DIY Painting My Upstairs Hall To Look Like A Wallpaper Treatment

  • Tools:

  • Wagner wallpaper steamer            Plastic scrapper (to scrape wallpaper)
  • Rotary cutter                                   Self-healing mat
  • Putty knife                                       Spackle
  • Spray texture (orange peel)            Paint Brushes & Paint Rollers
  • Paint Tray                                       Drop Cloths
  • Primer and Paints                          TSP
  • Stencil &  Stencil brush                  Stencil Magic temporary adhesive
  • Bucket and sponge                        Frog tape

When we bought our house in 2000  the interior of the house was wallpapered. The upstairs all had wallpaper halfway up like wainscoting with wood trim. Unlike the floral wallpaper in the rest of the house, I actually liked the wallpaper the previous owners had selected for the hall. Unfortunately, by the time we moved in every wall and corner had dings or tears that had been spackled over.  A couple of years ago I decided it was time to fix the poorly patched hall. In the more than 20 years since the house had been built that wallpaper was discontinued. What to Do?

My upstairs hallway is partially visible from my front door, so I had to find something which wouldn’t clash with the reds, golds and greens of my lower floor. The original wall paper was a soft beige and white vertical stripe with a Victorian style scroll design about every two feet. It was subtle enough not to clash with either the colors on the first floor or the various colors schemes of the bedrooms upstairs. A solid color would be too boring with the wood molding in the middle of the wall, so I opted to recreate the look of that wallpaper with paint.


Step one-I steamed off all the wallpaper which took two days. Did I forget to mention that the upstairs hallway is actually three hallways that connect? If you have more than one room of wallpaper to remove I strongly suggest purchasing the Wagner Wallpaper steamer.

Step two- I washed the walls with TSP and water (follow directions on the box). To remove any remaining residue.

Step three-I spackled, patched and texturized the walls where needed.

Step Four-I taped off the wood trim, base boards and molding around doors, I put down drop cloths and Primed all the walls.

Step five- I selected two colors from the same beige color strip at Sherman Williams. The first color is so light that it looks almost pure white. The second was three shades darker and looks beige. My family seems to touch the walls as they walk through the house so I use the most durable paint in a satin finish. Matte may look nice, but not after a week in my house.

picture of walls with 2nd coat of darker beige paint.

Step six-I painted all the walls with two coats of the darker of the two colors, removed all tape from moldings and woodwork, and let it cure for three weeks. I learned the hard way that just because the paint can says it is dry enough to re-coat does not mean it is ready to tape over for a different color. If you apply tape to paint that hasn’t fully cured it will remove the paint with the tape, often down to the bare wall.

Step seven-I cut Frog tape to the desired widths. (Frog tape had just hit the market in my area and only came in one width at the time). I used my quilting rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat. Then wound the tape strips around drinking straws until I was ready to place them on the walls.

Frog tape cut to various widths and wrapped around drinking straws

Step eight-I went to several craft stores to find a stencil that would approximate the pattern in the original wall paper.

Step nine-After the first color had cured for three weeks, I reapplied painter’s tape to the woodwork and using a vertical level placed the frog tape I’d cut to various widths in my desired pattern.

Vertical level used to place tape for vertical stripes

Largest width of tape placed on wall first

Stripe pattern is created by adding more pieces of tape in varying widths on either side of the wide stripes

Stripe pattern is created by adding more pieces of tape in varying widths on either side of the wide stripes to finish the pattern

Step ten-I replaced the drop cloths and painted over the taped stripe sections of the wall with two coats of the second (lighter) color.

Paint is applied over tape stripes on wall

Step eleven- I opened the Stencil package and sprayed the backside (the side that will be against the wall) of each stencil with Stencil Magic temporary adhesive.

Step twelve-Following the directions on the Stencil package I place the first stencil on the wall and pounce paint using a special stencil brush onto the stencil. As shown in the picture above. I remove and reposition the stencil to the next spot by matching corresponding marks on the stencil. I repeat the process on all walls.

Stencil is repositioned down the wall to continue pattern

Step thirteen-I repeat the process in step thirteen using the second stencil piece. Depending on the stencil you choose you may have as few as one stencil piece or as many as six. Once finished I remove all the tape and voila!

finished upstairs hallway

Beaded Hoop Earrings


  • Round-nosed pliers
  • Flat or bent-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters


  • Bracelet sized memory wire
  • small beads
  • 2 jump rings
  • 2 fishhook ear wires


Assemble supplies and use wire cutters to cut two complete circles of memory wire.

small silver and red beads, two circles of memory wire, two jump rings, and two fishhook ear wires

Beaded hoop earring supplies

Using round-nosed pliers make a small loop perpendicular to the memory wire hoop at one end. Repeat on second memory wire hoop.

picture of memory wire circle with a small perpendicular loop at one endLoad desired beads onto hoops from straight end.

Beads placed on memory wire hoop open at one end.Once beads have been placed on the hoop make a second small loop on the remaining end of the memory wire.

memory wire hoop with beads on it and small perpendicular loops at either endUse flat or bent-nosed pliers to open each jump ring slightly.

Jump ring slightly opened by pliersPlace the two loops at either end of one hoop on the open jump ring. Add the ear wire and close the jump ring.

Finished beaded hoop earring with jump ring and earwire attachedYou can use any beads you like and place them on the hoop in any pattern that you like. These earrings are easy to make and make great gifts.

Examples of beaded hoop earrings

Painting From Photographs

Years ago a friend of mine took a landscape photograph of Mt. Hood with a body of water reflecting the mountain. In the middle of the water was a sandbar that split the reflection in two. At the time I was taking a watercolor class and we were experimenting with under-paintings. (We would wet the 140 lb cold pressed paper and drop wet paint into it letting it spread and blend to cover the entire paper. Once it dried we would paint a scene over.) I chose the Mt. hood scene and painted it exactly the way it looked in the photograph.

A watercolor of Mt. Hood reflected in a body of water containing a sandbar

First attempt at Mt. Hood Reflection watercolor

Once I finished my instructor promptly pointed out that while the photograph was interesting and made sense. My painting just looked weird since you couldn’t tell what the sandbar was (I’m sure she said it more eloquently.)

Watercolor painting of Mt. Hood reflected in body of water without sandbar

Finished Watercolor Painting of Mt. Hood

I was pleased with the under painting, foreground, background and reflection with the exception of the sandbar. I decided to repaint the entire watercolor and focus more on the end result of my artwork as opposed to getting everything to look exactly as the photo did. I learned the hard way that not all beautiful photographs can be transformed directly into art.

Many artists use photographs as a reference when painting. They allow us to capture a moment long enough to play around with technique, light and color. Painting a still life or a landscape using just our eyes presents certain challenges, light fades, sun sets, flowers wilt and fruit browns. Photographs allow us to get closer to our subject. I’ve used a camera to zoom in on the center of a flower, a bird nest in a tree, and an animal at the zoo. I’ve also created paintings combining several different photographs, one for the background and a second for the foreground. For example, I’ve taken a picture of roses blooming in the Portland Rose Garden and then painted those rose bushes in the front yard of a cottage I photographed on a trip in another state. As artists we strive to find the most visually pleasing subjects and take artistic license when necessary.

Combining different reference photographs is not uncommon, neither is eliminating unwanted subjects from a picture. I took a picture in Hawaii of turtles on the beach. The wide-angle shot included tourists and their belongings which I didn’t want in my painting, so I didn’t paint them in. There are artists who paint soup cans or trash and that is the subject of their painting, but rarely to people buy a painting because the telephone wires or trash by the roadside look realistic. These are things we can eliminate when we paint our city scape.

Shadows in photographs often appear gray, but shadows are an opportunity to add interest and color in a painting. If you study the Impressionists you’ll find that they combined colors to create shadows without using gray or black. It’s possible to change the colors of flowers, buildings, clothing or anything else. In a painting the night sky can be green and the grass purple. When I paint I’m most often changing colors to suit the room in which my painting will hang. A city scape for a person whose living room is gray calls for more colorful buildings of added color in the sky.

Before beginning a painting I study the photograph I’m referencing and decide what will stay and what will go. Do I want the blue sky in the photograph to have some clouds? Should I change the time of day from midday to sunset? Do I want to change the colors, or add colors? Where do I want my center of interest to be? Would the street scene look better without the people and cars?

Photograph taken of street in Paris

Street in Paris

With today’s technology anyone can be an artist. There’s an app for that! Whether you have an iPad or the equivalent MSN or Google tablet. Apps to turn your photographs into art include: My Sketch, Photo Sketcher, Etchings, Photoshop, AKVIS Sketch, Sketches Lite, Toon That, and Doodle Cam . These apps allow you to take a photo and turn it into a sketch, watercolor or cartoon. Some of them even allow you to remove unwanted people or objects. The finished product can then be saved and printed. If you wanted to then turn this into a larger piece of art you would need to go to a copy store that is capable of making prints larger than 11” X 14” and print it on acid free or archival quality paper.

Same photograph of Street in Paris using Sketch Me App

Same picture of Street in Paris after Sketch Me app is applied

My rules for DIY

I’m a DIY person, but have learned some hard lessons. I’ve had DIY projects cost me more in supplies than paying a pro. I’ve purchased tools that I’ve only used once and I’ve started projects that I’ve never finished. You name it I’ve probably made that mistake.

Now I ask myself five questions before I begin a project:

  • What does a professional charge to do this project?
  • Do I have the tools necessary to complete the project?
  • If I need to buy tools will they be expensive and will I use them in the future?
  • If the required tools are expensive can I rent them instead?
  • What is the total cost of the raw materials?
  • Do I have the skills?

When I get a quote from a pro I ask him to break down the costs of labor and materials. If the tools necessary do complete the work are on hand and I think I have the skills to do the work I will do it. However, If I need to rent or purchase tools that are expensive, it may be better to hire the professional. A Professional quote will also let me know how much I saved by doing it myself.

Recently I requested a quote to have 60 square yards of carpet and pad installed. The quote for labor was lower than I expected, so I’ve decided to remove the old carpet and pad, but hire the professionals to install the new. This time the professionals won. Although, last summer we got one quote to rebuild our back deck, and second to refinish the existing deck. Rebuilding was out of our budget and the bid to refinish was mostly labor. This time the DIYer inside me won. We rented a deck sander from Home Depot, hammered down any nails sticking up, and replaced the rotted boards. We stained and sealed in one step using Rust-Oleum Deck Restore. This product has a texture and goes on with the consistency of thick oatmeal. It took two coats of Deck Restore to cover the deck and we needed more than the amount estimated. This is one DIY job we are more than happy with. We don’t get splinters when we walk barefoot across the deck and it looks the same one year later. We saved thousands refinishing the deck ourselves.

A photo of our back deck one year after refinishing with Rust-Oleum Deck Restore

Our back deck one year later

Hidden Motive – Synopsis

In Hidden Motive, the daughter of former Oregon Senator Rowell, Danielle Martin, is identified as the comatose Jane Doe in a Portland area hospital; one day after the body of her husband is discovered in their suburban home. Alyssa, the sister who helped raise Danielle, must ensure that Danielle isn’t convicted for the murder of her husband. Ambitious prosecutor Roger Donnelly sees the prosecution of the Senator’s daughter as a way to secure his political future. Danielle wakes from her coma with no memory of the past six months, unable to help in her own defense; her sister hires an old friend to represent her. The victim, John Martin, had no known enemies, and lived a quiet low risk lifestyle. Donnelly seizes on the widow as the person with the means and opportunity to commit the murder. Spinning a theory of calculated murder by an angry spouse based on circumstance, Donnelly bullies his way at trail towards a speedy conviction. With Danielle’s life on trial, the multi-faceted defense team needs to find the motive in the mist and reveal the actual killer.

They just don’t get it – Synopsis

In They Just Don’t Get It Five girls who’ve been friends since elementary school, begin high school together, wondering if their friendship will survive it. They’re given a journal to pass back and forth between them. In book one, two of the girls meet a junior named Katrina, while she’s taking a pregnancy test, in a school bathroom. Soon, all five friends meet Katrina and are drawn into her dilemma. The five girls struggle with Katrina’s secret, and how best to help her through it. Katrina’s boyfriend is on social networks and texting nasty things about her.