As promised, here’s our tutorial on how to hide an ugly ceiling with paintable wallpaper!
The Little House was built in 1940, but we’re pretty sure (after more demo this weekend) that our office was once a screened in back porch that was enclosed sometime in the 1960s. The thing about the 1960s is that they didn’t always use the most attractive building materials.
Take acoustic ceiling tiles, for example. They’re ugly. Really ugly. And after 50 years of hanging out on our ceiling, they were dated, yellowed, and all-around gross.
So, while we wanted the tiles gone in the worst way, we didn’t want to tackle tearing the entire ceiling out (it’s not in our budget right now). Instead, we decided to cover them up. We originally thought to plank them a la The Lettered Cottage, but when my mom suggested paintable wainscot wallpaper we decided to give it a go.
We went with Roth + Allen Paintable Beadboard Wallpaper from Lowes. It was a little beefier than the other paintable wainscot they carried, albeit a little more expensive. We needed three rolls which set us back $60.
The first step in wallpapering your ceiling is to make sure it’s debris free. We took a broom to ours to knock down any cobwebs or dust that might hanging out (not that we’d EVER let cobwebs or dust see the light of day in the Little House).
Next, measure and cut your wallpaper pieces. This requires a little planning ahead to minimize the waste on each roll. The office is 8’x16′, so we decided to go with roughly 8′ strips. You’ll want your strips to be slightly longer than your wall. Because the roll was 33′ long, we knew we could get four strips with a little extra on each and have basically no waste.
When you have your wallpaper cut, soak it according to package directions (if it’s prepasted). Ours required a thirty second soak in warm water, then a five minute rest to allow the adhesive to activate (ignore the tile… it’s next on the remodel list).
Once your wallpaper paste has has sufficient time to do its thing, you’re ready to hang. This really is a two person job, so make sure to have your best DIY buddy handy. Other things you’ll want to have: a sharp utility knife, a ladder, and an old, wet rag.
Start about one wallpaper’s width from the wall. If you don’t have a convenient ceiling tile grid to help you line up your first piece, you’ll want to mark a straight line using a chalk line.
Now comes the challenging part: hanging the wallpaper. It’s flimsy. It’s slimy. It’s awkward. You may think that there’s no way it’ll cling to your ceiling, but have faith. It will. It’s hard to explain how to do this, so the video below shows Kevin and I hanging our third piece of wallpaper.
Once you get the paper to stick to the ceiling along your straight line, you’ll want to remove the bubbles. You can use a plastic wallpaper bubble remover, but I prefer a damp rag. Just start in the middle of the paper and work your way towards the ends, smoothing any bubbles out towards the edges and wiping up any excess adhesive that might squooge out.
Once the bubbles are smoothed out, you can cut the excess off using a sharp utility knife. You can use a straightedge here, but I chose to freehand it (because I’m a daring rebel like that).
Repeat until you cover the entire ceiling. We even wallpapered right over our air vent and light fixture electrical box, then cut them out after.
The paper we used recommended 24 hours dry time before painting, so when you’re done give it a day or so before painting. You may wake up to find a few seams have opened up. These are easy to fix with a tube of wallpaper seam glue (our tube was $2).
We trimmed and rolled the paint on as we would normally paint a ceiling, opting to go for two coats for really good coverage.
And that’s it. All together, the ceiling took about 4 1/2 hours to complete) three to hang the wallpaper, 1 1/2 to glue the seams and paint) and cost less than $100 ($60 for the paper, $2 for the seam glue, and $23 for paint).
We’re in love with the results. They’re better than we’d even imagined at the start.
Let’s just see it one more time for comparison’s sake.
Better, no? And all for $85.