March 23rd 2011

How to hang wallpaper perfectly

Wallpaper might feel like a fad of the past, but new patterns and colours are making it increasingly popular again as a decorating tool.

Here are all of the techniques to measure, cut and hang your wallpaper to perfection.

Choose where you want to begin

When you lay the first strip of wallpaper, it will have to match up at the end. The easiest way to do this is starting near a corner, behind curtains, or near a door, just in case the mismatch is less than desired.

From your starting point, draw a vertical straight edge on the wall using a level. This marks where the first strip of wallpaper will be placed.

Cut the wallpaper

To cut the wallpaper, lay the roll print side down on a flat work surface. Measure and cut the first strip to the needed length, adding an additional two inches at the top and the bottom of the paper. This allows for differences in ceiling height and changes in the surface. Measure and cut the remaining strips, paying close attention to matching the pattern.

Get the adhesive ready

If there is adhesive on pre-pasted paper, do the steps needed to activate it. If not, go to the next step.

Or… Apply wallpaper paste (to the paper)

If you have un-pasted wallpaper, apply the pre-mixed paste with a large brush or paint roller. Work from the middle to the edges, covering evenly with paste. Next, book the paper, which will be in the instruction sheet with your wallpaper. The amount of time varies for different paper.

Or… Apply wallpaper paste (to the wall)

If you have “Paste the Wall” wallpaper, then use a roller to evenly distrbute the paste where the first strip of the wall paper will hang.

Hang the wallpaper up

Grab a stool if you need one, and start at the ceiling. Carefully unfold the top half of the first strip of wallpaper. Place the side edge of the strip on the measured line, leaving two extra inches at the top for later trimming. When it is in the right position, smooth the paper against the wall with your hands. Start at one edge and carefully work your way across. Then, use a smoothing brush to brush the paper working towards the seam to rid any air bubbles. Unfold the bottom half of the sheet and follow the same steps. Use a seam roller to gently smooth the edges.

Trim the edges

Use a putty knife to hold the top edge of the excess wallpaper at the ceiling. With a utility knife, trim the excess paper. Repeat for the bottom edge. Use a damp rag to clean and paste from the baseboard and ceiling.

Wipe and smooth

Use a clean, damp sponge to remove any extra paste on the wallpaper. This will also help smooth out air bubbles.

Smooth down the corners

Measure from the last strip of wall paper to the corner. Add an inch, and cut the next strip that width. Apply/activate the paste, and apply the wallpaper to the wall. Smooth it carefully into the corner. At the corner, make a small slit from the top of the trip to the wall so it lies flat at the ceiling. Repeat at the base. Trim, and clean.

Finish the corner

Carefully place the next strip of wallpaper on the wall so it overlaps that extra inch from the previous step.


Continue with the remaining room, matching the pattern, trimming, de-bubbling, checking the corners, and cleaning.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.