Asked on Jun 24, 2012

Where do I start on a wall of tissue paper?

Donna C
by Donna C
Buying a house with someone else's creative touch can be risky!
The entire wall consists of small pieces of blue, white & green tissue paper layered on top of each other.
How do I start to peel this off?
Does "Dif" work to peel this off my wall.
I'm a little more beige &
just want a clean wall to paint....Thanks in advance!
Wall consists of multi colored tissue paper layered over each other. need to clean it up and start fresh
  28 answers
  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 24, 2012
    Hopefully they used walpaper paste when they did this. DIF would work great if that's the case. I guess the only way to tell is to try a spot. I feel for you, tisue paper tends to "bleed" colors, so make sure you protect the floor very well or you may have blue and green stains all around your room.
  • Donna C Donna C on Jun 24, 2012
    Leslie, I didn't even think about the bleeding! thanks for the heads up...
  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 24, 2012
    Another idea...if it won't come off, you could use some more white issue paper, crumple and wallpaper that to the wall over this, creating a texture that you could paint over. We did that in a hallway. I then purchased some "paint sand" and after painting the wall, mixed the sand into the remaining paint and troweled on randomly to give it even more of a texture.
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  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 24, 2012
    Close up of the technique
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  • I would treat it just like any other wall paper. Try to soften it up and scrape it off. The next method is to use a sizing paper. Which is really a wall paper product that is made of a cloth that is glued onto the wall. Using this will smooth out the surface in order to allow for paint. The ideal thing is to completely remove the wall down to studs. This is what most professionals would do if the wall paper removal method did not work. Then you simply have a much better wall surface to work with and you then have the chance to correct any hidden issues that could be found. Such as insulation, wiring or framing problems. While this may seem extreme to do it, when you figure out all the time your going to spend trying to make the wall smooth again, if indeed this is what you want. You will spend far less time and money just ripping it out and starting fresh.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 25, 2012
    This is one of those cases where "long term" considerations were ignored. I have know of tissue paper being used as part of a "decoupage" element. And in those cases white Elmers type glues were used, This my or may not come up using basic wallpaper removal tricks...If that is the case you might need to step it up and use Woodbridge's new drywall trick.
  • I use a steamer for WP removal. Most glues are thermoplastic, meaning that even water resistant ones wil soften from heat.
  • Maria C Maria C on Jun 25, 2012
    I would do what it says Woodbridge E., if it is within your budget of course, when I bought my house had wallpaper quarter, by all means try removing it and it was useless glue marks are still seen, we had to remove drywall to look better. The point is that when you're dealing with any kind of glue take long and does not look good. At the end you spend much time trying to remove it and finally have to buy the drywall to get it done right.
  • Elizabeth M Elizabeth M on Jun 25, 2012
    What about looking passed the color and look at the texture, is it something you can live with? If it is try Kilz and paint over it they should eliminate the issue of the color and you could simply paint over it. Now, if the texture is not something you want I believe I would also try to soften it who knows once it's softened it may come off in sheets. You never know until you try but I would definitely try in an inconspicuous place.
  • Use a spray bottle with windex or warm water & a 4" plastic scraper to LIGHTLY scrape off what you can....then switch to a small wagner steamer (you can also rent one at most Depots) to steam and scrape the rest. When steaming, wear gloves and switch to a metal 6" or 8" flexible putty knife. Keep the edge of the knife close to the back edge of the steamer plate....position the steam plate and let is sit for a minute...then raise it up to the next section while you scrape the previously steamed section. This works on most paper & tissue applications. Always avoid using's not good for the walls or the adhesion of the new paint (in my humble opinion). Going over it with anything else is probably not a great idea as you don't know what the previous owner went over. Mold probably isn't a huge issue in your market but it is here in metro Atlanta.
  • Susan S Susan S on Jun 25, 2012
    Well Donna - Is it the tissue paper or the multi colors that bothers you?? I THINK I'd paint it with a really good primer (Kilz) and then paint in the color - or neutral of your choice. The tissue paper would give you a very textured look something like a plaster finish. This could be a really dynamite focal point in your room w/o having to do all the scraping etc. to remove it. I have put tissue on one wall in a bedroom - but I used white and it was applied w/wall paper glue. Then I dry brushed the color of the other walls over it. Turned out gorgeous!!
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 27, 2012
    I like your idea of the textured wall Susan. And if not then what about sanding the wall down to a smooth surface? I wouldn't think it would take much being that it's only tissue paper?
  • depends what glue was used. it might gum up the sandpaper badly
  • Bernice H Bernice H on Jun 28, 2012
    wow a Lot of good info from everyone! @susan, I would love to see your wall and texture. I have painted over wall paper with Kilz first, turned out great. I painted over grass cloth..turned out HARD, not so nice. @Donna , let us know what you do we can learn .
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 28, 2012
    yes I guess it would depend on what glue was used and how old it is.
  • Carol P Carol P on Jun 28, 2012
    I did this technique on a kitchen wall, wadding up tissue paper and then unwadding it, painted a small section of the wall and pressed the crumpled tissue to the paint and flattened it out, then painted over it to make it stick to the it looks like a textured wall and pretty cool. You tear the tissue, but keep some of the straight edges for around doors and ceiling edges. Very easy. Not sure about how easy it would be to get off to a smooth surface, but this gives the room a neat textured wall.
  • Susan S Susan S on Jun 28, 2012
    @Carol P - you are exactly right in the application. I did mine so long ago I'd kind of forgotten exactly what the steps were!! Now, this is going to go back in time but I first saw this idea demoed on Lynette Jennings' show (yea- WHO remembers that one?) I kept a straight edge at the ceiling and where the walls met but hand-tore the edges and applied it to the wall - I'd already applied wall paper adhesive. I don't remember wadding it up because it doesn't go on perfectly smooth anyway and once it touches the glue there ain't noooo movin it around. It is where it is. Good Lord, I can just see a resurgence of Tissue Paper Walls all over again. I love it though and the natural wrinkling that occurs gives it a plastered look!! Anyone who wants to attempt this try it out on a piece of poster board first instead of jumping in w/all four feet. A little practice goes a long long way!!!
  • Bernice H Bernice H on Jun 30, 2012
    Hey susan, I remember Lynette..I also remember Trading Spaces, one of them I remember used brown paper bags, same treatment,gave a leather effect...that was really cool!
  • Susan S Susan S on Jun 30, 2012
    @Bernice - HA HA!! Did the brown paper bag/craft paper thing too!! I papered a very small wall in the upstairs guest bathrm - that was 9 or so years ago. . . . . . whew! As I recall on that one I tore irregular pieces, dampened them w/water, wadded them up to make lots 'n lots of wrinkles, smoothed it out to dry. After applying w/wall paper glue I used an antique gold craft paint mixed w/glaze and slapped it on the craft paper. Looked just like an old piece of crackled leather!! I loved the "OLDER" shows. I felt like I really learned a lot from them. OH, how about Christopher Lowell? He taught me how to do faux marbelizing techniques - we got to be verrrry good buds!! LOL
  • Marg C Marg C on Jun 30, 2012
    Christopher Lowell! I loved his show!
  • When ever I do textures for clients, I try to remind them that it is considered PERMANENT. The color can be changed with primer and paint or more texture can be added with acrylic texture medium (not dry wall mud). Special care is taken to create depth with the way the glaze color is applied rather than with thickness of the texture or "topography". The crushed paper technique has been around for AGES. Done correctly, this subtle texture is timeless and a change of color is all that is needed for an update. Attached are a couple of photos from a project that was done about 9 years ago. To see the full story, visit:
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  • Somewhat Quirky Somewhat Quirky on Jul 05, 2012
    I would start trying to remove this the same way you remove wall paper. Try one of the spray on products. Also a steamer should help. It does not have to be a wallpaper steamer. I have used a clothes steamer to remove wallpaper and it worked like a charm. Once this is done you probably need to prime with an oil based primer.
  • Kathy Kathy on Mar 11, 2013
    we had same thing. We used sharp or seni sharp flat cake server, scrape hard to smooth as much as you can then sand down the rest. Ours leveled done to normal wall surface. Then paint. Hope this helps, it was time consuming but results were worth it without stripping.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 28, 2014
    Oh Dear! Things seem a good idea when you start a project years later have a way of not being such a good thing! The worse that can happen is the wall board gets ruined and either has to be floated out (if not too damaged) or replaced. I do hope it is just 1 room!
  • Punky brewster Punky brewster on Jun 21, 2015
    Try 1/3 fabric softener to 2/3 warm water spray on let sit then scrap off. My brother in law taught me that trick. Room smells good too!
  • Ann Ann on Jan 08, 2019

    which ever method you use-good luck-the Kilz method sounds the best-lots of patience and fortitude

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Mar 12, 2023

    I would use a steamer, the moisture and heat should make it peel off.

  • Mogie Mogie on Mar 13, 2023

    Fill a bucket with hot water and when it reaches a warm temperature that's comfortable to the touch, wipe the wall with a large, soft sponge, similar to those used for washing cars. When the wall looks dry, repeat this step to loosen the glue underneath the paper.

    Repeat this process it needed.