloppy, strong smelling, and hard to remove from your skin, is a vital step here. Wear protective clothing as it is very hard to remove from your skin, I found out, even with olive oil and salt scrubs.