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Hang Wallpapers and Borders

Wallpaper allows you to create the atmosphere of your choice and add life to an otherwise ordinary room. Wallpaper is great for rooms with less than perfect walls and is usually easy to clean with soap and water. It can be a difficult task for one person to do alone - an average project may take two days. If you've never hung wallpaper, ask for assistance.


Preparing the Area for Wallpaper

Wallpaper swatches.

You can easily calculate the amount of wallpaper needed by taking the square footage of the room and adding 15% for waste.

  • Remove as much furniture as possible.
  • Place drop cloths on the floor around the base of the walls.
  • If you plan to paint part of the room, do it before you wallpaper.
  • Before working around electrical outlets, turn off electricity for that room at your circuit breaker box. Remove all electrical outlet covers and switch plates.
Make sure all of the rolls are from the same run number or dye lot. Write down the dye lot or run number for future reference.


Preparing a Painted Area for Wallpaper or Border


Step 1

With a triangular scraper, remove paint that is peeling.


Step 2

Use spackling compound to fill any dents, cracks or holes.


Step 3

When dry, sand all patched areas and wipe clean with a wet sponge.


Step 4

Seal with primer and allow to dry.



Wallpapering with Lining Paper

If your walls are imperfect and you are hanging thin wallpaper or foils, use lining paper to cover the wall prior to wallpapering.


Step 1

Apply adhesive to the back of the lining paperwith a paint roller.


Step 2

Hang the paper horizontally with strips approximately 1/8-in apart.


Step 3

Use a smoothing brush to remove any bubbles or creases.


Step 4

Use a damp sponge to remove any excess paste.


Step 5

Allow the paper to dry completely.



Wallpapering New Walls

Hanging wallpaper.

If you're repapering, make sure you've removed all the old wallpaper. Otherwise, you're good to go.


Step 1

Apply primer to the wall with a paint roller and allow to dry completely.


Step 2

Select an inconspicuous corner to begin. Mark the width of the paper minus 1/2-in on the wall. Use your plumb bob to mark a vertical line from the ceiling to the floor.

From that point, mark the width of the paper around the room to provide a guideline. Always start a new plumb line when turning a corner.

Measure the distance from the baseboard to the ceiling and add about 2-in.


Step 3

Cut the first strip using a sharp utility knife and straightedge. Subsequent strips may need to increase in length to match the pattern. Save remnants for smaller areas that may need piecing together.


Step 4

For unpasted paper, spread the strip, pattern side down, on a flat working area. Using a brush or paint roller, apply paste starting at the top and working from the inside out to the edges.

For prepasted paper, roll the strip with the pattern side in. In a half-full tray of lukewarm water, completely submerge the paper. Allow paper to soak for 2-3 minutes.


Step 5

To remove the paper from the tray, pull the edge out slowly to allow excess water to drain off. Change the water in the tray after every 6 strips of paper.

Book the paper, folding the ends of the strip toward the middle. Allow the pasted sides to rest against each other for 3-5 minutes. DO NOT crease the folds.


Step 6

Unfold the top section, align with the ceiling and allow 2-in overlap at the top. Move the edge of the paper against the first vertical plumb line and press into place. You will have 1/2-in overlap on the opposite side of the plumb line.


Step 7

With a smoothing brush, remove air bubbles, going from the top to the bottom and then from the center to the outside.

Unfold the bottom half and brush it into place. If you get a bubble that won’t come out, stick it with a straight pin and work the air out with the smoothing brush.


Step 8

Trim any excess overlapping paper by pressing the broad knife blade into the seam between the object and the wall. Cut the excess with the utility knife using the broad knife as a straight edge. Make sure your blade is sharp to avoid tearing the paper.


Step 9

Wipe off any excess paste with a damp sponge and clear water after each strip is hung. Place the next strip of paper plumb to the previous strip then smooth.


Step 10

About 15 minutes after the paper has been up, firmly press the seams with a seam roller. Wipe off any excess paste. Do not roll seams on flocks, foils, fabrics or embossed paper. Gently tap these seams with a smoothing brush.

Trim strips that overlap each other in corners using a vertical straightedge and cutting through both pieces of paper at the overlap. Gently peel both strips off and seal strips with a seam roller.


Wallpapering Around Windows and Electrical Outlets

Apply wallpaper around an outlet.

Wallpapering around obstacles doesn't have to be difficult. Follow these simple steps:

Before working around electrical outlets, turn off electricity for that room at your circuit breaker box. Remove all electrical outlet covers and switch plates.

Step 1

For a window, use a ceiling to floor length strip and brush it into place; pressing the paper as close to the seam of the window as possible.


Step 2

Where the wallpaper overlaps the window, cut the wallpaper diagonally at the top/bottom corners of the window frames.


Step 3

Using the broad knife as a straight edge, press paper into the crease and cut with a utility knife.


Step 4

For electrical outlets, paper over the opening and cut an X over the opening to expose fixtures.

Trim the paper around the inside edges of the outlet using the broad knife and utility knife. Replace the plate.



Wallpapering a Bathroom

Wallpaper around a bathroom sink.

When wallpapering a bathroom, make sure to choose a paper that is durable and will withstand humidity. Once you have chosen your wallpaper, take a sample piece home, and rub it with a wet sponge to test for colorfastness. Also, if the sample tears easily, choose another paper.


Step 1

Prepare the walls as you would in any other area. Remove any existing wallpaper.


Step 2

Remove bathroom accessories such as towel bars and electrical covers.


Step 3

Wallpaper directly over any brackets that cannot be removed. Cut an X with your utility knife through the paper covering the bracket. Press the paper securely around the bracket and trim the excess using a straightedge and utility knife.


Step 4

Work the paper behind the sink and toilet. To smooth the paper in a tight place, use a small paint roller.

If the area behind the sink or toilet is too tight, brush the wallpaper strip as close to the edge as possible. Trim the paper around the edge leaving a slight overhang to be tucked between the object and the wall.


Step 5

To paper around fixture collars, slide the collar back. Apply paper as close to the pipe as possible and slit the paper from the bottom of the pipe to the floor. Smooth the paper around the pipe and trim as close as possible. Slide the collar back on.



Hanging Wallpaper Border

Wallpaper border in a living room.

Step 1

For chair rail borders, mark a faint line around the room at the desired height. Use a level to make sure your line is even.


Step 2

Measure the length of one wall and cut a strip of border to fit. Allow a few inches for trimming.


Step 3

Prepare the strip according to the type of paper you have, prepasted or not. See "Wallpapering New Walls" above.


Step 4

Start in a corner following the line you marked. Allow about 1/2-in overhang. Smooth with a wallpaper brush.


Step 5

Cut the next strip to match the pattern on the previous strip, allowing for a little overlap. Double cut the overlap with a straightedge and utility knife. Remove excess paper.


Step 6

Use a seam roller to assure proper adhesion.


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