Lee installing wallpaper mural in panels

Learn how to hang wallpaper

Well there are a few guides for how to hang wallpaper out there in the googlesphere.  But here is the ultimate guide if you think you would like to DIY hanging your wallpaper.

In this guide i am going to refer in terms of only wallpapering a feature wall. Wrapping around to conjoining walls etc. may be too adventurous for a novice!

However, remember if after reading this you may think it will be too hard you can always get a quote for the experts to install your wallpaper.

Have the right tools ready

To hang wallpaper you will need:

  • Sharp knife
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge smoother
  • Cloth
  • Pasting brush or roller
  • Level
  • Bucket of clean water and sponge   
  • Ladder (if ceiling height can’t be easily reached)
  • Pasting table

 

A note on adhesives; you can buy a ready mix paste at Bunnings. But know that a professional will use a commercial grade, Low VOV paste that will adhere & last better and is also strippable.

Being the adhesive that literally holds it all together you want to get the best one you can. Without a good glue you may not get enough tack to the wall which will make it prone to bubbles. Meaning it may not stand the test of time.

Did you order enough wallpaper?

So the last thing you want to do is get half way through and realise you don’t have enough to finish. For the DIYer i would always advise having some extra just in case you make any mistakes.

To work out how much wallpaper you need use our calculator tool.

If you were to run out and need to order more it is recommended to request stock from the same batch or dyelot. You can find this information on the side of your wallpaper rolls.  Buying wallpaper from different batches means you run the risk of their being a difference in colour or pattern. However this may not be available hence why it is important to order correctly to begin with.

Tortona in taupe stack of wallpaper rolls

Are you ready?

Like i mean literally! Don’t jump the gun. Your wallpapering must be left until last during renovations, after flooring, painting etc. You most likely will have spent lots of money on a great wallpaper, don’t blow it by getting excited to see it and hanging it too early. If you have other trades working they might accidentally knock it or dirty it.

Then, when you are ready to begin think about prep first. Great preparation is key in life and hanging wallpaper!

If the wall you are wallpapering is a new wall (i.e. no paint, bare plasterboard) you will need to apply a sealer coat a minimum of 12 hours prior to hanging wallpaper. The sealer coat can be any paint or undercoat as long as its water based.

You can remove any plug plate covers, light fixtures etc. And create plenty of space in the area for you to work.

Next give the wall a sand to ensure no bumps or imperfections are present. This also removes dirt or residue making washing the wall unnecessary.

Wallpaper covering all imperfections is a myth. It’s very important to start with a smooth wall surface to ensure the best finish.

Pro tip

If there is any damp present this needs to be treated prior to installing otherwise the wallpaper will grow mould and just peel off. To treat the walls; seal if slight damp. If a serious damp issue is present a builder will have to apply damp course.

Read the manufacturers instructions

Read The Manufacturers Instructions

I will repeat that for all the men who want to learn how to hang wallpaper – yes you need to read the instructions!

There are lots of symbols on your roll which will let you know important installation instructions. These will be things like; do you apply the paste to the wall or the paper and instructions on how you line the pattern up.

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.

Straight Match

The instructions may indicate the pattern has a straight match. For this you will need to carefully match up the pattern on each sheet. Each sheet will repeat horizontally in the same place.

Offset or Drop match

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.

Reverse Hang

Your wallpaper may be a reverse hang wallpaper meaning each alternate drop will need to be hung upside down still matching the pattern as you go.

Double Cut

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!

Where to start on a wall

Your next step in how to hang wallpaper is to work 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.

When it comes to murals, they are usually hung left to right and will be numbered or have instructions.

I Wallpaper Interiors installer hanging wallpaper on commercial job

Measure Up

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 knife or blade carefully cut a strip against the metal straight edge to get a clean, straight line. Razors dull quickly, so change the blade as often as needed. Using a sharp knife will ensure clean cuts and will avoid rips. You probably don’t have extra paper to waste! A professional will use a new snap off blade every few cuts. 
You will need to measure every drop. And 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.

Wallpaper sizing

If you have a paste the paper wallpaper you will need to size the wall first. To do this; use your roller and brush to apply paste directly to the wall. Leave until tacky. This 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 evenly over the back of the paper ensuring you cover all of the surface.

Wallpaper booking

Booking is the process of gently folding the paper in on itself allowing time for the paste to activate, the paper to soften and the paste to cover the wallpaper fully. In other words it 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.

Read the instructions for booking times but 3-5 minutes is usual. But be aware; if it is hot or humid the paper will dry out much quicker.

booking wallpaper diagram

Paste the wall

When your instructions say to hang wallpaper using a paste the wall method; use your roller to liberally spread the paste around the entire wall surface where your first drop will go.

Do not paste the entire wall in the beginning as the paste will dry out before you get there. It is also essential not to miss any spots. And do not apply too thickly. 

Following these steps will ensure you get good adhesion to the wall and no air bubbles. Pasting not done properly will likely see it slowly peeling back off the wall.

Perfecting your how to hang wallpaper techniques

Still with me? Lets talk details next;

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 which is another article altogether!)

You can 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 don’t stretch or overwork the paper.

 

Commercial wallpaper installation

How to hang wallpaper - pro tips to finish

Do you want a tip to keep the edges from curling? You can to set them with a roller. Running the roller along the seams also helps flatten the edges.

Remember 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 first.

If you have a fabric or a natural fibre like Grasscloth DO NOT USE A DAMP CLOTH as this will mark the fabric.

When checking over your hung wallpaper it is a good idea to check from different angles and in different lights. This is to ensure no bubbles are present and the joins are perfectly aligned and matched. Different lights filtering through show up different aspects so artificial light may show a bubble that wasn’t seen in daylight.

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