OK, I can help with that. Mother used to do it and that is what is on the walls in the house that I want information about how to paint instead of wall paper.
You just tack the muslin up. Use a good many tacks because you don't want any pouffing out, and then apply the wall paper just as you would over drywall. Only problem is, when I have seen this done it was done by putting paste on the wallpaper, long before pre-pasted. I don't know if the paste on the pre-pasted would be strong enough. My suggestion, always, is try and see. Put up a piece, top to bottom, expecting it to stay there and wait a week and see if it still is holding fast. If not, take it down and apply paste and put it up again.
In the old house that we are considering buying, the muslin has come loose from the wall in places because it has torn away from the tacks but the paper is still sticking fast to it.
One other concern is this: One room has been recently wall papered with vinyl wall covering. The paper has slightly puffed out at each crack between the 1 X 6's. Not only on the outside walls but on the ones that have other rooms beyond them. I don't understand where that much air is coming from. I also don't know if the people who did the room put up muslin behind the paper or just put it directly on the boards. It isn't loose from the wall at anyplace so that I can tell and, as I said, we are only considering buying this house, it isn't mine. Anyway, I think I would use plain wallpaper instead of the vinyl or vinyl coated. At least do that unless you can get better information from someone. I keep thinking someone who does renovations to old houses professionally could tell me these things but I don't know anyone and we REALLY live out in the sticks, the other end of no where.
If I can help any other way, why don't you just e-mail me. It is [email protected]
We seem to be the only people in the world interested in this problem. I certainly haven't gotten any answers and I have the same question posted on the old BB at this site and in two places on the one for HGTV.