Wallpapering Walls


Don't try to take a short cut by omitting lining paper, even if your walls look smooth and flat without it. If you hang your lining paper vertically instead of cross-lining it, make sure the edges don't lie in the same place as the edges of your wallpaper. Let the lining paper dry thoroughly before you start hanging your wallpaper.

Once the room has been measured and lined, make sure you have all your tools and equipment ready and in place. Inspect each roll of wallpaper carefully, making sure the design and colours are as required and that there is a sufficient quantity to complete the job. Check that all the rolls of paper are the same shade not only by batch numbers, but also by unwrapping them and visually comparing them, one against the other. Check and then double check your measurements before you cut any wallpaper. Unroll the first roll, design side upwards. Measure and cut the first length remembering to allow extra for trimming purposes.

If the paper has a pattern, place the second length on top of the first when you unroll it and take care to match up the design. Use a pencil and mark 'T' (for top) and 'B' (for bottom) in pencil on the back of each length of patterned paper. Paste and fold the first length, let the adhesive soak a while, and in the meantime measure cut, paste and fold the second length.

Draw a vertical line where the first length of paper is to be hung and work in a clockwise direction round the room.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1 Hanging the first length

Take the first length of pasted paper and, with one hand, hold the top section against the wall and line up the left edge with the vertical drawn line. Hold the folds of the paper with the other hand. The top edge of the paper should be placed at the junction of the wall and ceiling or cornice with a 50mm (2in) overlap for trimming. Press the paper well into the angle.

2 Smoothing the paper

Using a paperhanger's brush, gently but firmly smooth the wallpaper into position. Work downwards, brushing the paper from top to bottom to remove any bubbles or creases. Leave the bottom edge loose, just resting on the skirting board, and return to the top edge.

3 Creasing the fold

At the top edge, where the paper overlaps the wall and the ceiling or cornice, run the blunt edge of a pair of paperhanger's scissors gently across the line on the paper between the wall and ceiling. This will emphasize the crease and create a clear cutting line for the final trim.

4 Cut the excess

Gently pull away the top edge of the wallpaper from the wall and cut along the creased mark with the scissors. Push the cut edge of the wallpaper back into place with the paperhanger's brush. Return to the bottom of the wall and trim off the overlap. Wipe off any paste left on the ceiling, cornice or skirting.

5 Matching a pattern

Subsequent lengths of wallpaper are hung loosely from the top and, where necessary, the pattern matched before it is smoothed into position. The two edges of the wallpaper should butt tightly together but should not be allowed to overlap. Overlapped edges may not stick.

6 Final drop

Where a final drop of wallpaper is not the full width of the roll, measure and cut to width and length but leave a 50mm (tin) overlap at one long edge. Butt the length up against the adjoining length to form a tight join and crease and trim the edges as before.

Useful Tips - Wallpaper

  • Clamp wallpaper lengths to the pasting table with four large bulldog clips. This stops the paper re-rolling.
  • Start the hanging sequence with a straight drop from ceiling to floor, starting at one side of a window. You will work away from the window in both directions towards the darkest corner of the room. Patterned papers should be centred on the chimneybreast.
  • Never assume that the walls in your home are straight. To ensure that wallpaper is hung absolutely on the vertical, plumb and then draw a vertical line from the ceiling or cornice to the skirting board. The first continuous drop of wallpaper should be hung alongside this line for accuracy.
  • When trimming excess wallpaper, you can use a sharp craft knife, if you prefer, instead of scissors: leave the paper in place in the angle and run the knife along the crease.
  • Remember to allow for waste during pattern matching. Some random pattern drops have to be hung with each length the opposite way up, so make sure you labels carefully.
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