Easiest Way to Take Off a Wallpaper Border

Alexis Lawrence

Removing wallpaper border can be a difficult process. Wallpaper glue is made to adhere the border to the wall for years, so if you want to get a border down, the hardest part is breaking through the glue.

There are a few products on the market that have been specifically created to cut through wallpaper glue, but there is also a simple glue removal solution that you can make yourself.

Score the Paper

Whatever type of solution you use to break down the glue that is holding the wallpaper border to the wall, you need to make sure it gets through to the glue. Solutions designed for wallpaper removal are made to soak through the wallpaper, but you can aid in this process by scoring the wallpaper before the solution is applied. Create small slits in the wallpaper, allowing the solution to get behind the border directly to the glue.

Wallpaper borders can be scored in one of two ways. The first is by using a wallpaper scoring tool, designed to make the exact depth of cuts needed to slice through the wallpaper or wallpaper border without damaging the wall beneath. These tools will also lift the wallpaper border away from the wall slightly, which makes it even easier to get your wallpaper glue removal solution down inside the paper. Tools made by different manufacturers work differently, so read the included directions before using the tool.

If you don’t want to buy a new tool, scoring can also be done with a utility knife. Make a diagonal cut into the border, applying just enough pressure to break through the paper, and then make another diagonal cut across the first cut to create an X. Place Xs about every foot across the border. When scoring with a utility knife, you must be very careful not to cut too deeply and damage the walls.

Mix a Solution

There are commercial wallpaper removers available that come in gel form and can be sprayed onto the surface to break down the wallpaper glue. You can create your own solution that works the same way by combing hot water with fabric softener. Place 4 cups of fabric softener in a bucket, and fill the bucket with the hottest water that you can comfortably handle. Apply the fabric softener solution to the scored wallpaper border with a sponge and let it sit for 20 minutes. After the border has sat in the solution, it should peel right off.