Q Can I paint over wallpaper? The wallpaper was glued directly to the drywall. I have tried to remove it and found that the finish of the drywall comes off in strips right along with the wallpaper. I know that removing the wallpaper will entail lots of tedious work and wall repair. I would prefer painting over the wallpaper, which seems to be smooth, with no texture, embossing or flocking. What is your advice?

A I usually recommend removing existing wallpaper in preparation for paint, but in your situation this would be a major job.

The quick and easy method of wall preparation for painting is to prime the surface with a quality oil-based primer. You will find primers designed for this job at home centers. (If the wallcovering has metallic ink in it, make sure the primer is formulated for that use. These primers contain shellac resin.)

The primer will adhere to your existing wallpaper and provide a suitable surface for either new paint or new wallpaper. The specially prepared primers hide designs and colors that might tend to bleed through a less opaque primer. The primer base can be tinted to match the color of the finish paint you choose, which is an even further enhancement to a quality finish paint job.

Your existing wallpaper must be in good condition, thoroughly adhered to the wall with no loose seams or tears for this to work satisfactorily.

The proper primer will bond to the old wallpaper, creating a sound, stable surface for new paint. For the best results, make sure you also use quality paint for the finish coats.

I have heard that you can roll newspapers into logs suitable for burning in the fireplace, and that there is a tool available to make the task easier. Any information would be helpful, including advice on where to get this tool.

Years ago, hand methods of rolling paper into logs were required. However, today there are rollers on the market that simplify the task. Check home-supply centers, hardware stores or builder supply stores. A fireplace-accessory outlet would also be a good place to try.

Once you have rolled the paper into logs according to the instructions that come with the rolling tool, you can soak them in a solution to ensure a colorful flame.

Use a four- or five-gallon, non-metallic container. A plastic wastepaper basket is ideal. Use two pounds each of coarse salt and borax, dissolved in two gallons of boiling water.

Stir the solution vigorously to dissolve the solids as much as possible. Let the solution cool, stirring from time to time. Next, stand the rolled newspaper logs on end in the container. Put in as many as you can without crowding. The solution should rise to the top of the container. If it does not, add warm water to fill. Let the logs soak for about 24 hours, then add two quarts of warm water and turn the logs upside down. Let soak, turning several times, for two or three more days, or until the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from the container and lay on paper in a warm place. Let the logs dry thoroughly before burning in the fireplace. The salt-borax treatment purportedly slows down the burning process, so that the logs will last longer. A word of caution: Some colored inks on magazines and direct mail have lead in them. If the logs using this material are burned in a well-ventilated fireplace, there will be little chance of toxic fumes. However, to be extra safe, you may want to stick to regular black-and-white newspaper when rolling your fireplace logs.

I am painting several rooms that have textured ceilings. My problem is getting a straight edge where the walls meet the ceiling. I am unable to get a straight line of tape on the ceiling to act as a barrier from the wall paint. Do you have any suggestions?

Use a paint edger, available from a paint dealer, or an extra wide putty knife. Position the paint edger tightly into the crevice formed where the ceiling meets the wall, keeping it as close to the ceiling as possible while you brush on a band of paint. The ceiling will be protected by the edger during this process.

Wipe the edger between moves to assure that any traces of paint will not be accidentally transferred to the ceiling. You will need to use a brush to apply the paint approximately 4 inches to 5 inches below the ceiling.

A roller can be used to apply paint to the remaining wall surface. A paint edger also works well between flooring and baseboards.

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