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Properly hang wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper can be an easy task if you have the tools and know how to use them properly. This quick guide will show you how to use wallcovering tools to help take the pain out of hanging wallpaper. Our tips will give you the the proper techniques on how to hang wallpaper, and show you what tools to have handy like a wallpaper removal tool, wallpaper scoring tool and more! Hanging wallpaper can be fun and easy.

    Tools needed:

  • A large surface (table or flat door)
  • Stepladder/step stool
  • Wallpaper scoring tool
  • Razor blade holder or snap blade and scissors
  • Plumb bob (or make your own with a string, tack and weight such as a scissors and chalk)
  • Smoothing brush to smooth paper
  • Wide metal putty knife
  • Wallcovering seam roller
  • Wallcovering water tray (prepasted only)
  • Screwdriver for removing switch plates and outlet covers
  • Sponge, bucket and cleanup cloths
  • Drop cloth
  • Sandpaper and wallpaper sizing

1. Preparing Your Walls

Fill any holes or cracks with spackling compound. Let dry, sand, smooth and prime. Remove any previous wallpaper or vinyl wall-covering with a wallpaper removal tool. Clean walls so they are free of foreign substances. Thoroughly cure new plaster walls and seam-tape and prime new drywall. Sand glossy walls until dull. All walls should be sized.

2. Start with a straight edge

Establish a true vertical line from ceiling to floor before hanging the first strip. Start the project in an inconspicuous spot such as behind a door, in a corner or next to a window. At this spot, measure out the width of the wallcovering minus 1/2" and tack a plumb bob at the ceiling line (Figure A). When the plumb bob stops swaying, lightly mark the wall with a pencil about 2" above the baseboard. Hold string taut against the baseboard mark and give it a quick snap to mark a true vertical on the wall. Use the chalk line as a guide for positioning the first wallcovering strip, wrapping the strip into the corner and 1/2" onto the adjoining wall. Strike a new plumb line before you start each new wall. Vertical Line in Wallpaper

3. Cut & Match

Measure wall height in several spots. Take the highest number and add 4' for trimming at ceiling and baseboard. Cut each wallcovering strip this length after matching the pattern. If the wallcovering has a pronounced pattern, plan to have an entire motif below the final trimmed top edge for the most pleasing effect. Roll out the next strip alongside the first strip. Match patterns before cutting. Repeat with each strip before cutting.

4. Preparing pre-pasted wallcoverings

Most wallpaper comes pre-pasted and is easily installed. Loosely re-roll strips pattern side in, adhesive side out. Start at the bottom of the strip so the top (which goes at the ceiling) is the outer flap (Figure B). Fill a wallcovering water tray with the rolls for timing. Lay a weighted object such as a screw driver inside the roll to keep it immersed. Change water often to prevent adhesive build-up on the wallcovering face.

Remove strip from water tray, unwinding it slowly, loosely fold the strip pasted sides together without creasing (Figure C). Follow the directions included in the rolls for adhesive setup time (Usually 3 minutes).
prepasted wallpaper

5. Preparing un-pasted wallcoverings

Roll out wallcovering strip, pattern side down. Apply adhesive to top half of strip with a wide brush or roller, working from end to center. Repeat this procedure with the bottom half. Follow adhesive instructions for setup time. Shop all wallpaper


6. Hanging the strips

Unfold top half of strip and apply to the wall leaving a 2" overlap at the ceiling. Stroke the wallcovering with smoothing brush from the center toward the edges until all wrinkles and air bubbles are removed (Figure D). Unfold lower half and repeat smoothing procedure. If wrinkles occur, pull strip away from wall and rehang.
prepasted wallpaper

7. Trimming top and bottom

Trim strip at ceiling and baseboard with a razor or snap blade knife and putty knife. Hold the putty knife against the ceiling or trim and cut with the razor knife along the top of the putty knife (Figure E). Change knife blades often for best results. Reposition (do not drag) putty knife and slide blade along without lifting for a clean, even cut.


8. Butting the strips

Fit strip edges together without any overlap or gap. Hang new strip of wallcovering the same way as the previous one, carefully matching patterns at seam. Use edge of previous strip as a vertical guide (Figure F).Allow wallcovering adhesive to set a minute, then if necessary roll the seam edges with a roller to ensure adhesion and a tight seam. Wipe excess glue from the wallcovering surface with a damp cloth or sponge as you go (Figure G).
prepasted wallpaper

9. Rounding corners

For inside corners, measure from edge of last strip to corner (at ceiling, middle and baseboard). Add 1/2" to the widest measurement and cut the next strip to this width. Save the remainder. Hang the strip turning the corner 1/2" onto the adjoining wall. Establish a plumb line on the new wall for hanging the remaining part of the strip. Hang the remainder, overlapping the 1/2" from the previous strip into the corner.

For outside corners, follow the same technique of measuring, cutting and wrapping inside corners. Slit excess at the ceiling and baseboard to smoothly make the turn around the corner. Strike a new plumb on the adjoining wall to hang remainder of the strip.

10. Doors & windows

Hang a strip over the door or window from ceiling to the floor. Measure and cut excess with scissors. Cut diagonally at corner, it, and smooth. Smooth the rest of the strip up to the edge of the molding. Finish by carefully cutting along the molding edge with snap blade or razor using a putty knife as the guide.

11. Outlets & switchplates

Make sure all electricity is turned off, then remove outlet cover, hang wallcovering and diagonally cut at the opening, then replace outlet cover.

12. Hanging a border

For prepasted borders going over a painted surface, cut border the wall length plus 1/2". wet border. Accordion-fold loosely, paste to paste, avoiding creasing (Figure H). Apply to wall. Overlap at corners as indicated for full strips. To frame a window or doorway, butt or miter corners. To miter, overlap border at a 90 degree angle and cut from outside edge to inside edge at 45 degrees. Remove excess wallcovering and butt the 45 degree edges together to form a right angle of the border. When applying a border over wallcovering, use a vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive. prepasted wallpaper

13. Covering a ceiling

Preparation and and application are the same as for walls, with these differences: Cover ceilings first, then walls. Work crosswise rather than lengthwise, since shorter strips are easier to handle. Enlist the aid of a friend to help smooth strips onto the ceiling. Use a broom or mop to get the wallcovering up (Figure I). Once there, you can slide it into proper position and smooth with a wallcovering brush (Figure J). prepasted wallpaper

    Helpful Hints:

  • Buy an extra roll of wallcovering to keep in case an area is ever damaged.
  • Paintable wallpaper might be a good option for those rooms where you need to have a specific look and feel.
  • Use a wall liner for lining over plaster or cement block.
  • Unwanted bubbles are easily removed by cutting an "X" into the bubble and carefully lifting the edge. Apply paste and press back into place.
  • Note dye lot number, pattern number and collection name for future reference.
  • Do not use newspaper to cover your work table. Ink from paper may stain wallcovering.
  • Take along scraps of wallcovering to coordinate colors and patterns when shopping for other furnishings.
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