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How To Hang Wallpaper

Before You Start

  1. Make sure you've turned off all the electrical power.
  2. Remove all the covers and plates from your electrical outlets and switches.
  3. Inspect your walls for any holes or cracks that will need to be filled in with spackling compound.
  4. Sand your walls of any excess plaster or paste residue; they need to be smooth for the wallpaper to adhere to them. If you walls currently have a coat of gloss paint on them, you'll need to sand the walls until they have a dull surface.
  5. Use warm water with a mild detergent solution to clean your walls. This will help to not only remove any dirt that may be on them but also clean-up any dust resulting from sanding. Make sure your walls are completely dry before putting up your wallpaper.
  6. Walls that have mildew on them will need to be cleaned with a solution of two cups bleach mixed with two gallons of water. Again, make sure the walls are completely dry before proceeding with wallpaper.
  7. Drywall, walls that had mildew on them and newly painted and plastered walls will need a coat of primer-sealer. Let the selaer dry for 24 hours before you put wallpaper up.
  8. To help prevent air pockets and make it easier for your wallpaper to be positioned, place vinyl wall sizing on your walls. This is known as sizing.
  9. If there's any damage to your trim or ceiling, now is the time to repaint.
  10. To ensure that each bolt of your wallpaper matches, check the run and pattern or dye lot number before you start hanging.

How To Hang Wallpaper YOU WILL NEED

Paste Spackling Compound Razor Knife and Extra Blades
Sandpaper Water Tray Drop Cloth
Paint Roller Putty Knife Tape Measure
Yard Stick or Ruler Step Ladder Primer-Sealer
Screwdriver Bleach Sponge
Plastic Bucket Brush or Plastic Smoother Pencil
Wall Scraper Vinyl Wall Sizing Large Table or Smooth Surface
Carpenter's Level Seam Roller Prepaste Activator
Scissors Bleach Border Adhesive or Vinyl-over-Vinyl

How To Hang Wall Paper

How To Hang Wallpaper 1. Create a Plumb Line
Begin with your least noticeable wall. You'll want to start at one corner, measuring out the width of the paper minus 1/2 inch. Mark the wall in this spot. Use your carpenter's level to mark and draw a straight, vertical line; this is your plumb line. The plumb line will act as a guide to where your first two strips of wallpaper should meet. Everytime you begin a new wall or reach a corner, you will have to follow this same procedure. It's very important that you be precise when creating a plumb line, because it will dictate the extent of your success.

Next, to help yourself figure out just how many wallpaper strips you'll need, mark on the wall just where each strip will be placed. This will also help you adjust just where you start wallpapering so that you don't have to waste any strips.


How To Hang Wallpaper 2. Measure and Cut the First Strip
Now you'll need to measure and cut the first strip of wallpaper. Unroll the wallpaper a bit and hold it against the wall; you'll want to figure out exactly where at the ceiling line you'll want the pattern to fall. It's usually a good idea to begin a full pattern at the ceiling line. Use your pencil to mark the spot on the back of the roll.

Now you can cut the initial wallpaper strip on a straight edge. Remember that you should leave approximately two extra inches at the bottom and top so that you have something to trim in case you make a mistake.

How To Hang Wallpaper 3. Using Unpasted Wallpaper
If you're using unpasted wallpaper, you'll have to put the wallpaper strip down on the table so that the unpatterned side (back side) is facing you. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to apply a light, gentle coat of paste with your brush or paint roller. You can now skip to step 5.


4. Using Prepasted Wallpaper
Prepasted wallpaper can be a bit messier so cover your work surface with a drop cloth. Using your water tray, fill it room temperature water, about 2/3 of the way. Roll up the wallpaper strip, from bottom to top and with the paste facing out. Next, dip the roller wallpaper strip into the water tray and press down on it gently until the air bubbles have stopped rising to the surface. Soak the wallpaper strip for the amount of time indicated by the manufacturer. Grasp the top corners of the strip and gently lift and unroll it out of the tray. Check to make sure the back has been thoroughly soaked and is wet.

Note: For extra adhesion, you might want to add a prepaste activator to the water in the tray.

5. "Book" The Wallpaper
How To Hang Wallpaper To 'book' the wallpaper, fold the top half down to the middle of the wallpaper sheet so that the paste is facing the paste. Then fold the bottom to the middle, again with the paste facing the paste. Keep the wallpaper sheet edges aligned. Now roll up the wet, booked strip gently so that you don't crease it.

By booking the wallpaper, you're encouraging the adhesive to activate itself. Moreover, it also allows the paper to relax itself and return to its original width.

6. Hang The Wallpaper
How To Hang Wallpaper The next step is to unbook the top half of the wallpaper strip by putting the marked spot at the ceiling line so that you let that excess paper hang over the adjoining wall and the ceiling. Now gently slide the wallpaper into position so that it's in alignment with the plumb line you've drawn.

Use your brush to press gently on the strip against the wall. Remember to be gentle, because you don't want the wallpaper to stretch while you position it.

Next, unbook the bottom half of the wallpaper and again use your brush to smooth it into place. You should keep your hands wet, as this will help make the job easier.

How To Hang Wallpaper Using your hands, tap the wallpaper strip into the corner. Cut a diagonal line into the corner at the baseboard and at the ceiling. Use your brush to smooth that extra 1/2 inch on the adjoining wall. While you're smoothing the wallpaper down, remember tha you want to force out air bubbles. Work diagonally from the top of the wallpaper downward and then from the center outward. You can pull the wallpaper back gently and re-smooth it if the paper doesn't appear straight enough. Once you've smoothed the wallpaper down, use a wet sponge to wipe off the extra paste.

Once you're done, inspect the area for any air bubbles that you may have missed. If they air bubble is stubborn and refuses to come out, prick the area with a pin before it dries. Then smooth the area so that the air comes through the pin hole.

How To Hang Wallpaper 7. Trim The Wallpaper
Now it's time to trim those extra two inches of wallpaper using a sharp razor knife. The paper may begin to tear; this is a sign that you should wait another 5 minutes before attempting to trim the wallpaper again. Have lots of razor blades handy as you should change razor blades after trimming each wallpaper strip.

Using your wet sponge, wash the excess paste off the baseboards and ceiling. The water will get pastey, so change it frequently.

How To Hang Wallpaper8. Butt The Wallpaper Strips Together
Now that your first wallpaper strip is laid, simply use the same procedure to cut and smooth down the subsequent strips. Be sure that the pattern matches the first strip. Avoid overlapping your strips; you want them to be tightly butted together instead. Check to make sure that your pattern and color are consistent after every two or three strips.

Once you reach a new wall, create your plumb line again.

How To Hang Wallpaper 9. How To Use A Seam Roller
Now that you've smoothed out your wallpaper strips, wait about 15 minutes before using your seam roller to go over the seams. You'll want to avoid stretching the seam as this can force out the adhesive. If you've put up embossed vinyl wallpaper, you'll want to skip the seam roller on your seams.

How To Hang Wallpaper 10. Wallpapering Around Doors and Windows
When it comes to hanging wallpaper around doors, you could choose to pre-cut a strip to fit perfectly around your door, but that's a difficult undertaking. The better idea is to hang an entire strip of wallpaper and then smooth it into place right to the edge of the door frame or the window.

Your next step is to make a diagonal cut, also known as a miter cut, into the wallpaper at the corners of your door or window. This will allow the wallpaper to separate and to lay against the wall. As you work, continue to smooth the paper around the door or window frame. Then trim the extra wallpaper around the door or window frame with a razor knife.

11. Wallpapering Around Light Switches and Outlets
How To Hang Wallpaper Please remembr to switch off your electrical power!

The simplest technique is to simply wallpaper over the light switches or outlets and then use a razor knife to trim an area of wallpaper slightly smaller than the outlet or switch. Then you can replace your switch plate or outlet cover to make a seamless wallpaper effect.

12. How To Hang A Border
How To Hang Wallpaper You can follow the same procedure required for hanging wallpaper. The only difference is that you roll the border and soak it in cool water for only 20 seconds. Also, do not book the border for more than three minutes.

The best way to handle the border is to fold it accordion style. Use your ceiling line as a guide. When you reach the corners, leave a 1/2 inch of wallpaper to overlap.

If you're putting up your borader over vinyl wallpaper, use border or vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive. In case you're applying a border over a wall that has been painted, sand the walls lightly if they're very slick before you paste up the border.

When your border goes around a door or window frame, you'll need to overlap both the vertical and horizontal wallpaper strips where they meet at the corners. Cut through the two wallpaper strips at a 45 degree angle where they join at the corner, then remove the extra wallpaper.

Hammer Need more information on wallpapering? Visit our Walls forum and get help from other do-it-yourselfers.