How to Hang Wallpaper

Creating a feature wall with wallpaper is a great way to add colour, texture and personality to your home. Choose a wall that has maximum impact when you walk into the room. You can create a feature wall in your entrance hallway, your bedroom, living or dining areas. So many choices!

If you’re a handy type of person, then you’ll probably have no trouble hanging your own wallpaper. Here are some instructions to help you hang your wallpaper and create a beautiful feature wall.

You will need:

  • Glue – prepare as directed
  • Paste – prepare as directed
  • Measuring tape
  • Box cutter/stanley knife
  • Large steel ruler or spirit level
  • Paint roller
  • Paint brush
  • Soft cloth

Step 1. Preparation

Your wall must be clean, smooth and dry. So sweep away those old cobwebs and get rid of dust, dirt and grime. We find that washing your walls with sugar soap and a one of those big fat orange or yellow sponges you use to wash your car is a great way to clean them.

Sand away any irregularities. Putty any holes. Always remove old wall coverings before applying new wallpaper.

Step 2. Prepare the Glue and Paste

Most glue and paste mixes require some time to set before applying them to the wallpaper, so prepare the mixture first to save yourself some time.

Follow the instructions on your packet of glue and paste.

Typically, paste is to be applied to the back of the wallpaper and glue is to be applied to the wall in a border around where the edge of the wallpaper will be applied.

Step 3. Measure and Cut the Wallpaper

This is the most difficult step if you have a pattern that repeats and needs to be matched. Always make sure you start with enough wallpaper to allow for an occasional mistake.

Measure the height of your walll. Allow an extra 5cm (2 inches) for trimming. Roll out the wallpaper and note where you have to cut it. Carefully cut the paper using a box cutter or stanley knife against a steel ruler or large spirit leveller. Roll out more wallpaper and match the pattern. Cut the wallpaper and discard the unmatched portion.

Continue measuring, matching and cutting the wallpaper until you have all the pieces to complete your feature wall.

Mark points vertically along your wall so that as you are hanging the wallpaper, you can check to make sure it’s in a straight line.

Step 4. Apply the Adhesive

Use a paint roller to liberally apply the paste to the back of the wallpaper, from top to bottom. After you have applied the paste, fold the wallpaper in on itself and again until it is only 30cm or so wide. Put it in a large plastic garbage bag and set it aside for 30 minutes to allow the paste to absorb into the wallpaper. Continue with each strip of wallpaper. Keep folding the wallpaper until it is a size that will comfortably fit in a plastic bag or garbage bag. Remove the air from the plastic bag and seal it to help prevent the wallpaper from drying out as it will be some time before you’re ready to hang the final strip.

After you have waited the requisite time for your paste to set, apply the glue to the wall in a border around where the edge of the wallpaper will be. Use the pencil marks you made earlier to guide you. Your border should be about 10cm (3 to 4 inches) wide.

Step 5. Hang the Wallpaper

Start at the top and we usually work from left to right. Don’t forget your extra 5cm (2 inch) trim at the top! Use your hands and soft sponge to smooth the wallpaper against the wall. Then use a plastic lathe to lightly smooth the wallpaper and remove the air bubbles and excess paste. Use the marks on the wall to make sure you’re hanging the wallpaper in a straight line.

Use a soft cloth to remove any excess glue from the edges.

Match the wallpaper edges exactly. If you find there is a small gap between each wallpaper strip, work from the centre of the strip and gently massage the wallpaper in the direction of the gap. Use your hands or a special wallpaper roller. Do the same from the other side.

It is important to smooth the surface of the wallpaper while it is still damp from the paste to ensure all air bubbles are removed. Keep removing the excess glue, too and keep an eye on any air bubbles that may arise as the paste dries.

When you have hung each strip, cut off the excess trim at the top and bottom.

After you’ve cleaned up, it’s time to step back and admire your handy work!