Singing Those Wallpaper Blues!

Your wife sweetly asks if you think you could hang a few rolls of wallpaper next weekend. You look away from the Saturday afternoon football game long enough to say "Sure Hon". A week later as you're about to leave the house to play 18 holes on the most gorgeous day of the year, she reminds you of your promise to hang wall paper in the master bedroom.

You quietly die inside because you know that this would be no quick job. Even 9 holes are out of the question. Seeing the determined look on her face quickly derails any argument you may have had about postponing this job until next weekend. She emphasizes the point by retrieving from the hall closet a large plastic bag containing multiple rolls of wallpaper. There is no way to get out of this one!

If you really have to do the job you might as well get started. Here is the simple way that I hang wallpaper:

First Step: Believe you can do it! For some reason the prospect of hanging wallpaper scares most of the male population. No one really knows why; maybe it's all those Three Stooges reruns we watched as a kid.

Second Step: Move the furniture away from the walls and patch any holes you might find. Use spackling paste if you're in a hurry. Use only a small amount on each hole and scraped most of it off with putty knife. Pull nails or picture hangers out of the wall, making sure you do not make a bigger mess by making larger holes. If you want to hang pictures back in the same place, do not fill the holes. After the spackling dries, sand it of with medium grade sandpaper.

Brush any dirt or cobs webs you see off the walls. If the area you're going to paper is unusually dirty, wash it down before hanging the paper. Wallpaper hung over dirt and grime will pull loose after it dries.

Measure the length of the walls, add two inches for the top and bottom of the sheet, and then cut the first sheet. Example: Wall is 92 inches from ceiling to baseboard. Add 4 Inches and your wall paper would be 96 inches long. Lay your first sheet face up on the floor. Lay your next sheet next to it, matching the pattern. Cut the second sheet even with the first sheet. See how easy that is!

Fourth Step: Assuming that the wallpaper is pre-pasted, with your water tray filled with water, you're ready to dunk the first sheet. Read the instructions that come with the wallpaper to see how long you should leave the paper submerged; usually 15-30 seconds. Take the paper out of the water and fold the glue sides together and let it set for 3-4 minutes.

While you're waiting for the paper and glue to cure, set your plumb line. If the paper is 22 inches wide, measure 21 in inches from the end of the wall, and make a mark with a pencil. Now with a level on your mark, draw a straight line down the wall. This is your straight line from which you will begin.

Now place the sheet of wet wall paper on the corner side of the pencil mark leaving an inch to in inches extra at the top to trim off. Set the wallpaper along the penciled line from top to bottom. Then with a wallpaper brush or sponge, smooth out the paper all the way to the corner with about inch inch to inch inch lopping over to the other wall. When you start working on the other wall, make your pencil mark 22 inches from the wall.

After you have finished that sheet of wallpaper, start working the others in the same way. One important note! Leave the bubbles alone after you have left that sheet. The bubbles will dry out over night. If you keep trying to remove all the little air pockets trapped behind the wall paper, you will stretch the paper and cause all sorts of problems. Remember, paper hanging is easy, do not make it difficult!

Remember to strike your plumb line when you go around corners and when you paper around doors or windows and you will have half of the battle won! After you have hung each strip, trim it out, both top and bottom. Clean off excess paste with a sponge.

That's it! This is my way of hanging wall paper and it works. It also saves a lot of time and money. Almost everyone already has the tools to hang wallpaper. You do not even have to buy a water tray. Use the bathtub the way I do. A box cutter, level, putty knife and spackling paste is all you need to complete the job.

You may not get to play golf this weekend, but chances are you will have done the paper job in one day so you'll have next Saturday free. It'll probably rain!