Step 1: Tools
Make sure you have these tools handy before you start wallpapering:
- Smoothing brush, measuring at least 12” wide, with firm but soft bristles to remove wrinkles and air bubbles
- Seam roller, to set tight joints at seams and at edges of wallpaper
- Large flat surface, approx. 3’ x 6’, or a pasting table
- Drop cloths
- Razor knife with extra single edge blades
- Broad putty knife, to be used in conjunction with the razor knife for trimming
- Wallscraper or broad knife
- Screwdriver, for removing switchplates and wall brackets
- Level and yardstick
- Scissors and pencil
- Large sponge
- Bucket of clear water
- Plenty of clean cloths or rags
- For unpasted paper, two buckets (one for water, one for adhesive), and a pasting brush (or 9” paint roller frame with 1/2” synthetic nap roller)
- For prepasted paper, one water tray
Step 2: Before You Start return to top
- Inspect your paper to make sure it's the correct color, pattern, and lot number.
- If you notice a defect in your paper (this rarely happens), stop hanging and call our Customer Service specialists at 800-575-8016 for instructions.
- If your wallpaper came with instructions, make sure you read and understand your manufacturer's instructions.
- Examine your rolls to check the nature of the match to the pattern. Your wallpaper is designed to match in one of the following ways:
- In a straight across match, the pattern continues directly across the strips. The same part of the pattern in the first and following strips should always be the same distance from the ceiling.
- In a drop match, the pattern runs diagonally across the wall so that every other strip is the same at the ceiling line.
- A random match (or plain match) does not present a matching problem. However, the final result may look better if every other strip is reversed top to bottom.
- To approximate the number of strips you'll need to cut to complete the job, measure and mark strip widths on walls.
Straight Across Match
Step 3: Preparing Your Walls return to top
For previously wallpapered walls - Old wallpaper should be removed unless in excellent condition. Wallpaper designated as strippable is easily removed by lifting a corner and pulling. Unstrippable wallpaper should be sanded, saturated with water with a sponge or sprayer, then scraped off with a putty knife. Walls should be washed and rinsed of the old paste. Lastly, apply sizing. If you must paper over existing paper, make sure your surface is perfectly smooth and clean, and then apply primer. For more information, check out removing wallpaper.
For previously painted walls - After washing with soap and water or Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) , scrape or sand off any rough spots. Fill cracks and holes with lightweight spackling compound, let dry, and sand until smooth. Prime all spackled areas before applying sizing.
For glossy painted walls - After washing, glossy surfaces should be thoroughly sanded then sized.
For new and unpainted walls - Do not apply wallpaper over new drywall or plaster without first applying a primer or sealer. Then size.
For rough surfaces - Badly cracked plaster walls, concrete block, paneled walls, and stucco should be covered with wallpaper liner and wallcovering primer before sizing to create an even surface.
- Make sure your walls are dry, clean, smooth, and structurally sound.
- Apply sizing.
- Always let spackling, primer and sizing dry thoroughly.
- If you are considering painting (ceiling, molding, doors, etc.), plan to do it before you start to hang your wallpaper.
Step 4: Measuring and Cutting return to top
- Measure the distance from baseboard to ceiling line in several different spots around the room. You'll probably discover that the wall is higher in some spots than others - make a note of the maximum height.
- Add four inches to the maximum wall height. This will give you at least 2 inches extra at both ceiling line and baseboard to work with (for trimming or uneven walls). Use this measurement when cutting strips of wallpaper.
- Before cutting the first strip, check the position of the pattern at the ceiling line. Mark the wallpaper where the strip ends at the ceiling line and baseboard and remove to a pasting table or clean, flat area for cutting. Remember to add 2 inches to both the top and bottom of the strip before cutting.
- Cut the second strip after matching the pattern to the first strip. Mark the top of your strips "T" on the back and number them. After cutting the first two strips, cut and paste just one strip at a time.
Ensuring a Straight Start
- Start in an inconspicuous corner of the room. Beside a door near a corner is a good place to start where mismatches will be less noticeable.
- Measure 1/2 inch less than the width of the paper then use a plumb or level to mark a straight vertical line on the wall. The first strip should be hung along the plumb line. This is your starting point.
- For accuracy, you may choose to mark a plumb line on each wall.
- If you don't have a level to draw the plumb line, simply tie a weight to a piece of string and cover the string with colored chalk dust. Hold the string up to the wall and snap it so that it deposits a straight, vertical starting line.
Step 5: Pasting Prepasted Wallpaper return to top
- Fill the water tray with lukewarm water.
- Roll the wallpaper strip loosely, pattern side in, and immerse in the water tray for the recommended time on the instructions found in each roll (normally 30 seconds to one minute).
- Pull the strip from your water tray onto a flat surface, pattern side down. Make sure that the front and back of the wallpaper is wet as it unrolls.
- Carefully fold the strip inside to inside (paste side to paste side) leaving a larger fold at the bottom section and a smaller fold on the top. Make sure no creasing occurs. Let the strip "book" (absorb water, relax and become pliable) for the recommended amount of time.
- Change the water in the tray every 6-8 strips.
- Do not use newspapers to cover the pasting table. Newspaper ink might soil the new wallpaper.
Pasting Unpasted Wallpaper
- Lay the strip on the pasting area, face down.
- Dip a pasting brush or roller in adhesive and saturate evenly.
- Start at the center of the strip and work toward edges. Apply a thin, even coat of wallpaper adhesive and cover all edges carefully.
- After applying paste, book-fold, bringing the pasted sides together at the center of the strip. (see "booking" above, under "Pasting Prepasted Wallpaper")
- Do not use newspapers to cover the pasting table. Newspaper ink might soil the new wallpaper.
Step 6: Hanging the First Strip return to top
- Unfold the top section of the strip and place it on the wall, lining up its edge with the plumb line and overlapping 2 inches at the ceiling line.
- Holding the upper section of the strip to the wall, gently smooth with a brush. Stroke downward with the smoothing brush, working from the center out toward the edges. Move any air pockets toward the edges and out.
- If wrinkles occur, pull the material away from the wall and rehang. (Wallpaper paste dries slowly, so you'll have plenty of time to realign it properly without damage.)
- Open the folded bottom section and hang it in the same manner as the top section. Slide the bottom section into position with the palms of your hands and check its alignment with the plumb line.
- For unpasted wallpaper, immediately sponge off any extra paste with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
- Using your broad putty knife as a guide, take a single edge razor knife and trim excess that overlaps the ceiling line and baseboard. Change blades frequently (e.g., every couple of strips) to assure a clean, even cut.
- Rinse baseboards, ceiling molding and wallpaper with clean water and a sponge.
- Use toothpicks to mark nail and screw holes that you will be searching for after the job is completed. Simply remove the toothpick when covering over it, then push it back through when the strip has been put up.
Hanging the Rest
- Apply strips using the same procedure.
- Start at the ceiling, matching the design repeat of the previous strip.
- Use the edge of the first strip as your vertical guide. Strips should meet at the seam but not overlap. Do not push or pull seams into place. Instead, move the whole strip by sliding it over, using the palms of your hands in the center rather than at the edges.
- After 10-15 minutes, firmly press all seams and edges against the wall using the seam roller. If any paste is squeezed from the seam, remove with a sponge and clean water. Be sure to wash the seams after rolling.
- If you are installing flocked or raised patterns, do not use a seam roller. Just firmly press the seams and edges with a damp cloth or sponge.
- Wash each strip using clean water; any paste left may cause discoloration.
The Final Strip
- The last strip will overlap the first. Using a razor and straight edge, cut a seam in the overlapping portion (through both the first and last strips) at an inconspicuous point in the pattern.
- Remove excess wallpaper - both overlapping and underlying strips.
- Smooth into place. Double cutting provides a neatly finished edge.
Step 7: Hanging Inside Corners return to top
Hanging Outside Corners
- Resist the temptation to wrap the entire strip around the corner.
- Measure the distance from the edge of the last hung strip to the corner at three points: ceiling, middle, and baseboard. Using the widest measurement you've just made, add 1/2 inch.
- Cut this width from the next strip of wallpaper and hang.
- Measure the width of the remaining piece of wallpaper. Use this width to measure on the wall adjacent to the corner and draw a plumb line.
- Hang the strip along the line, slightly overlapping the two trimmed edges in the corner.
- Minor mismatches will be hidden by natural shadows.
- Continue hanging down the adjacent wall.
- Outside corners can be wrapped with a full strip. As you smooth the strip around the corner, make two small slits in the excess material, one at the ceiling line and one at the baseboard, so the strip can be pulled snugly against the wall.
Step 8: Tackling Obstacles return to top
Doors and Windows
- Don't plan to skip windows and doors and then backtrack - instead, work straight around the room.
- Hang wallpaper over the door or window.
- Carefully measure and cut out excess material with scissors, leaving about 2 inches of overlap all around.
- Make a diagonal snip at the corners, fitting and pressing the material into place,
- Use a putty knife as a guide and trim excess with a razor knife
- To wrap recessed window casings, hang wallpaper over the opening.
- Run a razor along the top and bottom outside edges of the casing.
- Wrap material into the vertical side of the casing.
- Find matching scraps to cover the top and bottom edges.
- Repeat for the opposite side.
- For safety, turn off power to electrical outlets.
- Remove switchplates before hanging wallpaper.
- Hang wallpaper over switch and outlet openings.
- Cut an area slightly larger than the openings, but smaller than the plate covers and remove.
- Trim away excess along each edge.
- For covered switchplates, cut a piece of wallpaper slightly larger than the cover plate. Be sure that the pattern matches the surrounding area.
- Paste the cover and wallpaper. Apply.
- Snip excess wallpaper around the plate so you can wrap edges tightly.
- When the piece is dry, use a sharp razor blade to cut out openings.
Step 9: Hanging Border return to top
Quick Tip: If you're hanging border on top of wallpaper, you'll need to use a special vinyl to vinyl adhesive.
- Start by measuring the wall width, corner to corner.
- Cut border sections according to the entire width of the wall, adding an extra 3-4 inches to wrap into corners.
- Measure the width of the border. Pencil the width on the wall surface so that you will know where to apply adhesive.
- Apply primer/sealer to the wall surface in the penciled area. Let dry.
- Wet the border in a water tray. Fold and book according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Hang the border, overlapping it onto the adjacent wall about 1/4 inch and smoothing as you go. Start in an inconspicuous place so that you'll hide any mismatched seams.
- Wipe with a damp sponge to remove excess paste. Dry with a clean rag.
- Continue in the same manner for the remaining border lengths, matching and overlapping slightly at the corners.
- Should a seam fall in the middle of a wall, overlap the border strips so that the patterns match, then cut through the top layer with a utility knife. Remove the cut ends and press the border flat with the smoothing brush.
Quick Tip: If you're hanging your border as a chair rail, use a level and draw a light pencil line around the room to mark where you'll hang the top of your border.
Quick Tip: To make your border flush with the surrounding wallpaper, overlap the border onto the wallpaper. Then use a straightedge and razor knife to cut through the underlying wallpaper along the border's edge. Pull up the border and remove the cut wallpaper. Press the border flat with your hand and finish it with a smoothing brush.