Home » How to: DIY Wall repair after Wallpaper Removal

If you’ve recently started a painting project only to realize you’ll need to remove wallpaper followed by a wall repair project, don’t panic – I can show you how to fix it WITHOUT replacing the drywall. 

wall repair

Hello, hello! Welcome back for week #2 of the latest round of the One Room Challenge hosted by Calling It Home. We continue working towards making our formal dining room into a multi-purpose playroom with dining room potential. Our primary focus this week was on getting the room painted.  We ran into problems immediately, as our home’s previous owners had painted over wallpaper not firmly affixed to the wall. Moisture getting underneath the loose paper resulted in significant air bubbles under the paint and forced us to remove the wallpaper before painting. Progress came to a screeching halt – as likely happened in your project!

Dining Room Makeover


If you’ve recently started a painting project only to realize you’ll need not only to remove wallpaper but also do some DIY Wall Repair, don’t panic – there is a way to fix this WITHOUT replacing the drywall – In seven easy steps!



DIY Wall repair after wallpaper removal


1 Remove as much of the wallpaper as you can. If you’re working with vinyl wallpaper, the vinyl top will pull away easily, leaving the glued paper backing stuck to the wall. You can use a solution of fabric softener and warm water to remove a large portion of this. A heat gun will also help to soften the glue and move the process along more quickly. If you’re dealing with paper wallpaper, such as we were, use a putty knife and your fingers to scrape as much paper off as you can!wall repair - paper removed after


2 Use a rough cloth or sponge with either 1:4 vinegar and water or wallpaper paste remover to remove residual glue. Rinse with water and let dry.
wall repair_zinsser


3 If you also removed part of the drywall paper, you’ll need to seal this paper with an oil based primer before applying any spackle patches. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a drywall paper bubbling mess. We like Zinsser shellac-based primer. Apply it directly to the paper, let dry.
4 Sand and scrape the wall after priming to remove any remaining paper and smooth down any rough areas. Re-prime and repeat as needed until there are no loose paper edges exposed.
wall repair - fill large gouges


Fill any large gouges and holes with 2-3 thin coats of drywall compound – the smoother the finish, the less sanding you’ll have to do. Be sure to feather the mud at least a few inches out past the damaged areas for easier sanding.
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6 On the areas where there the drywall paper was removed, we ran a skim coat over the entire surface because the damage was so extensive.



7 We’re not professional drywallers. As a result, our finish is usually less than smooth. Use a damp cloth to wash away large bumps and lumps of drywall compound, then sand smooth. Apply drywall primer, let dry, then paint to your heart’s content!


We choose a lovely greige neutral, Glidden’s ‘Smooth Stone’ in an eggshell finish, for greater washability and added brightness.

Finally, we have a fully painted room!

So, there is a bit more painting to do, and there are still a few things to come in on order. We’ve got to get cracking on the building of the table and completing the built-ins. I also still need to find artwork. I’m seriously considering the purchase of a paint sprayer in the coming weeks. Maybe Santa will gift me early!  Wish me luck!

dining room_makeover_header

Be sure to take a peek at all of the other participants as well! Some AMAZING designs are coming out of this challenge – you don’t want to miss it!

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  1. Iris Watts says:

    Now that's a to-do list! Whew! Glad y'all had success getting the walls fixed and painted, and can move forward with other projects. It can get a bit stressful when taking on DIY project during this challenge, that's for sure. Just remember it's going to look amazing when you are done!

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Iris! I can see how easy it would be to get really discouraged. Maybe panicked. Likely stressed. No, definitely stressed. lol! It's so much fun though! On my way to your blog now! 🙂

  2. ms shoe says:

    Please share information on the rug. It is gorgeous! Love that you can pull out different colors. Our family room is the most used room in the house, and I do like to change accessories with the seasons, or just because! I get bored, and it is cheaper than moving or therapy. 🙂

    • admin says:

      Ack! How could I forget the source for the rug – by far my favorite thing right now! I too love the colors. I wasn't sure I was going to like it when I picked it up but I really do adore it – you can find it at World Market, although, be warned that they've sold out of the 8'x10' size. I think we're soul mates – changing accessories IS therapy! 🙂

    • ms shoe says:

      Thank you for the link! Agree–changing accessories is therapy. Once upon a time I was a kindergarten teacher, and worked for a principal who thought all bulletin boards should be changed once a month. You would not believe how many shower curtains I own. When the first of the month is looming, I have to change something!

  3. Kristin Thompson says:

    Love all of the different pops of color! And kudos for getting those walls done 🙂 Kristin @ Postbox Designs

    • admin says:

      Thanks Kristin! I have to admit there might have been a moment where I thought about moving the built-ins to THAT wall just to not have to deal any longer, or even worse, just putting a large sheet over it and calling it art. It might have worked. So glad you stopped by!

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Roxanne! I have to agree with you there.. DIY with two alphas.. recipe for a little bit of loudness at the least and the possibility of flying paint! lol! I'm heading over to take a look at your room!

  4. Kim I adore the direction that your room is headed towards! You did SO much better than I did in my room this week.

    I would love for you to share this post at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. I think our readers would really enjoy it!

    Good luck in the upcoming week!

  5. Lemons, Lavender, & Laundry says:

    Sorry you had to go through such a hard time with the painting. Frustrating! However, all your hard work certainly paid off. The room looks gorgeous!

  6. Stacey says:

    Love this already! That rug and the accessories you've found are going to be wonderful. The built in too.

    As one who has painted over wallpaper before, I'll just say sorry. I always wondered how that would go down the road.

    Thanks so much for joining Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Sure hope you'll join us again next week so we can keep up with your progress.

    Pinning. 🙂

  7. Laura says:

    You have created a wonderful design plan and that wall treatment is amazing.

    Thank you for sharing this at Thoughts of Home on Thursday.
    We are so glad you are here.

    White Spray Paint

  8. I need that rug in my life! I'm not even a rug person but I really like all the colours and there are so many possibilities to match paint/accessories. Hopefully the walls weren't too painful to patch up!

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