I've painted over wallpaper before, but never pages from magazines. This was a sports wall collage using Mod Podge glue. I imagine it's been up for decades.
The last thing I wanted was a gooey mess to deal with. So my plan was:
So that's what I did. And it turned out great.
Normally, with wallpaper, I would peel top layer off and dampen backing paper. When that begins to bubble - usually 10-20 minutes - it would be easy to scrape off.
My concern with the magazine paper is that, even with an oil primer, it would bubble. The purpose of the oil primer is to seal it so the glue doesn't loosen. Thanks to the suggestion by Linc at Colorize, I used a quick drying primer, and it worked great.
The photo below shows that I was able to dry-scrape much of it off before priming it.
The next thing was to skim-coat the wall. This is what will cover the paper. I used a large trowel and joint compound. Skim-coating can be fun as you are "creating a new wall". A wall like this doesn't take long, but, there is a learned skill to keep compound smooth resulting in as little sanding as possible. I ended up applying two coats.
The photo below is after two skim coats. Even though the finished paint color is white (Distant Gray OC-68), the edges are rough indicating that the wall hasn't been painted yet.
This is the end result. Only one coat of paint was applied. The color, Distant Gray, is a flat sheen using Benjamin Moore's Regal Select brand. The house will eventually be put on the market. Along with this bedroom, the job included another bedroom, mudroom, family room and two bathrooms all using same color.
The homeowner asked me to come back and paint the front entry/stairwell. The color now is a light yellow and will remain that way. She was originally going to just clean the walls, but, giving them a fresh coat of paint really makes an impression.