How To Prep Your Walls For Temporary Wallpaper (Detailed Instructions)

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Wallpaper has been proven to be a cost-effective and visually pleasing way to decorate your walls. However, traditional wallpaper comes with too many disadvantages. Not only is it hard to apply on the wall, but it also runs the risk of being messy. So what can you do to fix the problem?

The answer is simple enough: let’s switch to removable wallpaper. With some tips and tricks on how to prep your walls for temporary wallpaper, you will soon see the merits of choosing this alternative over the traditional one. Stay with us until the end to find out!

What You Need Before Prepping The Walls

Priming your walls before applying the removable wallpaper is no rocket science. First off, make sure you have the following tools:

  • A bucket of acrylic primer and alkyd primer: It guarantees a certain level of smoothness on the wall’s surfaces so that the self-adhesive wallpaper can hold up nicely.
  • Pre-mixed vinyl spackle: The substance repairs the dents and cracks on your walls if there are any.
  • A piece of microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol: This combination cleans up your walls thoroughly.
  • Sandpaper or lining paper: Which one to choose depending on how textured your walls are.
  • A bottle of de-glossing solution: This is only required if your walls are made from wooden panels.

Once your toolkit is already assembled, it’s time to get to work.

How To Prep The Walls For Temporary Wallpaper (Step By Step Instructions)

Temporary wallpaper is compatible with many types of walls, and each wall has a different procedure for wall-priming.

Painted drywall


Step 1: Dip the microfiber cloth in isopropyl alcohol, then gently wash the entire walls to remove any dirt and dust. Wait for the walls to dry up completely.

Step 2: Next up, check out and see if the walls have cracks and holes. If your walls are older than a few years, the chances are high. Use vinyl spackle to fill up these fractures. Once again, wait until the newly fixed walls are dry.

Step 3: Use a piece of wet sandpaper and scrub it all over the spackle-filled spots. If you think your walls are textured, scrub the sandpaper on the entire wall. Again, you can have a look at this Youtube video for visual assistance. 

Step 4: Apply a layer of acrylic primer on the walls to ensure a flat surface. 

Non-painted drywall

Step 1: Use the alkyd primer to create a coating on your walls. Since they are not yet painted, the primer can provide your walls with protection against mildew. 

Step 2: Apply the second coating using acrylic primer. You might want to double down the amount of primer to make sure it smoothens the walls.

Wooden panels

Step 1: Dip the microfiber cloth in the de-glossing solution and scrub it on the panels. This chemical removes any oil and grease stuck in the woods and makes wallpapering more effortless.

Step 2: Since wooden panels are not a consistent surface like walls, you need to fill in the grooves so that the wallpaper does not get distorted. Next, pour the joint compound – vinyl spackle – into each groove, and allow the spackle to dry up completely. Repeat this step several times until the grooves disappear.

Step 3: Wash the wall again with isopropyl alcohol and let it dry.

Walls already wallpapered


Step 1: Mix water and wallpaper remover solvent in a sprayer, then spray it all over the wall. Let the solution soak the entire wall for at least 20 minutes.

Step 2: Use a putty knife or a scraper to peel the old wallpaper away. Make sure to do this slowly so as not to leave any strips of wallpaper behind.

Step 3: Fill up the holes and cracks with a vinyl spackle. There will be plenty after you scale off the old wallpaper, so remember not to forget any spot.

Step 4: If the wall underneath is already painted, all you need to do is apply a coating of acrylic primer. If it is not painted, use the alkyd primer and then the acrylic primer later.


1. What is temporary wallpaper?

Also known as peel-and-stick wallpaper, temporary wallpaper has a self-adhesive backing that sticks to a surface without glue. Furthermore, temporary wallpaper can easily be peeled off a surface using sheer force, and it leaves no permanent damage to the walls.


2. What are the advantages of using temporary wallpaper?

As temporary wallpaper is removable, it is highly suitable for housing occupancy that lasts only a short time. For example, you can consider using temporary wallpaper for renters. This gives renters a chance to be creative in their personal space while the state of your walls is not compromised. 

Furthermore, removable wallpaper tends to be cheaper than traditional ones, which allows you the freedom to be a bit reckless around your walls. No more fussing over wine accidentally staining over the wallpaper. No more worries about food getting smeared. And if you have kids, nothing is more accompanied to their rooms than self adhesive nursery wallpaper.

Last but not least, temporary wallpaper is reusable, which means you can peel it off from the original surface and stick it somewhere else if you like!

3. Do you need to overlap the temporary wallpaper?

Yes, it is essential that you overlap different sheets of wallpaper to create a seamless look. Make sure to watch out for the patterns so that the walls do not end up looking awkward.

4. How soon can you wallpaper over freshly painted walls?

You should wait at least a month before putting on the wallpaper. 


Now that you have read through our guidelines on how to prep your walls for temporary wallpaper, let’s get down to business. Gather the necessary gadgets, pick out the wallpaper designs, and start working right away!