How to Paint Over Wallpaper

13 Materials
2 Days

Get on the list for all the DIY updates like this project and more! I'm helping my sister update her kitchen and dining room - it was stuck in the 1980s. One of the biggest issues was the decades old wallpaper full of ducks. It had to go but I didn't want to try and remove it and risk having to repair the sheetrock. So I found out it's possible to paint right over that old wallpaper and it worked like a charm!

Here's what we started with:

how to paint over wallpaper

You can see all those lovely ducks below. Not to mention the border at the top. I know this was in style at one time, but it just wasn't working for my sister.

how to paint over wallpaper

Here's what I learned and how to paint over wallpaper:

  • You need a good quality primer. This wouldn't have been possible without it. I needed to make sure those ducks were hidden completely.
  • Using a quality brush and rollers, paint two coats of primer on the walls. Use the brush to cut in around doorways/windows and trim and then the roller for the big areas.
  • I used oil based primer so if you use this, make sure to use in a ventilated area. This stuff smells!
  • Then I painted two coats of paint on the walls, letting the first coat dry completely first. I did this over the course of several days.
  • Here's the first coat of primer below:
how to paint over wallpaper

I didn't worry too much about the border. It's very hard to tell now that it's done. You can see it and the seams if you inspect the walls carefully, but it's not a deal breaker and it's certainly easier than removing the paper first.

Wait a few days before hanging anything on the walls or pushing furniture up against it so you don't mess up your paint.

This is a project that turned out better than I expected. You can see the full details over on the blog - here!

And here's what we ended up with!

how to paint over wallpaper
how to paint over wallpaper
how to paint over wallpaper
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Melissa - Create and Find

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Amanda feher
    on Feb 26, 2019

    I thought wallpaper paste had flour in it and it would start to mold if it was sealed in paint. I know you can do it but is it healthy? I don’t know.

    • Bmi32050820
      on Mar 31, 2019

      I have painted over mine several times. No problem. But another room has paper that is I have always seen the seams and now even more. Question what can I do to flatten the seams so I can paint?

  • Helen
    on Mar 4, 2019

    Can you paint over vinyl or leather? What keeps the paint from cracking and flaking off

  • Renae Dennis Smith
    on Mar 14, 2019

    My wallpaper is starting to come loose at the corners in my hall & peel back at seams. Should I just remove it or glue it down to paint over it.

    • Melissa - Create and Find
      on Mar 15, 2019

      I would be hesitant to do this project if your wallpaper is showing signs of coming down. I’d have to opt for removal in that case.

Join the conversation

2 of 35 comments
  • Joan Stanley
    on Mar 4, 2019

    I painted over a latex covered wall paper in a bathroom. Worked out great. Been 10+ years and still fine.

  • Becky
    on Mar 26, 2019

    Yes,I will.But will use kilz first

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