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When I bought my current house wallpaper was everywhere. And I noticed soon after that the painted kitchen was a painted kitchen without removing the top border - comes down maybe 10 inches.

You can only notice is in certain parts and with really good lighting... So what is the easiest way to deal with this before I repaint?

I am really looking for materials (mud, spackle, whatever) and tools used as a best practice.

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I would clean the area really well, then use normal drywall mud with an 8" knife. Mix in a little plaster of paris and feather like you would a normal taped joint. The plaster will make the drywall compound really hard and less likely to crack on the seam.

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So you are contending that if I don't use plaster of paris there could be a crack line? We are repainting in a month or two - no way in hell wife lets me cut out the drywall for a few lips you can barely see. I have never mudded over drywall and paint and this would be both. Can't find anything on the net about it either. –  DMoore Jul 31 '13 at 15:26
    
I've seen mud crack and leave hairline fractures on the edges of tape in older homes as they settle and move. I don't expect you would have a crack, but just in case you may want to add a little plaster since the wallpaper is a little thicker. You can mud over painted surfaces, but you should probably clean, rough up and prime the surface to get better adhesion. I've read some articles where people add super-bond to their mud or spackle to make it adhere better. I've never tried that though. –  John Smith Jul 31 '13 at 15:38
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The wallpaper is going to continue to degrade, and will probably look bad unless it is completely removed using typical wallpaper removal techniques, with some additional sanding at the edge where the paint to wallpaper transition will leave an obvious ridge.

The easiest thing to do is to ignore it, and adjust the lighting so it's not obvious.

If you can go with a textured paint application, or mottled paint, you might be able to hide it without removing it - that's about as easy as it gets without actually removing it.

Since you're already repainting,though, you might as well do it right and remove it so you don't have to deal with it again.

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I think changing the lighting is best bet. –  Tom Jul 24 '13 at 15:55
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The wallpaper has been there for 56 years - put on during build with no primer as was all the 15 varieties of wallpaper on every square inch of my house. Degrading I am not worried about at all it is set in stone. I just want to know if anyone has feathered something like this before and what technique they used. –  DMoore Jul 24 '13 at 16:29
    
@DMoore It seems like a combination of sanding and drywall mudding might be your best bet to reclaim the surface and make it appear as regular wallboard if removing it isn't an option. –  Adam Davis Jul 24 '13 at 16:32
    
Removing would literally be an all weekend job. Not worth it. Guess my fear is mudding over a slightly unlevel painted surface. –  DMoore Jul 24 '13 at 16:34
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Two things: If the wallpaper was put on without a primer, removal will almost certainly mean cutting out and replacing the drywall (but you could use something like GARDZ to repair the rips). As for drywall over the paint -- I agree with @AdamDavis. Sand > Prime > Mud > Prime > Re-paint. If you don't want so much of a "proper" fix but something that will just "work", you could always blend it in using light-weight spackle and a bit of sanding (Sand a bit before spackling as well). Then prime > paint. I would use one of the cheap somewhat flexible razors to shave/smooth the sharp edge. –  Jacob S Jul 24 '13 at 17:43
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