Hanging Wallpaper

Many homeowners enjoy hanging wallpaper instead of hiring a professional and having the extra cost. You will need to follow some very important steps.

Before you begin, you will need to make sure you calculate the amount of wallpaper you need. It’s always best to have an extra roll left over. Plus, cover up the floor with drop-cloths and remove switchplates and outlet covers.

For those of you hanging wallpaper yourself, you will need to follow a few basic steps.

  • Wallpaper should be trimmed dry on a large, flat surface at least two to four extra feet in length. If there is a pattern, four feet is usually recommended. Some wallpaper trimming tools are the wallpaper straight edge tool (5 or 6 foot) and single-edged razor blades, which need to be changed frequently to ensure sharpness. If you change the blade after each sheet you are less likely to tear the wallpaper.
  • Cut a strip of wallpaper 3-4 inches longer than the height of the wall. It is best to cut no more than 2-3 strips at a time. Make sure you allow for matching the pattern, large patterns may require more length for lining up the patterns.
  • Prepare the wall surface so it is as smooth as wallboard.
  • Wall surfaces should be primed and allowed to dry completely before beginning installation. On drywall you will want to use an acrylic primer or a prep coat. On new plaster (after the proper curing time) you will want to use size mixed with the proper adhesive before applying the final wall covering. The recommended adhesive is a quality clay strippable adhesive.
  • The best way to apply the adhesive is using a short-nap paint roller to spread the adhesive in a thin, even coating across the paper. After applying the adhesive, fold the wallpaper together, adhesive side matching. Be sure not to crease the end where the wallpaper is folded. Allow the wallpaper to set for five minutes before hanging. This allows the paper to absorb any moisture and expand. If you will not be using the pasted wallpaper right away place it inside a plastic garbage bag with a sponge that has been moistened and squeezed out thoroughly, this will keep it moist.
  • Meanwhile, you will need to establish a starting point. Starting at a inconspicuous corner is a good idea. Measure the width of the wallpaper, minus 1/2 inch from this measurement, now measure from the corner. Mark a plumb line with a level on the wall, the full length of your wall, from top to bottom. This is the line you will line-up your first piece of wallpaper up against. By doing it this way the paper will overlap the corner by 1/2 inch from the plumb line. Note: Use a pencil to mark the line, never a pen or permanent marker.
  • Carry the wallpaper over to the wall still folded up. Climb the ladder so you are able to reach the ceiling comfortably. Holding on to one of the ends, let the rest of the wallpaper unfold. Now press the wallpaper against the wall, lining it up with the plumb line. Note: Overlap the paper about 2 inches top and bottom of the wall. This overlap will be removed later.
  • It does not require much pressure to install the wallpaper. Just use a soft bristle wallpaper brush, smoothing from the center out. This will expel any air bubbles.
  • The next sheet will butt against the first and so on. Use your hands to line up the pattern and close the gap. Be careful not to close the gap too tightly, it will form a ridge.
  • After the adhesive has set (5-10 minutes) secure the seam using a wooden seam roller. Once again don’t press too hard. You don’t want to squeeze the glue out where the wallpaper edges meet.
  • Trim the excess paper at top and bottom of the wall using a straight edge and sharp razor knife.
  • Use a straight edge to press the wallpaper firmly into the corners. Trim with a sharp utility knife. If you keep the straight edge pressed into the corner, it will make it easier to maintain a straight line.
  • When you reach the following corner it is likely the space will be narrower than your wallpaper. Measure the width needed and add 1/2 inch. Cut this strip of paper and hang, overlapping the 1/2 inch into the corner. Now measure the width of your paper from the corner and along the new wall and establish another plumb line. This way every wall will be strait.
  • Continue hanging wallpaper around the room, cutting around obstacles as you go, until you get to the first corner (starting point). Measure the width needed to reach the corner and cover the 1/2 inch overlap. Note: It is a good idea to turn off power to switches and outlets before hanging and cutting around these obstacles.
  • During and after hanging, be certain all adhesive residue is completely wiped from the surfaces. Make sure to use a damp, cloth or sponge to help remove all traces of adhesive.


If you follow these steps carefully, you’ll find that hanging wallpaper is a reasonably simple project.

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