Taking down wallpaper is a pain. That’s why there are so many blog posts and online articles about how to do it. There really is no way to make this process not messy, and unless you have strippable wallpaper, it’s going to take awhile. We were lucky enough to have strippable wallpaper in one part of our new house, not so lucky in the kitchen and bathroom.
The previous owners put washable/waterproof wallpaper in the kitchen and bathroom (which makes sense, I don’t blame them for doing that). The problem with taking down washable wallpaper is that you have to strip off the entire top layer in order to get to the backing and take that off. The previous owners clearly were wallpaper hanging virtuosos or paid a professional to do it, because it was hung very well with tight seams and the right glue and all that jazz. Doesn’t really make it any easier to take down.
The tight seams were actually a problem when trying to take the wallpaper down. I couldn’t get my fingernails under the top layer anywhere to strip it off. That’s where my favorite wallpaper removal tool came into play. And it’s not the paper tiger (though I use that for scoring the backing). My favorite tool is the humble utility knife!
It allows you to pull up the top layer from one of those tight seams by sliding it under the top layer. Just be careful not to gouge your wall. I did a few times, but with how the utility knife sped things up and saved my fingernails, I’m happy to just patch the damage I did.