As with any type of wallpapering, wallpapering over wood paneling requires that you start with a clean smooth surface. In order to accomplish that you will need to clean the paneling to remove grease and build up and fill in all the cracks as well as prime the wood for the wallpaper to adhere to.
The first step in wallpapering over wood paneling is to clean the paneling. You can use soap and water or TSP for dirtier areas. Make sure you cover the whole area. If the water in the rinse bucket is dirty, you will probably need to wash it again.
Filling The Cracks
Since wallpaper magnifies the flaws underneath you will need to insure you have a smooth surface. Don’t think that you can skip this step because the paper will hide the grooves in your paneling because it won’t! You will need to take joint compound and fill in all the grooves – remember to do any nail holes while you are at it. Once filled, wait for it to dry and sand down so that it makes a smooth surface level with the paneling. You may have to apply several coats to get the indent to become level.
An important step in wallpapering over wood paneling is to prime the paneled area. This may seem unnecessary, but the stains in the paneling could bleed through so it is better to be safe than sorry. Once this step is complete and dried, you are ready to put up your wallpaper! If you really want to insure that the surface is smooth and get a great look, try a wallpaper liner. This is applied the same as wallpaper, but horizontally. It provides a good base for the wallpaper and helps to hide any flaws in the wall underneath.