Death to ivy

As promised, I have pictures to show how I (finally!) eradicated the ivy from my bathroom. I can’t believe I lived with it for this long, but I knew I’d get around to ripping it out one day and I’m so glad it’s gone! Once you see the pics, I think you’ll agree.

Apologies in advance for the mediocre photos. The bathroom is very small and has no natural light, so it certainly isn’t the prettiest thing to photograph. And of course I’m not particularly skilled at taking pictures either!

So this is what it looked like before. You will see both the ivy border and the carefully painted green stripes between the ceiling tiles, as I’ve described before.

It’s sort of impressive in its ugliness, isn’t it?

Earlier in the week I went to Home Depot and picked up some wallpaper removal stuff. I’ll take a picture of all the supplies later for reference. But for this stage I used just a few things: some wallpaper removal spray, a paper scraper thing (basically a razor blade attached to a plastic handle), and some rags (an old towel cut up). I also used some sandpaper but that comes in later.

For actually removing the wallpaper, I had NO CLUE how to do that, but my brother in a very hilarious comment on an earlier post of mine suggested I actually use a wallpaper removal product rather than some of the sketchy things people were suggesting on the internets. I guess using hairdryers, vinegar, and other such things is probably an attempt to avoid using  chemicals. But you know what? Chemicals work. :-)

I also didn’t know whether to get a wallpaper perforator thing, or scraper thing … or both. The guy at Home Depot told me the scraper would be enough. But he also couldn’t help me find primer to save my life. So I was like, “Um dude. Do you really know anything about this.” But still, I trusted him, because I am a naturally trusting person. And also, because I didn’t want to buy BOTH the scraper and the perforator. They were $8 each, and the project is small, and I’ll not be needing them again anytime soon, and there are a lot of things I’d rather spend $8 than a wallpaper perforator/scraper. Like more Burt’s Bees lip balm. I always need more of those (the pomegranate kind).

But anyway, those were my supplies — and they were really all I needed to make that awful ivy go FAR FAR AWAY. FOREVER.

Probably if I had actually bought the perforator in addition to the scraper, it would have gone faster. But like I said, this was a small project anyway and I don’t care if it took a bit longer than it had to. After playing around with it I got it down to a few steps:

1. Spray a section of wallpaper with the remover spray. Soak it good, baby!! I used one of my rags to catch any drips. Because the wallpaper was kinda glossy it would run right off. Let that soak in for a minute or two.

2. Start scraping. Sometimes the top, glossy, printed layer would peel right off, leaving a papery white layer underneath. Or sometimes it would come off in chunks. Whatever works to get that stuff off the wall!

3. Once you’ve peeled and scraped off everything you can, soak what’s left of the border with the remover spray again. This time, with much of the glossy top layer gone, the liquid should sink in better.

4. While it’s wet-ish, keep scraping until the rest of the border is gone. There will be wet, gloppy pieces of paper everywhere but I didn’t slow down to clean up – I just cleaned it all up once about halfway through and then again when it was all done.

5. Use the rag again to brush off any bits of wallpaper that have been loosened but aren’t falling off because they’re wet and sticky.

It took me part of the morning and most of the afternoon (although I did take a lot of breaks to text my sister), but finally I made it all the way around the perimeter of the bathroom until I only had a teeny tiny bit left…

And then it was all gone.

I can’t believe how much (relatively) cleaner and brighter the walls look, and the ceiling seems higher too without all that ivy crouched up there under the ceiling, sucking the life out of the room. Creepy stuff. Of course, the green ceiling stripes look worse than ever but they’re next on my hit list. Thank goodness.

I had to add one more step to finish up the wallpaper-removal phase of this project. This next picture is a close-up of the wall after all the wallpaper has been removed. It’s hard to see especially in a photo, but if you look VERY closely you can see the outline of the border still on the wall even though it’s been removed. It looks like a grayish shadow running horizontally along the wall in the center of the photo:

That, my friends, is a line which I believe is caused by the people who put in the border painting over the edge of it to try to help it blend into the wall. Maybe. Possibly. Probably. I don’t really know, because I can’t conceive of why anyone would put an ivy border up in the first place, not to mention then tackily slapping paint all along the edge. I don’t get it. But anyway, it’s kind of a gray color and I’m sure when I paint the walls white it will get covered up, but it was actually creating a kind of ridge you could feel if you ran your hand over it. So I went around the room and sanded that down until it felt smooth. Hopefully there will be no ridges in the wall when it’s done, and the paint will cover everything up.

You can also see in the above picture that apparently the walls used to be a goldy-yellow color. I’m SO glad that’s not in there anymore!

And THAT is the end of my first ever wallpaper removal project. Yay! The next step is definitely going to be the hardest and most time-consuming: painting over the green ceiling stripes. :-( I’m really not looking forward to that! I’ve been trying to think of ways to make it easier, but I think I just need to pick up some primer and get to work. Sigh. I thought about sanding it, but because it’s on the ceiling it’s a really awkward angle, and I’ve tried a little bit with very limited success. So we’ll see. All I know is, I’ll get that green off somehow. Hoping to get started on it this weekend. It will probably take a few coats, but I’ll keep you guys posted on my progress!

See you back here for the next installment …. in the meantime, have a great weekend!

One comment

  1. Naomie

    Wow! That ivy really was hideous! But it looks waaay better now! Maybe Caleb will have some more bright ideas for the green striped ceiling. :D Good luck!!

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