I am going to talk here in terms of only wallpapering a feature wall. Wrapping around to conjoining walls may be too adventurous for a novice!

Step 1 is always read the manufacturers instructions that come with the wallpaper.

There are many different symbols on a roll of wallpaper and you should be familiar with them.

Before starting ensure you have enough wallpaper. Not sure if you do? Follow this link to working out how much wallpaper to order.

Remove any plate covers, light fixtures etc.

Next is working out where on the wall you will be starting. If you are tackling a feature wall start hanging wallpaper from the middle of the wall or the focal point of the wallpaper itself. This ensures the pattern is visually pleasing as it is centred. Do you have a feature such as a fireplace? If so start there as it reinforces the focal point of that feature.

Wallpaper covering all imperfections is a myth. It’s very important to start with a smooth wall surface. Lightly sand your walls.

Now you have planned your 1st drop position, measure the wallpaper length required. Leave an extra 20mm at the top and bottom. This takes into consideration that even if your wallpaper is level your house may not be and that gives you some extra length to use if the ceiling runs out.

Using your razor carefully cut a strip against the metal straight edge to get a clean, straight line. Razors dull quickly, so don’t use them sparingly. Using a sharp razor will ensure clean cuts & avoid rips. You probably don’t have extra paper to waste! A professional will use a new snap off blade every few cuts.  

Measure every drop. Always make sure your first sheet is perfectly level. All the rest hang from this one.  If this one is off the end result may feel wonky.

If you have a paste the paper wallpaper you will need to size the wall 1st. Use your roller and brush to apply paste directly to the wall. Leave until tacky. Sizing will help the paper adhere to the wall. It also makes it easier to remove the paper when the time comes.

Using your roller spread the paste over the back of the paper ensuring you cover all of the surface.

Booking is the process of gently folding the paper in on itself allowing time for the paste to activate, the paper to soften & the paste to cover the wallpaper fully. This allows for the paper expansion that occurs when pasting the paper. Fold the paper so that as you unfold it whilst hanging, you’ll be working with two-thirds of the panel. This keeps the bottom out of your way until you need it without creasing it up.

For paste the wall wallpaper; use your roller to liberally spread the paste around the entire surface where your 1st drop will go. Do not do the entire wall as it will dry out before you get there. It is essential not to miss any spots. Also do not apply too thickly.  These steps will ensure you get good adhesion to the wall and no air bubbles. This pasting not done properly will likely see it slowly peeling back off the wall.

Using the soft bristle brush or plastic wallpaper smoother, smooth the wallpaper as you hang. Lightly evening out any bubbles or creases in the wallpaper as you go. But don’t push too hard or you’ll squeeze out the paste and stretch the paper which will ruin that whole drop.

Seams in the wallpaper are the thing that will drive you crazy once you sit back to enjoy your feature wall if they are visible. A professional job will not show any seams (unless you are hanging grasscloth- another blog altogether.) Minimize the visibility of seams by starting in the area opposite the most-used entrance to the room or where a window throws the light. Once the wallpaper drop is lined up use your fingers to close any seams showing. Again dont stretch or overwork the paper.

Sometimes, rather than butting one panel up to another, you’ll need to create your own seam. This is called a double cut. The best way to do this is to lap one panel over the other, and cut down the middle of the overlap. Then peel the two pieces apart, and pull out the small strip that was cut off the underlying piece. This type of cut as well as a selvedge wallpaper (untrimmed & needs to be cut exactly on the table) is best left to the professionals!

To keep the edges from curling, you need to set them with a roller. Running the roller along the seams also helps flatten the edges.

It’s a lot easier to clean up excess paste before it has fully cured, so with a clean damp cloth lightly wipe every panel as you go. But always check the instructions to see if the wallpaper is wipable 1st. If you have a fabric or a natural fibre like Grasscloth DO NOT USE A DAMP CLOTH as this will mark the fabric.

Matching the pattern up on every drop correctly will mean the difference between a visually pleasing, professional finish or the opposite! Wallpapers are installed differently according to patterns and material type. Some wallpapers, depending on quality and design, are easier than others to get this tricky stage done well.

If a pattern has a straight match you will need to carefully match up the pattern on each sheet as each sheet will repeat horizontally in the same place.

If your wallpaper has an offset pattern repeat this means the pattern is staggered so the next drop matches up (usually) half way down the first. You will need to lay out the 1st drop once cut, lie the next length over the top of it to find the place where the pattern matches and cut there and so on.

If your wallpaper is a reverse hang wallpaper, each alternate drop will need to be hung upside down still matching the pattern as you go.

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