Just moved to a room where 3 of the walls are almost completely painted over in an "artistic" manner. I scraped down the high spots; don't really want to (or think it's worth it) to sand and clean up and then maybe skim coat. Unfortunately I've always tried to steer clear of painting and as such am a bit lost. Not sure what primer/paint will be most compatible and/or which would conceal the previous colors best. Any advice? Thinking a pale blue for the top coat. Side wall Back wall

  • 1
    Please revise your post to be more clear about that, and tell us what colors you're covering and what color you're applying.
    – isherwood
    Dec 16, 2021 at 21:00
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    You will be kicking yourself if you cover that up and in 50 years the artist is famous and that is worth a million or more.
    – crip659
    Dec 16, 2021 at 22:35
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    Look for products labeled 'high cover'. Skip the 'budget-friendly' brands altogether. Plan to apply at least 3 coats. Start with something with some additional neutral color pigment added to the base white.
    – brhans
    Dec 17, 2021 at 0:09
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    If you're not willing to sand, then your new paint is going to fall off in places. You should sand every part of the original surface, not for texture but to remove any gloss on the old layers so there is a rough surface for the primer to bite into. Prime until the old stuff stops printing through, that will be several coats since you have black on white. That's the hardest to cover. Don't expect the topcoat to do that for you, it won't. Dec 17, 2021 at 1:30
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    Valid point, @crip659, but living with it for 50 years may not be worth it! ;)
    – FreeMan
    Dec 17, 2021 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


The key to making this art go away and stay away is using the best primer for the job, and for this job shellac based primer is the only way to go. This is a primer made of shellac and a white pigment with alcohol as the solvent. It's thin and it goes on quickly by brush or roller, it dries in just a few minutes and you can do a second coat of the primer if necessary as soon as the first coat dries. Then finish with the latex paint of your choice.

I've used shellac based primer to defeat gold-colored roller stencil work that made a green stain through any paint that covered it. (One primer coat and done.) I've used it to cover gigantic five-pointed red and blue stars on white walls. (One and done.) I think you'll be very happy with the results on these walls.

  • Just because a paint has dried doesn't mean it is cured and ready for another coat. Stacking layers of paint isn't recommended, that's why manufacturers put a recoat time on the can. Other than that, I agree with you, Shellac primer is fantastic.
    – matt.
    Sep 4, 2023 at 16:04

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