How to Remove a Sticker-Backed Wallpaper Border


Wallpaper borders add a nice finishing touch to your painted or wallpapered walls. Putting borders up takes some concentration and effort and taking down adhesive-backed wallpaper borders requires the same. While removing your wallpaper borders is a task that requires some effort it can be done using supplies from your home and the local hardware store. Once completed, you'll be ready to apply a new adhesive-backed wallpaper border or a fresh coat of paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Perforating tool
  • Spray bottle or mister
  • Fabric softener
  • Bucket
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Extra lambswool rollers
  • Scraper
  • Sponge
  • Score the wallpaper border lightly using a perforating tool if the border has a vinyl or plastic coating. Unless the coating is perforated, it will prevent water or any solution from soaking through to the adhesive.

  • Mist the wallpaper border with water if the border has been laid down over wallpaper. This will often be enough to loosen it sufficiently to be scraped off without further treatment. If this works, proceed to step 7. Otherwise continue with step 3.

  • Pour one capful of fabric softener into the bucket and add one quart of water. Swish the solution around to mix it. Pour some of the solution into a paint tray.

  • Dip the paint roller into your fabric softener solution and move it back and forth to wet it completely. Then hold the roller over the paint tray to allow excess solution to drip off.

  • Apply the solution directly onto the adhesive-backed wallpaper border by rolling the paint roller back and forth over it. Allow the solution to sit on the wallpaper for a few minutes. The fabric softener helps to break down the sticky adhesive much in the same way as commercial wallpaper removal products.

  • Scrape the adhesive-backed wallpaper border off the wall using your scraper. If pieces of the border still adhere to the wall, apply more fabric softener solution with your paint roller, allow it to sit a few more minutes, then scrape off the remaining border.

  • Dip a clean sponge in a bucket of warm water and wipe the area where the wallpaper border has been removed. Rinse the sponge frequently to remove as much adhesive as possible. This will wash away any residue from the adhesive, as well as the fabric softener solution. Allow the wall to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • For very sticky adhesive-backed wallpaper borders, pour straight fabric softener onto a sponge and apply directly to the border, allowing it to soak in.
  • Wear old clothes and lay old towels or sheets on the floor as this job can be messy.

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  • Photo Credit bucket image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from paint rolller image by Wayne Abraham from scraper image by timur1970 from sponge for cleaning image by Serghei Velusceac from
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