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How to Remove a Wallpaper Border the Right Way?

Remove a Wallpaper Border

When redecorating your home, wallpapers that feature bold graphics and unique patterns can help you achieve the look you want in no time. However, when it comes to removing the old paper border from your walls and replacing it with a brand new one, most people struggle with doing so efficiently. 

Even though it might not seem like that big of a deal at first glance, this small task requires attention to detail and patience. Read on to learn how you can successfully remove an old wallpaper border from your walls and replace it with a new one without destroying them.

Tools You’ll Need

There are a few tools that you’ll need before you begin removing the wallpaper border from your walls. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you’ll need:

  • Plastic sheet or drop cloth
  • Marker
  • Wallpaper scraper or putty knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Bucket
  • Fabric softener
  • Sponge
  • Heat gun or wallpaper steamer
  • Chemical wallpaper remover
  • Wallpaper scoring tool
  • Orbital sander with 40-60 grit paper

How to Remove a Wallpaper Border the Right Way?

Below are the few steps you need to follow to remove a wallpaper border the right way.

Step 1: Prep the Room

Before removing the wallpaper border, you need to take accurate measurements of your room to identify where the wallpaper border ends correctly. Once you’ve chosen the perfect design for your walls, you’ll be able to calculate how much border paper you need. 

Once you’ve identified where the wallpaper border ends, mark the length of it on the wall using a marker. Doing this will prevent cutting the wallpaper border too short or too long.

 Step 2: Thinning Out The Wallpaper Paste

Before applying the wallpaper border to the wall, you must thin out the wallpaper paste. The border paper will stick to the wall better, making it easier for you to use.

When thinning out the wallpaper paste, make sure to add just enough water so that the consistency of the mixture is similar to that of a runny batter. If the mixture is too thick, it will be difficult for you to apply it to the wall.

Step 3: Scraping Off The Existing Wallpaper Border

Before you can remove the existing wallpaper border, you must first scrape it off. Doing this will ensure that you can easily peel the wallpaper border away from the wall. 

Ensure all furniture and other items are in the middle of the room and covered with plastic sheets or drop cloths. Locate a seam in the wallpaper border and lift the bottom corner with a wallpaper scraper or putty knife.

Using steady and even pressure, slowly peel a large section of the paper by hand once a large enough area has been peeled back with the knife. To loosen the glue’s grip, slide the knife or scraper under the paper as you pull.

Step 4: Cutting Out The New Wallpaper Border

Once you’ve scraped off the old wallpaper border, it’s time to cut out the new one. While holding up the new wallpaper border against the wall, cut it to the length you marked earlier. 

Once the border paper is adequately cut out, you can apply it to the wall. Before using the border paper, ensure you have thoroughly thinned out the wallpaper paste. It will be easier for you to apply the border paper this way.

Begin applying the border paper at the top of the wall and slowly work your way down. Make sure to apply even pressure while smoothing the paper, so it doesn’t tear or rip.

wallpaper decor

Other Ways to Remove Wallpaper Border

Here are other ways you can do to remove wallpaper borders:

  • Warm Water and a Putty Knife
  • Fabric Softener and Water
  • Heat Gun or Wallpaper Steamer
  • Chemical Wallpaper Remover
  • Orbital Sander

Warm Water and a Putty Knife

  1. Prepare a spray bottle by filling it with warm to hot water.
  2. Spray the wallpaper to absorb water without damaging any underlying wallpaper.
  3. Give the border about ten minutes to absorb the water. The paper and backing are easier to remove when the glue is loosened.
  4. Insert the putty knife under an edge and pull the paper back, using the putty knife for assistance where necessary.
  5. Re-treat stubborn spots by spraying more warm water and waiting a few minutes.

Fabric Softener and Water

  1. In a spray bottle, combine equal parts water and fabric softener. Shake and spray the wallpaper with the mixture.
  2. Use a putty knife or scraper to scrape the border off after the solution penetrates for five to ten minutes.
  3. Use white vinegar instead of fabric softener if you want an eco-friendly solution.

 Heat Gun or Wallpaper Steamer

When removing wallpaper borders from painted walls, use a wallpaper steamer or heat gun (a hairdryer may work in a pinch).

When the glue on the border has melted, peel it back with your scraper.

Wear protective gloves, clothing, and safety goggles if using a steamer or heat gun. Steamers drip hot water, and heat guns can burn skin.

If you’re trying to salvage wallpaper with a border attached, don’t use a heat gun or steamer to remove the border-the. Heat may also melt the glue, causing the wallpaper to bubble and separate.

Chemical Wallpaper Remover

When removing particularly stubborn wallpaper borders, use a wallpaper scoring tool to score the paper every 6 to 12 inches. You only need a little pressure to achieve a hole in the paper; if you press too hard, you will damage your wall. Removing the border will be easier if the solution penetrates the backing.

With the putty knife, lift the paper in large chunks using the same method as above.

Add more remover if necessary, waiting 5 minutes for it to penetrate the glue.

Follow the directions on the label of a wallpaper removal product if the paper still does not come off.

Orbital Sander

You can sand away the top layer of wallpaper border pieces with an orbital sander with 40-60 grit paper.

Then, using a putty knife, remove the remnants of the border after removing the top layer of backing with warm water.

The wallpaper border should easily peel off and not pull up the wallpaper along with it when you are trying to salvage the wallpaper underneath. Any other method will likely cause damage to the wallpaper if it proves stubborn. 

In addition, depending on how much sunlight the room receives, the wallpaper under the border may appear darker. Consider whether saving the wallpaper is worth your time and effort.


Wallpaper borders are an excellent way to enhance the design of a room by creating an eye-catching frame around your wallpapers. If you want to remove the existing one from your walls and replace it with a bold new design, you’ll first have to learn how to remove the old wallpaper border from the walls properly. 

For further assistance with wallpaper removal and more, feel free to reach out to us, Dundee Deco today!

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