How To Wallpaper

Except for painting, hanging wallpaper is probably the DIY home improvement job most people feel they are capable of doing themselves. But in order to get a great looking result you have to be both thorough and meticulous in your approach or you will probably end up with air bubbles or pealing corners. But if you follow this easy step by step guide to hanging wallpaper you might be more successful in your attempt.

Hanging some new wallpaper is a great way to freshen up a room. Wallpapers come in all kinds of textures and colours and by picking the right one you can bring some extra character to a room.

Tools and materials needed:

  • Wall paper
  • Lining paper
  • Wallpaper adhesive
  • Pasting brush
  • Paper hanging brush
  • White spirit
  • Sugar soap
  • Wallpaper scissors
  • Trimming knife
  • Plumb line
  • Pasting table
  • Sponge
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • Step ladder
  • Scraper

1. Measuring

The first step when hanging wallpaper in a room is to measure up the walls you are covering. A standard roll is usually 53cm wide and 10 meters long. To figure out how many rolls you need and making sure you get enough to pattern-match, it’s advised to buy more than required. If you are wallpapering the entire room, measure the total perimeter of the room including doors and windows. Divide this number by the width of the roll to get the number of widths needed. Then measure the height of the room and multiply this with the number of widths required. Divide this number by the length of the roll to calculate how many rolls you need. Always buy an extra roll or two to allow for mistakes. Most companies will refund you any unopened rolls.

2. Prepaprations

Before you start wallpapering you need to make sure the wall is clean and free from debris. Remove any old wallpaper or plaster using hot water and a scraper. Fill any cracks or holes there may be with an appropriate filler product. Then wash the wall thoroughly with sugar soap.

3. Lining paper

You do not always have to use lining paper when wallpapering as it is perfectly fine to wallpaper straight onto a pre-prepared wall. But if your wall has imperfections, hanging lining paper is a great way to cover this. It is also advisable to use lining paper if you are using embossed or expensive wallpaper as it gives a better finish. To avoid the joins of the lining paper lining up with the joins of the wallpaper you should hang the lining paper horizontally.

4. Cutting wallpaper

Cutting the wallpaper is fairly straight forward. Measure out the height of your wall and add 10cm to this measurement to allow for trimming. Use scissors to cut. Use this first strip as a guide when cutting the second strip. If your wallpaper has a pattern, make sure you line this pattern up before you start cutting.

5. Mixing adhesive and pasting the wallpaper

Mix the wallpaper glue in a bucket stirring with a stick. Always follow the instructions given on the packet. Then add paste to the wallpaper strips and fold them gently together with the top end and bottom end meeting in the middle of the strip. Spread the paste on the back of the wallpaper using upwards and outwards movements. For the best result use a table for this job.

6. Hanging wallpaper

There are several rules in regards to hanging wallpaper correctly. One is which order to hang the paper in. If you’re only covering one wall, work from one end to the other making sure the pattern matches. If you are wallpapering a room with windows you start there and work your way out on both sides.

You also need to draw a vertical line down the wall to ensure your wallpaper hangs straight. Use a plumb line and mark a line on the wall with a pencil.

Now you should be ready to hang your first strip of wallpaper. Unfold the top half of the already pasted length and press it gently against the top of the wall. Leave about 5 cm extra to trim at ceiling height. Then use the papering brush to smooth the length into place ensuring you remove all of the air bubbles. Make sure you match the edge of the paper with the vertical line you created. Then slowly unfold the entire wallpaper strip and smooth as you go along.

Trim the edges of the wallpaper at the top and bottom. To ensure a neat cut, mark a line with the back of your scissors before easing the paper away and then cutting it. Use the brush to smooth the paper back into place after it has been cut.

7. Work in progress

Before you add the second strip to the wall, measure out the third strip to make sure the pattern matches. Then add adhesive to the second strip and fold it together. Some adhesives instruct you to wait before hanging the wallpaper in order to let the adhesive expand properly. Always follow the instructions from the manufacturer. Once the wallpaper is ready for hanging place the second strip next to the first strip and use the brush to smooth it into place as before. Make sure to pattern match and make sure you create a seamless butt joint. This is very important in order to create that great professional finish.

Continue in the same way until you reach the corner of the room. Here you should allow a 2cm overlap around the angle. As corners are not usually square, trying to work around a corner with a whole width is usually not very successful and often causes the length to hang crookedly.

8. Finishing touches

After you have completed wallpapering your room you might want to accessorise your room with a few new items or perhaps some new curtains. To get the look right bring a sample of your wallpaper with you on your shopping trip so you can check how it all looks together.

9. Smart tips

  • If you get paste on the front of your wallpaper, quickly remove this with a damp sponge
  • Larger offcuts can be used for areas above doors and windows
  • Use a pasting table to make the job easier and make sure to keep this dry and clean from paste
  • To get a clean look around light switches and power sockets, hang the paper as normal and then make a cut in the middle of where the socket is. Then cut from there to the corners. Unscrew the socket and brush the paper underneath the plate before screwing the plate back on. Make sure the electricity is turned off when doing this.