How to remove a wallpaper border

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It might be time for you to learn how to remove a wallpaper border. Very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, wallpaper borders were used to break up empty wall space. And while there are some great new curb designs out there that can elevate your interior into something truly unique, it’s a trend that’s been abandoned lately.

So if you’re looking to remove your wallpaper, and in particular remove a wallpaper border, there are a few tricks you can use to make the job quicker and easier.

How to remove a wallpaper border

“The best way to remove a wallpaper border is to dampen the wallpaper with a sponge and let it soak,” advises James Greenwood, paint and wallpaper expert at Graham & Brown. ‘Wet the paper again if necessary, then use a scraper to remove the corner of the paper. Once you have an edge, gently peel off the paper, trying to work in as big chunks as possible.

Martha Stewart recommends renting a wallpaper steamer to speed up the process. Be aware though that the steamer will run hot water, so always wear gloves, goggles and protective clothing.

Your wallpaper border may have been applied to a wallpapered wall or painted surface, so the key is to try and remove it without damaging the decor underneath. Set aside a weekend where you can complete the process without interruption. Prepare all your tools and wear appropriate clothing.

Below we tell you how to remove a wallpaper border in the easiest way possible.

You will need:

  • A plastic sheet to protect floors and furniture
  • A vaporizer
  • A wallpaper scraper or putty knife
  • A bucket and a sponge

1. Prepare the space

Start by moving all furniture and other pieces to the middle of the room and covering them with a plastic sheet to protect them.

2. Wet the wallpaper border

Fill an empty, clean spray bottle with warm water and spray the border so that it becomes slightly damp. After 10 minutes, the glue holding the edging in place should begin to loosen.

3. Start removing wallpaper border

Take a wallpaper scraper or putty knife and insert it under one edge of the border, then pull the paper out slowly and gently.

Any hard to lift areas can simply be sprayed again, then repeat the step above.

When you manage to peel off a large section, slowly lift it with steady, even pressure. You can always slide the scraper or putty knife under the paper as you walk away from it.

4. Clean the wall

Once everything has been removed, wipe the wall with a clean sponge and warm soapy water to make sure all glue residue is gone, then let it dry.

How to remove a wallpaper border with fabric softener

Another trick is to mix equal parts water and fabric softener in a spray bottle, shake and spray on the wallpaper border. Let it soak into the wallpaper border before carefully peeling it off the wall.

How to Use Vinegar to Remove a Wallpaper Border

You can also make your own natural wallpaper border remover with distilled white vinegar. Mix it in equal parts with water in a spray bottle, shake well and spray on the border of the wallpaper. Let it soak into the wallpaper border before carefully peeling it off the wall.

How to remove a wallpaper border with a heat gun or spray

If you are really struggling or if the wallpaper border is being applied to a painted wall, use a wallpaper sprayer or heat gun to melt the glue, then use your scraper or putty knife and peel off the border in motion slow and steady. Sometimes even a hair dryer does the trick! Always wear protective goggles, gloves and clothing if using a steamer or heat gun and keep them out of reach of children.

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