Dexter Style

Popcorn I have completed the popcorn ceiling removal in one room (if you don’t count the closet and linen closet – 90% done).  I have shifted over to do the living/dining room area.  There are a few steps involved in removing the popcorn.  You will also need to pick up a few items.


Here are the materials you will need:

– Plastic sheeting
– Painters tape
– Dust mask
– Protective goggles
– Wide putty knife
– Ladder
– Garden sprayer – I used a 1 gallon version similar to this.

– Optional – small sprayer (empty Windex bottle will do)

1.  You need to make sure your popcorn ceiling doesn’t contain asbestos by having it tested.  The house I was working in is only 12 years old so we skipped this step.

All Taped Up2.  You need to Dexterize your room.  Fans of Dexter will know that this means you wrap the room with plastic.  Unlike Dexter, you don’t want to cover the ceiling.  You want to make sure your floors and walls are protected.  Popcorn ceilings are pretty much joint compound, but you don’t want to pick it out of your flooring (in our case berber carpets). I taped the plastic sheeting right up next to the popcorn using painters tape. Make sure you overlap the sheeting on the walls and floors.

3. You need to fill up your garden sprayer with water.  I like the 1 gallon size.  It was very easy to haul around and I didn’t have to worry about over filling it.  Don your protective goggles and dust mask (you definitely need these).  Pressurize your sprayer and spray a 4×4 area on the ceiling.  I then waited 10 minutes and sprayed it again as well as an extra 4×4 area.  Next you will use a wide putty knife or you can buy a specialized scraper.  I used a putty knife, but I wish I had the scraper to try.

Getting It Done4.  You will take your putty knife at an angle and gently push/scrape the popcorn off the ceiling.  If you find the popcorn isn’t practically falling off, you will need to spray again with water.  Be careful to not soak the drywall underneath the popcorn or it can easily be damaged while you are scraping. I like to take a small sprayer with me.  You will find some spots that are thicker and need a bit more water to soften up and remove.


My ToolsWe will use lightweight spackle to fix any damage.  Afterwards we will need to sand where any damage was as well as sanding over the areas where the builders skim coated.  It needs to be as smooth as possible.   Then we will be able to just prime and paint the ceiling.  Once that’s done, we will finally be able to paint the walls. Yay!

This was great exercise for me.  I got 7k steps just from going up and down the ladder, constantly shifting the ladder, and spraying the water.  If I can do this, anyone can.



Wallpaper – Ugh!

Have I ever mentioned how much I detest wallpaper?  When my parents moved into their current house I was 6 years old and my mom allowed me to help decorate my room.  I picked wallpaper.  Lots of wallpaper.  When I was in 11th grade I decided to rip down the wallpaper (I will have to find a picture).  All four walls of my room were completely covered in wallpaper.  After removing it all, I decided that I would never do wallpaper in my home.  At the time I didn’t really consider border wallpaper real wallpaper.

I used border wallpaper in my sons’ room when he was younger.  I painted below the border and while I loved how it looked, I didn’t realize that there would be a line from the paint that I would have to deal with later.  I also learned that you should prime your walls before you put a border up.  Otherwise your wallpaper can have a tendency to pull off the paper of your drywall (you can imagine how I found that out).

Now we have a new place that we are updating.  The lovely couple that lived in the home put borders way up next to the popcorn ceilings in four rooms and a bathroom.  I have never liked popcorn ceilings as I feel they absorb the light instead of reflecting it around a room.  I will be dealing with the ceilings after I finish getting off the border.  Since the border abuts the ceiling it’s a bit more difficult to remove.

I have learned to wear gloves.  Popcorn ceilings will tear your hands up if you don’t.  I wasn’t thinking when I started this project and didn’t bring gloves with me.  Since the new place is an hour and a half from home I just dealt with it. You can bet I will have them next time I head out.  Here is a list of what I use to take off wallpaper borders.

  • Large bucket (large enough to fit my mop in it)
  • Mop (and a replacement head) – Mine is similar to this one.  I like the roller mops but you can also use this.
  • Scrubber sponge
  • Wallpaper scorer
  • 4″ Putty knife – either plastic or metal. I used metal but I have read that some people feel you damage the walls easier.
  • Gloves – optional
  • Step ladder – Size of the ladder is up to you.  Mine has two steps.

First move everything off and away from the walls.  You don’t want the paste from the wallpaper to get on anything (especially fabric).  Take your scorer and gently score your wall paper.  If you push too hard you will mark the walls (and yes, I have done this).  If you push too far over the edge of the wallpaper you will mark the walls (and yes, I have done this too).  I like to have lots of score marks.  The more marks, the easier it is to have water penetrate to the glue and loosen it up.  However, the more marks you have, the easier it is to mark the walls. So, don’t have too many or too few score lines (how’s that for not being specific).

Once your done scoring all the paper, fill a bucket with hot water.  Get your mop wet and wipe it over the wall paper.  Depending on your wallpaper (acrylic or paper) you will see some water absorb a bit into the paper.  I like to go around my entire area twice to make sure it has absorbed enough water.  Then take your putty knife and scrape up an edge of the wallpaper.  I then gently pull on the paper with one hand while scraping with the other.  If you find the water hasn’t soaked through you may need to score the paper more.

Once I have gotten off all I can, I go back over the area with a damp scrubber sponge.  This allows me to get rid of any residual paste as well as any small bits of paper that might be remaining.  With the wallpaper all the way up to the popcorn ceiling, I find that about 1/4 inch of the paper will often still be on the wall as I can’t reach it with a scorer.  I take the scrubber sponge and dampen it then wipe it over the remaining area.  I let it sit for a few minutes then use my putty knife and scrape off the rest.

Once I have removed the border and paste I replace my mop head and use a hot water and simple green (cleaner) mix to clean the walls.  Afterwards I like to sit back and admire my work while waiting for Advil to kick in for any sore muscles I might have.  There are many way to remove wallpaper borders.  This is just how I prefer to do it.



Fill half way

Fill half way

Gently remove

Gently remove

Simple Green Cleaner

Simple Green Cleaner


















It has been quite a while since I posted.  Life has certainly been keeping all of us busy.  I am happy to say that my papasan chair came back from the upholsterers.  I absolutely love it.  I haven’t put it in my room where it belongs for two reasons.  The first is that I banged it into some white trim when I took it to get worked on and I need to fix that area.  The second is that the room is in total upheaval.  The bed in the room is being borrowed until October so things are a bit scattered around the room.

P1010671In the meantime, I have done a quick reupholster of some fold up chairs that are also being borrowed.  The original fabric was beige and with 2 young kids (and many more kids on Holidays) they are quite stained.  I bought some upholstery fabric for the chairs that would allow me to cover all 6 chairs.

P1010675First you need to gather a few tools.  I have a powershot staple gun (about $20 at a hardware store), staples (ack forgot to take a picture), screwdriver, hammer and scissors.

P1010673Next I unscrewed the seat from the chair.  Make sure that you have a container to hold all your screws so you don’t lose them.  I usually put them in a ziplock bag and tape them to the chair so they don’t get lost.

P1010677Place the seat bottom in the center of your fabric making sure that all sides will wrap around the seat.  This was my last chair and I had cut the fabric a bit short.  I should have given myself another inch.  Then put your staples into your staple gun.  I put a staple into the middle of the front of the chair.  This is the area most people will see first so I like to make sure that it looks good.  Once you have stapled down one side, switch to the opposite side.  This time you will pull the fabric taut while stapling once again in the middle.

P1010680P1010684Next comes the corners which are the hardest part.  I make little tiny pleats on the corner.  Then I use two or three staples to keep it in place.   Once done, I trim off the excess fabric and screw the bottom back on the chair frame.  It’s a fairly quick process. I didn’t time it, but I would estimate that its 5-10 minutes per chair depending on your skill level.

This is my favorite type of project it is quick and the results are immediate.

Take care y’all