I remember years ago when still living with my parents around age 11, one day in the late spring my dear dad decided he was going to paint over the dirty wallpaper in our dining room and as he would often say, “to cover a multitude of sins.” I’ve shared in other articles my father loved to paint anything and everything ranging from the kitchen refrigerator to the living room couch to the car parked out in front of our modest home! Oh, I should mention that all this painting was accomplished with a paint brush and/or a paint roller and as I recall the car had both the brush and roller treatment.
So there we were, my dad eager to get started with his light green enamel-based paint, his brush, his roller and little old me sitting at the dining table to watch how he painted. My dad could paint 3 rooms, trim and all, in about 5 hours which is very fast so he expected to be done with the dining room in no time flat.
I watched as he began to trim the edges and then roll the paint on the first wall. He just completed the first wall when he noticed back where he first started that a large chunk of the wallpaper slipped partially off the wall taking all the new paint with it.
Undaunted, standing tall, and with a slight chuckle in his voice dad exclaimed, “Isn’t that’s the darndest thing.” Mom was in the living room and heard him and so hurriedly made her way out into the dining room to see what elicited the remark from dad. I could see the slight grin on her face and hear the slight snicker in her voice as she remarked, “I’ve never seen paint do that before!”
After a few short seconds, dad commented, “me either,” as he pranced over to the loosened wallpaper and with 1 quick swoop skillfully using his paint roller rolled the wallpaper back in place as if nothing ever happened. But something did happen! On the other end of the wall that dad had just finished painting, it too began to reveal openly wallpaper that peeled away from the wall.
Dad rubbed the back of his neck, his shoulders slumped and his cheeks seemed to turn slightly pinkish. I could tell he wasn’t standing quite as tall and his once inquisitive voice now sounded more energetic and snappy as he remarked, “That’s the damnedest thing I ever saw.”
Mom retreated several steps back from the freshly painted wall as if to determine the best solution to the existing situation. Her calm reassuring voice, which had lost its chuckled tone quipped, “Just push it back up like you did before.”
Dad did exactly that but, as before, the wallpaper he’d rolled up against the wall only a few seconds before began to persistently roll back off the wall. The horror of it all permeated our entire family as dad began to relentlessly attack both sides of the freshly painted wallpaper pushing one side back up then doing the same to the other side. This went on for what seemed like an eternity and we thought dad was going to win the day but the wallpaper would have none of that! Soon the wallpaper at the center of the wall began to peel away from the wall.
Dad’s face turned bright red and his jaw clenched to the point that it looked like his jaw was going to explode. Mom bolted for the living room as if she was running from a wild and dangerous animal and I suppose she was. I remained frozen in the chair I first sat in before this terrible ordeal began.
I won’t repeat what words my dad uttered that day, but suffice it to say it wasn’t a pleasant afternoon for any of our family that day. Dad fought the good fight long and hard that day and actually did win in the end. I think he just kept at it until the enamel paint dried enough to finally allow the wallpaper to stick to the wall. To give you an idea of how hard dad fought that day, enamel paint takes hours to dry!
The problem, as I see it, was he was using an enamel-based paint often referred to as oil-based which, as you might imagine, doesn’t abide with wallpaper. The reason the two don’t mingle well together is the oil in the enamel-based paint will actually dissolve the glue and loosen the wallpaper.
But not to fear here as we discuss glazing your wallpaper. We’re going to be using a latex-based paint which doesn’t have oil in it. As long as your wallpaper is reasonably sticking to your walls you should be okay.
New Concept For A Fantastic Finish
What a bummer, stripping wallpaper that is. You have lots of wallpaper and you know it’s outdated and needs to be removed. Well, perhaps you can get away without having the tackle that laborious task of wallpaper stripping. Don’t strip your wallpaper, glaze it.
A better potential solution is to glaze the wallpaper, yes you’re reading right. Wallpaper can actually be glazed to transform it into a newly designed work of art. You can easily transform any room with a new modern look and without all the work and mess that comes with stripping wallpaper.
Sometimes referred to as a faux finish, glazing can dramatically transform a room and can be made to look like marble, stone, wood, or a brick finish. It can be made to look smooth or have a rough looking texture.
This process will go smoother with 2 sets of hands but it can be done with 1 individual as well. Why not use the time to bond with another family member on a sunny Saturday morning?
Goods Needed For A Fantastic Finish
Before attempting your transformation, make certain you have the following on hand:
- latex glazing liquid
- high-quality white latex interior paint
- latex coloring for tinting purposes
- paint brush to apply the glazing
- lint-free cloth to apply the glazing
- clean water
Preparation Needed For A Fantastic Finish
As with painting a wall or ceiling, you need to ensure that all surfaces are clean. A quick wash with an all-purpose cleaner will give a clean surface ready to accept paint. For washing procedures, read our article entitled “How To Wash Walls And Ceilings The Right Way” to learn the proper wall and ceiling techniques. Be certain your walls are completely dry before applying and glaze.
Steps Needed For A Fantastic Finish
The next 3 easy steps will transform your drab, tired, and outdated wallpaper into your very own work of art. Keep in mind that glazing dries rather quickly meaning it’s best to make small batches of glazing rather than attempting to hurry along before the mixture is too dry to apply. This is where it makes sense to have 2 working together, 1 to mix the paint and 1 to apply it.
- Create each batch by mixing 1 part white glaze with 1 part white latex paint. Add a bit of water to thin the mixture which will aid in increasing the drying time as well. Test the mixture in an inconspicuous place to ensure the wash isn’t too harsh and add more water to tone it down. In all actuality, the water can make up 50% of the volume of the mixture, it’s your preference.
- When you’re pleased with the look of the glazing after you’ve tested it, you can begin to apply it with a lint-free cloth, using a circular swirling movement similar to the same technique used when washing walls. Start from the top and work down to the floor or baseboard in small 2 or 3-foot square sections. You must work quickly or you’ll risk losing the batch of glaze if it dries out too rapidly.
Instead of using a lint cloth to apply the glazing you can roll the glaze on with a paint roller or use a paint brush or if you prefer, a sponge. Experiment with each tool to determine which effect you like best.
- If you’re using a roller or cloth to apply the glaze you can use a brush to apply the glazing in corners and along edges. To remove the brush strokes you can tamp it with your lint cloth.
Fantastic Finish And The Envy Of Everyone
You’re done! Sit down and have a cup of coffee or a cup of your favorite tea and congratulate yourself for a creative solution to having to strip old wallpaper. You’ll be the envy of all your friends and neighbors and all the while they might not know the wallpaper is still on the wall.
We hope you learned a trick or two and tackle this easy but awe-inspiring project. If you’ve something to share please feel free to comment below. Please share this article with your friends.