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How to Repair Damaged Wallpaper

Make a nearly invisible patch in damaged wallpaper using this simple technique. Fix the damaged wall at the same time.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

How to Repair Damaged Wallpaper

Make a nearly invisible patch in damaged wallpaper using this simple technique. Fix the damaged wall at the same time.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Make an invisible patch in wallpaper

Your doorknob has slammed into the wall one too many times, and now it's punched clear through. The worst wall to repair is one covered with wallpaper. Not only must you repair the wall surface, but you've got to undertake the tricky task of installing an “invisible” wallpaper patch. Budget about two hours over two days to repair the wall. As you work, apply these tips:

  • Select a repair patch from a section of a leftover paper roll that matches both the vertical and the horizontal pattern in the existing wallpaper. This can be tricky (and sometimes impossible) if the damaged hole is near a vertical seam that overlaps or has separated (Photo 1).
  • When positioning and cutting the repair patch (Photo 2), don't wet it or apply paste.
  • To avoid ragged cuts, put a new blade in your knife. Double-cut through both the new patch and old wallpaper (Photo 2). Remove the patch and carefully scrape off the old wallpaper.
  • If you nick the wall surface when scraping off the old paper, fill the nicks with joint compound and sand the repairs flat.
  • Before applying the patch (Photo 4), seal the repaired wall by brushing on a coat of wallpaper sizing or oil-based primer. This step ensures a tighter bond between the wallpaper patch and the wall.
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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Metal straightedge
    • Utility knife
    • Taping knife

You'll also need a wallpaper brush.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Extra wallpaper
    • Drywall compound
    • Primer

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