A woman in smoothing a wall with joint compound and a drywall knife.

Skimming a textured wall for wallpaper

This week of the One Room Challenge was all about skimming a textured wall for wallpaper. It’s pretty simple to do but there is certainly an art to it. Actually, it is a very tedious and time consuming job. Plus, it is super messy! However, here are some tips to get the hang of it.

What you’ll need:

  • Drywall knife
  • Joint compound
  • Mud pan
  • Sandpaper

How to skimming a textured wall for wallpaper

Firstly, I find that thinning out the joint compound with a little bit of water helps spread the texture further onto the wall.

skimming a wall hellohomegirl.com

Also, a thinner joint compound settles between the nooks and the crannies of the pre-existing texture on the wall. 

Add a little water at a time and mix well. You’ll want to create a pancake-like texture. Then, carefully spread the thinned joint compound on the wall with a drywall knife. Skim coating a textured wall for wallpaper gets messy QUICK!

Cleaning up joint compound

Cleaning up drywall compound from the floor is so easy. It’s even easier when you have a smooth surface as your flooring. Wet a rag and wipe up your joint compound drips with no problem. 

Sanding a skim coat

The most exciting part of the process of course is sanding! WOO HOO! (That’s sarcasm if you didn’t catch that, by the way.) 

I hate standing. I especially hate sanding drywall. There are solutions to making sanding drywall less of a hassle. For example, you can buy a dust control joint compound to reduce the amount of sanding dust. Additionally, you could buy a handy-dandy electric drywall sanders if you have strength to hold it in place. Nevertheless, I just plan to sand by hand. It’s what I’m most comfortable doing! 

To do so, wrap some sandpaper around an old sanding sponge or a block of wood. Then, sand as usual, holding the sandpaper in place. 

Join the One Room Challenge journey! week 1 | week 2 | week 3

I’m not trying to make the wall perfectly smooth because I know wallpaper is going to go over it. Consequently, my goal is to make the wall relatively smooth and flat so that there’s no texture messing up the pattern of the wallpaper. (Side note: check out my possible wallpaper selections here!)

A woman is skimming a textured wall to make it smooth.


Make sure that your drywall knife is clean, but don’t run your finger across its edge. I accidentally cut open my hand doing so. It kind of felt like a deeper paper cut. It was so annoying, I delayed finishing my skim coat. In hindsight, I know that was pretty silly of me, but that’s how I felt! 

Have you ever skim coated a wall just to apply wallpaper over it? Have you applied wallpaper over a textured wall before? Let me know in the comments! 

Until next time, 


See the rest of the week 4 One Room Challenge posts!

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  1. I feel like you deserve an award for tackling this AND popcorn ceiling removal in the same project! It’s going to be amazing!

      1. I feel you with the doing too much! I hope you’re taking time for yourself in there too … I’m trying to toe the line and do just too much enough, haha. Easier said than done.