Asked on Feb 19, 2013

Painting over a wallpaper border.

Eileen Ozanick
by Eileen Ozanick
I have a wallpaper border in a bedroom, and I've tried everything to get it off! My question is, can I paint over it? I've sanded the edges and the seams so far. It is a very flat paper with no raised design. Should I first seal it with an oil based primer? I'm afraid it will still show. Another idea I had was to put up a paintable border and paint the whole room the same colour, giving it a little architectural feel around the top of the room. What do you think? Thank you.
  12 answers
  • Shari Shari on Feb 19, 2013
    It is obviously better to take it off if you possibly can but if there is no way that border is coming off, yes, you can paint over it. I have personally painted over a wallpaper border in a bedroom, and several whole walls of wallpaper in a bathroom with good results. I would recommend using some type of primer to make sure the pattern is covered but It's probably not necessary to use an oil-based primer unless you already have it on hand. I used a latex primer like Kilz first, followed by a couple coats of latex paint, and it worked fine.
  • Eileen Ozanick Eileen Ozanick on Feb 19, 2013
    Thank you Shari for posting, I responded, but I haven't figured out this application yet. So I did cover with oil based primer and will apply a filler lightly over the seam and sand lightly then I think I'm ready to go. :)
  • Eileen Ozanick Eileen Ozanick on Feb 19, 2013
    That is what the fellow at the Sherwin Williams paint store suggested. When you painted the two coats, does the seam still show?
  • Shari Shari on Feb 19, 2013
    @Eileen Ozanick : I didn't use any type of filler and did not have any problems with the seams showing. I doubt anyone would ever even know there is wallpaper under the paint in the bathroom of my former house, and the guest room of my current house.
  • Sue Sanders Sue Sanders on Mar 31, 2015
    I scored my border and took spray bottle of water and sprayed and let set for few minutes and then took trowel and scraped off. If this not possible with yours paint with a primer and then paint with your colored paint.
  • Rachel Z Rachel Z on Apr 05, 2015
    If the wallpaper has been there awhile, you can actually do something similar to what Sue mentioned. What I do is I get hot water and a sponge. Soak up the area over the wallpaper and around the edges really good. Wait a few minutes and it should start to come off. It may be time-consuming but you wouldn't have to worry about the edges showing.
  • Dee Dee on Apr 06, 2015
    Have you ever tried Fabreeze to remove wallpaper? Liquid fabric softener works too. I have had great success using both. Just score the paper, apply with a spray bottle and let it sit for a while. Peals right off!
  • Sally-Charles Evans Sally-Charles Evans on Aug 13, 2015
    I have removed many a wall of paper and border...the only time I've had problems is when the paper hanger used Elmer's Glue "to make sure" the border didn't fall...I papered OVER that border! A steamer is a good paper/glue softener. They are rentable.
  • Sandra Crosbie Sandra Crosbie on Dec 05, 2015
    I would say if the edges are sanded it wouldn't be a problem painting over it. Years ago we moved to a house COVERED in woodchip paper with years of layers of paint. What a nightmare to get it off. We tried Every conceivable product known to mankind. Steamers liquid stripper,you name it we tried it. In the end we resorted to my dads suggestion of a paint burner. Ekkk it sure was stinky. The wallpaper wasn't coming down without a fight. So my suggestion to you is. If you paint over it let it dry then see if it shows through. Good luck and Happy Christmas to you.
  • Cj Avery Cj Avery on Jan 05, 2016
    Steamers work the best, you should be able to rent one or buy a small hand held one, or you might try a blow dryer, just don't get water on or in it..You can paint it, I was told if you have more than one layer of wall paper the paint will eventually peel off, so if it doesn't have more than one layer you should be ok.
  • KatAych KatAych on Feb 04, 2016
    If an edge still shows, you can always add a piece of moulding to cover it!
  • Zep4660472 Zep4660472 on Mar 17, 2016
    If your border and the wallpaper under it are tight to the wall, you can paint over wallpaper. I've had to do that. My home was built in 1921 and has plaster and lath walls so removing wallpaper can be tricky if there are cracks in the plaster and you can't or don't have someone who can repair the plaster. Good luck with your project.