How to Remove Old Wallpaper From Dollhouses

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Restoring old dollhouses is not just child's play.
Restoring old dollhouses is not just child's play. (Image: Vintage Doll image by gsmith from Fotolia.com)

Building and decorating dollhouses has been a hobby and pastime for hundreds of years in Europe, and the art of creating miniature furnishings for tiny houses was popularized and mass produced in America in the 1800s. Once thought to be a toy for the delight of children, dollhouses have now been recognized by museums who display fine examples of dollhouses through the ages. Buying an old dollhouse and restoring it with new furnishings and accouterments can be fun, and removing old wallpaper from dollhouse rooms is easily done with warm water, vinegar and a putty knife.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing needle
  • Putty knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Spackling compound

Remove all miniature furnishings from the dollhouse, including all fixtures that can be detached from the surface of walls, ceilings and floors. Take out anything that could be damaged by contact with water.

Sweep out all dust and loose dirt from the dollhouse with a soft brush.

Poke numerous small holes into the surface of the wallpaper that is to be removed, being careful to not press too deeply into the wall behind it. Use a sewing needle or the tip of a sharp knife to accomplish this, or you may use a tool called a wallpaper piercing tool (available at hardware stores). Cover the wallpaper with holes throughout.

Wet the surface of the wallpaper using a spray bottled filled with a solution of equal parts warm water and vinegar, which will soak through the holes you've made in the wallpaper and soften the glue affixing it to the walls of the dollhouse. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Slip the corner of a putty knife beneath an edge or corner of the wallpaper, and gently peel it from the wall. Spray more solution of warm water and vinegar if the glue has not quite loosened, and use the tip of the putty knife to scrap away the old wallpaper.

Continue the process of gently pulling the wallpaper from the wall, spraying more warm water and vinegar solution, and scraping the paper off the wall with the aid of putty knife.

Spray the newly-bare walls of the dollhouse with a solution of warm water and trisodium phosphate, which can be purchased at hardware stores. Allow the solution to soak into the old glue still left on the walls, then gently scrape the glue off with the edge of the putty knife.

Fill any holes you may have made in the removal process with spackling compound, then allow to dry overnight. Sand the walls smooth with a fine sandpaper to prepare the surface for painting or a new layer of wallpaper.

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