How To Get Off Wallpaper Border

How To Get Off Wallpaper Border

How To Get Off Wallpaper Border

Introduction to Wallpaper Border Removal

The decorative flourish of a wallpaper border can add an appealing accent to any room. However, as trends change or individual design preferences evolve, there may come a time when you want to remove that wallpaper border. While the process can be a bit labor-intensive, with the right tools, a little patience, and some helpful guidance, stripping your walls of outdated wallpaper border can be successfully achieved. Let's discuss the necessary steps to effectively start this project.

Understanding the Type of Wallpaper Border

Before you begin the removal process, it's crucial to understand the type of wallpaper border you're dealing with. Some are strippable, meaning they can be peeled off without causing any damage to the wall surface underneath. Other types might require a bit more muscle and a couple of specialized tools. Typically, older wallpaper borders are more challenging to remove than newer ones, which are designed considering easy application and removal.

Gathering the Necessary Tools

Whether you have a strippable or traditional wallpaper border, a few basic tools will be needed. These include a putty knife or scraper to scrape off the wallpaper, a sponge, and bucket for a water-detergent mixture, and a scoring tool for tough to remove pieces. Also, for your protection consider rubber gloves and goggles. This will prevent any possible skin and eye irritation from the removal solution you'll be using.

The Basic Steps in Wallpaper Border Removal

Preparing the Room

First, prep your workspace. Move any furniture away from the walls and lay down a drop cloth to protect your floors. This will make the cleanup afterwards easier.

Applying the Removal Solution

Next, apply your chosen removal solution to a small test area. Remember to follow the instructions on the label and keep the room well-ventilated. Allow the solution to soak into the paper for the suggested time.

Scraping off the Wallpaper Border

After you've given the solution time to break down the adhesive of the border, begin scraping off the wallpaper border. Start at the top and work your way down, holding your scraper at a 45° angle to prevent damage to the wall.

Cleaning the Wall

Finally, after the border is removed, wipe the wall clean. A simple soap and water solution should do. This will remove any remaining adhesive and prepare the wall for any future decorating.


While wallpaper border removal can be a tedious process, it doesn't have to be complicated. With a few basic tools, a little determination, and this guide, you’ll have the knowledge to either refresh your walls with a new design or enjoy the simplicity of bare walls. Embarking on this DIY project not only enhances your space but also boosts your home improvement skills.

Understanding Different Types of Wallpaper Borders

Understanding different types of wallpaper borders is crucial for successful removal. Various factors like the material, design, and how it was attached can greatly affect the difficulty of removal. Here, we will delve into the most common types of wallpaper borders.

Vinyl Wallpaper Borders

Vinyl wallpaper borders are widely popular for their durability and stylish designs. They are often coated with a vinyl acrylic finish, which makes them waterproof and easy to clean. However, their adhesive can be stubborn to remove, especially if the border has been on the wall for a long time.

Paper Wallpaper Borders

Among the oldest forms of wallpaper borders, these are typically made from high-quality paper with various printed designs. Paper borders are generally easier to remove than vinyl, but they are more prone to damage during the removal process.

Foiled Wallpaper Borders

Foiled wallpaper borders add an elegant touch to any room with their shiny metallic finish. But like vinyl, these can prove challenging to remove due to their strong adhesive.

Textured Wallpaper Borders

With patterns that you can feel and touch, textured wallpaper borders offer a unique aesthetic appeal. These borders commonly include materials like bamboo, cork, and cloth, which all present different removal techniques.

Flocked Wallpaper Borders

Flocked wallpaper borders have raised patterns, providing a velvety feel. The textures are created with tiny fibers, making these borders delicate and slightly more complicated to take off.

Fabric and Cloth Borders

Fabric or cloth wallpaper borders can bring warmth and texture into a space. They are often made with fabric glued onto a paper backing. Removal can be tricky, as the fabric and paper might need to be peeled off separately.

Paintable Wallpaper Borders

Paintable wallpaper borders are perfect for customizing wall spaces since you can paint over them with any color. Their removal involves not only the paper material but also the paint that coats it.

It's important to remember that each type of wallpaper border might require specific removal techniques. Thus, identifying the type of your border before starting your project ensures a smoother process.

Tools Needed for Wallpaper Border Removal

Having the right tools on hand can make the process of wallpaper border removal considerably more manageable. Here, we list down and discuss the essential tools you need for this task.

A Scraper or Putty Knife

The essential staple in any wallpaper removal task is a scraper or putty knife. This tool is necessary to scrape off the wallpaper once the adhesive has been loosened. A scraper or putty knife with a thin, flat blade would work best for this purpose. It's crucial to proceed with care as scraping too hard can damage the wall underneath.

Steaming Tool

A steaming tool is not always necessary, but it can make a world of difference to the ease of the project. Wallpaper steamers work by releasing hot steam that softens the wallpaper glue, allowing the wallpaper border to be easily scraped off. This tool is particularly beneficial if you have layers of old, stubborn wallpaper to remove.

Spray Bottle and Warm Water

If you prefer a less expensive method or the wallpaper border is relatively new and not too stubborn, a spray bottle filled with warm water might prove efficient. The warmth of the water will help in dissolving the adhesive, making the wallpaper easier to peel off.

Sponge and Bucket

You'll need a sponge and a bucket of warm water as well for this task. Once the wallpaper border has been removed, there will likely be some remaining adhesive on the wall. Use a damp sponge to wipe off any leftover residue.

Towels or Drop Cloths

Removing wallpaper can be a messy process, with wet, sticky paper often falling to the floor. Having towels or drop cloths on the floor can protect it from potential water damage and simplify cleanup afterwards.

Protective Gear

Last but not least, remember your protective gear. Wallpaper removal can be a messy and potentially hazardous task, especially if a steaming tool is involved. Therefore, it's important to protect yourself with safety goggles, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing.

When you have gathered all these tools, you can proceed with the wallpaper border removal process with more confidence and efficiency.

Preparing Your Room for Wallpaper Border Removal

Before diving headlong into the process of removing wallpaper border, it's necessary to adequately arrange your room. This step is vital, as it makes your task easier and prevents any damage to your furniture and other items.

Clear the Room

First, move everything out of the room, if possible. If it's not practical to remove all the furniture, simply slide it to the center and cover it with a sheet or tarp. This prevents it from being damaged by any stripping solution that might splash during the process.

Wall Fixtures

Next, disconnect any wall fixtures or switch plates. It's safer and easier to remove wallpaper around these areas without the fixtures in the way. Remember to turn off the circuit breaker before removing any electrical items to avoid injury.

Cover the Floor

Put down a drop cloth or some old newspapers along the base of the wall to catch any dripping water or paste during the stripping process. This keeps your floor clean and makes the cleaning process easier afterwards.

Tape Doorways and Windows

For doors and windows, it's a good idea to tape over the edges to prevent any stripping solution from seeping through. You can use standard painter's tape for this purpose.

Prepare your Tools

The tools you'll need for removing wallpaper border include a wallpaper scorer, a wallpaper steamer or stripping solution, and a scraper. Make sure you have all these tools at hand before beginning your project to make your job seamless and efficient.

Wallpaper Scorer

This tool creates small perforations in the wallpaper, making it easier for the stripping solution or steam to penetrate and dissolve the adhesive backing.

Stripping Solution or Wallpaper Steamer

These are the main tools for dissolving the adhesive backing. A steamer uses heat while a stripping solution uses chemicals, and the choice between the two usually comes down to personal preference.


This tool is used to scrape off the wallpaper once the adhesive has been dissolved. A putty knife works well as a scraper.

Safety Measures

Finally, don’t forget safety gear. A pair of gloves will protect your hands from the stripping solution or hot steam, and goggles will keep your eyes safe. If you are using a chemical stripper, ensure you work in a well-ventilated area or use a mask to avoid inhaling any harmful fumes.

Once your room and tools are ready, you can proceed with the wallpaper border removal process. With careful preparation, the task will be efficient and less messy.

Basic Steps for Removing Wallpaper Border

Knowing how to get off wallpaper border can help save money and transform your space. It is a simple process and with the right tools and some time, anyone can di it. Here are the basic steps for removing wallpaper border:

Materials You'll Need

There are a few basic tools you'll need to get started. These include a wallpaper steamer or scoring tool, a plastic scraper, a sponge, a bucket, dish soap, and warm water. Always remember to protect your floors and surrounding areas with drop cloths.

Step 1: Score the Wallpaper Border

Use the scoring tool to make small holes in the wallpaper border. Be careful not to push too hard, as you can damage the wall.

Step 2: Apply Your Wallpaper Removal Solution

Next mix the dish soap with warm water in the bucket. This solution will be used to wet the wallpaper border and help to break down the adhesive. Apply the solution to the border using a sponge and wait for about 10 minutes for it to penetrate and soften the glue.

Step 3: Start Scraping

Once the adhesive is all soggy, you can start scraping the wallpaper border off using the plastic scraper. Be gentle to avoid damaging the underlying wall.

Step 4: Clean the Wall

There may be small amounts of glue left on the wall after the border is scrapped away. You can clean this up using a sponge and the previous mixture of warm water and dish soap.

Step 5: Final Touches

After the wall is clean, allow it to dry properly. Once dry, you can do any necessary touch-ups, like sanding rough spots or patching small holes, to prepare the wall for paint or new wallpaper.

Following these steps will make removing wallpaper border a breeze. Just remember to be patient and not to rush the process to ensure the best results.

Tips for Removing Stubborn or Old Wallpaper Borders

If you're stuck with a stubborn or old wallpaper border, there's no need to despair. With some patience, elbow grease and our expert tips, you can easily remove even the most tenacious of borders.

Preparing the Area

Start by preparing your work area. Protect your floors and furniture by laying a drop cloth or plastic sheeting. Next, disconnect any power to the room and remove any outlets or switch plates on the wall. Doing so will protect you as you work with water and possibly steam.

Scoring the Wallpaper

Scoring the wallpaper is another vital stage of the process. Use a wallpaper scorer to create tiny holes in the border, which will let the removal solution penetrate deeper. But be mindful not to press too hard as you might damage your walls.

Applying the Wallpaper Removal Solution

Blot, don't soak the border with your preferred wallpaper removal solution. You want it to be saturated but not dripping. Giving it enough time to penetrate the wallpaper glue is crucial, as it will soften and dissolve the glue. After applying the solution, wait at least 15-20 minutes before trying to peel off the border.

Alternative Solutions

If you do not have a wallpaper removal solution on hand, you can make your own by mixing hot water and vinegar or dish soap in equal parts. A steamer can also be used instead of a chemical solution if the wallpaper border is particularly stubborn.

Peeling the Wallpaper

Begin peeling at a corner or seam, using a plastic scraper and working slowly to minimize damage to the wall. If the wallpaper resists, reapply your solution and wait an additional 5-10 minutes before trying again.

Dealing with Residue

Once the majority of the paper is off, you will need to deal with any remaining glue residue. A sponge dampened with your solution should take care of most of it. If there's stubborn residue, a plastic scraper or sandpaper can be used sparingly.

Finishing Up

Once the border is entirely off, clean your wall with a sponge and warm soapy water, then give it time to dry before you paint or hang new wallpaper. This ensures that you have a clean, smooth surface for your next decorating project.

Clean-up Procedures After Removing Wallpaper Border

Once you have successfully removed the wallpaper border, it's important to clean up properly and ensure your walls are in excellent condition for whatever may come next. Assuming that you’ll be either repainting or applying new wallpaper, this process is crucial to achieve a smooth, clean application.

Washing the Walls

Start by washing the walls to remove any remaining adhesive. Soapy water and a sponge should suffice, but you can also use a solution of vinegar and water to help break down stubborn paste spots. Ensure you rinse the walls thoroughly afterward to remove any soap or vinegar residue.

Tackling Remaining Adhesive

If there’s sticky residue stubbornly clinging to your walls, a wallpaper remover should help. There are many commercial wallpaper removers available, or you can use a DIY mix of hot water and fabric softener. Apply the removal solution with a sponge, let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate, then scrape off using a plastic putty knife.

Drying the Walls

Once the walls are clean, they should be left to dry completely. You can use towels to blot any excess water, or simply wait a day or two and let it dry naturally. If you’re in a rush, you can use fans or heaters to speed up the drying process, but avoid aiming hot air directly at the walls as extreme temperature changes may cause damage.

Dust, Sweep, and Vacuum

The process of removing wallpaper border can be messy, leaving bits of paper and adhesive all over the floor. Dust the room thoroughly, sweep up any larger pieces, and finish with a good vacuuming to ensure all debris is removed.

Repairing Wall Damages

If you've found mistakes in your wall after removing the wallpaper border, like cracks or holes, now is the time to tackle them. You can use putty, plaster, or joint compound to fill these in. Once they're dry, you can sand them down to match the rest of your wall.

Prepping for the Next Stage

Lastly, prep work for painting or wallpaper application can start once the walls are clean and dry. This might include applying a primer, creating a smooth surface for paint, or sizing the walls for wallpaper. This preparation work will enable the next step in your room's transformation to go smoothly and effectively.

Recap and Additional Resources to Aid your Wallpaper Removal Journey

Over the course of this article, we have walked you through the necessary steps and methods required for effective wallpaper border removal. From assessing and understanding your wallpaper type, preparing the room and gathering your tools, to the methods of applying the solvent and scraping away the wallpaper, we've covered it all. Yet, knowing the gist of the process is different from mastering it. You may encounter challenges that were not covered in this article, or you may require more tips in certain areas. This is why we have compiled some additional resources to further assist you in your wallpaper removal journey.

Books and Ebooks

The first set of resources to consider are books and ebooks. Some noteworthy ones include "Wallpapering Step-by-Step" by Marian Lee Klenk and "Wallpapering Made Easy" by Michael Randle. These resources delve deeper into wallpaper removal and installation techniques, and even offer insights into tackling challenging situations.

Instructional Videos

In the era of digital learning, instructional videos can be of immense help. Websites like YouTube have numerous videos that provide visual guidance on how to get off wallpaper border. These videos can give you real-time demonstrations, providing clarity for several steps within the overall process.

Online Forums and DIY Websites

Online forums and Do-It-Yourself websites such as DIYNetwork, HouseRepairTalk and RepairHome are also great resources for getting advice from professionals and other DIY enthusiasts. These platforms have discussion threads specific to wallpaper removal where you can ask questions and get solutions to your problems.

Professional Consultation

If you’ve followed all the steps and consulted all the resources, yet still find yourself struggling with your wallpaper removal project, remember that you can always seek the assistance of a professional. A professional consultation may save you from potential damage to your walls and ensure a clean, satisfying finish to your project.

Removing wallpaper borders can be tough, but with the right tools, instructions and resources, you can make a once daunting task a lot less stressful. Remember patience is key – take your time, follow the steps, and soon you will have a blank canvas ready for your next décor idea!