No More “Forest” Room

What’s the Forest Room, you ask? Do you remember this picture from our “Before” album?

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Who could forget that wallpaper? If you can’t tell from the picture, it was a greenish brown impressionist take on a forest. There is only one window and the room is smallish, so the room is super dark. It’s kind of funny that the wallpaper was installed so long ago that this look is kind of coming back into style, but I assure you this was no birch print that is popping up everywhere.

 

Yeah. Not what we’re dealing with here. At first I thought I might try to paint over it, like my parents did in the house I grew up in. But although I inherited many good DIY skills from them, I think painting over wallpaper is generally not the best idea. I distinctly remember scraping my skin on the painted-over velvet embossed wallpaper in my childhood bedroom- the velvet turned all pointy and scratchy when it got painted over, so the surface of my walls was like sandpaper. And I was a clumsy kid. I did try a test patch to see if I could get away with it, but the paper absorbed too much moisture from the paint. Curse you, Ottawa humidity! You could also totally see the seams from the wallpaper.

forest wallpaper in the guest room- before
So I picked up some wallpaper adhesive remover (I’ve heard fabric softener works great too), a “Wallpaper Tiger” that you run all over the surface to perforate the paper and allow the adhesive remover to soak in, and set to work. First I scored the wallpaper with the Tiger all over, making sure that the perforations were about every inch or so to let the remover really soak in. Then I sprayed the remover on- I bought this gel version that stayed on nicely and didn’t run all over the place. Note that I’m wearing gloves because I’m a sissy and I don’t like getting my hands dirty, not because the stuff was particularly dangerous.
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I worked in sections of 2 strips of paper so that the remover never dried out and had about 15-20 min soak-in time. I found that it would take me about this time to peel off 2 strips, so as soon as one section was ready to peel I sprayed down the next section. This was my first time removing wallpaper and I think it went pretty well; from start to finish (including prep time laying down drop sheets and assembling supplies) I took about 1.5 hours. The paper mostly came off pretty easy by lifting the edges with a putty knife and pulling down gently, but it did take off some bits off the wall below.
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  Once I had all the paper removed, I scrubbed down the walls really well with the scouring side of a work sponge to get the excess adhesive off. We left it for a day or two to dry off before patching the holes with drywall compound.
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Now the walls are ready for paint, and it’s going to be SO much brighter than before! I can’t wait.
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