How To Wallpaper

While hanging wallpaper appears to be an arduous task, you really need not be afraid of ruining your marriage over it or permanently attaching yourself to the wall.  If you can take the time to prepare the walls, and then follow instructions and take it one step at a time, you will be able to get those walls covered in no time at all.  To top it off, your relationship and your sanity will still be intact.  In this article, I will assume that there is no wallpaper to be removed from walls.  With that done, you can take the following steps to complete your job.

  1. Wash the walls using a mild detergent.  Most wallpaper companies recommend using TSP (trisodium phosphate) as your cleanser.

  • Remove all switch plates and outlet covers.
  • Fill any small holes and uneven spots on the walls using spackling.
  • Use sandpaper to smooth imperfections from the walls.
  • Prime your walls and let the primer dry for at least 24 hours.  If you skip this step, you will find your wallpaper nearly impossible to remove later.
  • While your primer is drying, check your calculations to make sure you have enough wallpaper to complete the job.  Check out BrewsterWallcoveringCompany for a free calculator to help you determine square footage.
  • Make a plumb line, using a plumb tool to determine the straight vertical line, and use a straight edge and pencil to draw it on the wall.  This will ensure that you hang your wallpaper straight.
  • Measure the wallpaper width and subtract ½ inch for overlap.  Then measure out and mark the entire room using plumb lines for placement of each piece.  Make sure pieces do not end in corners, but come at least ½ inch onto the next wall.
  • If the wallpaper is not prepasted, prepare your wallpaper paste according to instructions.  Use the wallpaper paste suggested by the manufacturer or consultant in the hardware store.
  • Cut your wallpaper into strips, making them longer than needed to allow for pattern match.
  • Apply paste to the back of the wallpaper using a paintbrush, or dip prepasted wallpaper into a water tray.  Next, fold the paper into thirds so the glued sides touch.  This is called "booking."  Allow the booked wallpaper to sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • Unfold the first piece of wallpaper and place it on the wall, next to the plumb line.
  • Using a sponge or wall scraper, smooth the wallpaper onto the wall.
  • Use a sharp razor and straight edge to trim your paper at the ends.
  • Follow steps 12-14 for each piece of wallpaper making sure to match the patterns as you hang each piece of paper.
  • When you are done, you may use a wallpaper seam roller to press down any visible seams (where the wallpaper sections meet).
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