How To Hang Wallpaper

Where to start Wallpapering

The general rule, especially with a light or plain paper, is to paper away from the light so that any overlaps between strips will not

how to hang wallpaper tips

show up. Next to a window is ideal. But if you have a dominant feature, like a chimney breast, in the room start there — particularly when using a paper with a bold pattern. In the case of a chimney breast, hang one strip centrally and work outwards from either side of it.

Wherever you start, make sure that you hang the paper vertically by using a plumb-line, to draw a clear guide. It is not safe to assume that any wall is either square or vertical, so you must repeat this before papering each wall.

If you are hanging from the window or from the centre of the chimney breast the position of the first strip, and hence the guide-line, will be fixed. Otherwise, plumb your guideline 15mm less than the width of your paper away from the corner of the wall. Your first strip will then fit neatly round the corner.

Matching and cutting wallpaper

Cut your first length of wallpaper about 100mm longer than the height of the wall, to allow for trimming at either end later.

If the paper is patterned, it must be matched as the lengths are cut, not forgetting to allow the 100mm for trimming. Bold patter- ned paper looks best if you hang it so that a complete motif appears at the top of the wall. You may need extra length to achieve this. With drop patterns, it is usually possible to match a point in the first length with a similar point in the third, the second with the fourth and so on, alternating as you go along.


  • Using a plumbline is the simplest way of finding a true vertical.
  • All it consists of is a weight attached to a length of string.
  • When the weight is allowed to hang free the string finds a true vertical.
  • To make your own plumbline. Tie a small heavy object like a bolt to a suitable length of fine string. Tape the end of the string to the wall and let the weight hang free until it stops swinging.
  • To make a line on the wall, you can draw along the string with a pencil. But it’s easier to make a chalk line. Rub a piece of chalk along the string. When the vertical has been established. Anchor the bottom so the string is taut and ‘twang’ it against the wall.
  • The chalk will leave a perpendicular mark which can be used as a guideline.
  • Always use the paste recommended by the paper manufacturers and follow their instructions carefully.
  • To give yourself a clean edge on which to wipe off surplus paste, tie a length of string tautly across the top of the paste bucket to the ends of the handle.

How to paste wallpaper

Place half the length of paper on the pasting table and start applying the paste. Brush the paste outwards from the middle towards the edges in a ‘herringbone’ pattern. To avoid getting paste on the table, hang each edge of the paper about 20mm over the edge of the how to paste wallpapertable before you paste it.

  • After pasting half, fold the paper over. Paste to paste, and complete the rest of the length. Fold to the middle in the same way.
  • Then hang the two loops of paper over your arm and carry to the wall.
  • TIP: leave the pasted the paper for a few minutes unless advised otherwise by the manufacturere before hanging. This allows it to absorb moisture, which makes it more supple and easier to hang. You may be able to paste a second length while waiting.
  • If you are using ready pasted paper. Cut it to length and loosely roll it up. Fill the trough supplied with the paper with water.
  • Place it at the foot of the wall and immerse the roll for about one minute before hanging.
  • Some vinyls (e.g. Novamura) are designed to be hung dry onto a pre-pasted wall. In this case, before pasting the wall, put some news-paper or a polythene sheet on the floor to catch any drips.


To hang the paper, unfold the pasted sheet and position the top half on the wall, using the plumbline as a vertical guide. Slide it carefully against the line and upwards until you have 50mm at the ceiling for trimming.

Now smooth the rest of the paper onto the wall. The best tool for this is a purpose-made hanging brush, but a soft cloth (or sponge on vinyl papers) will do if used with care. Start your smoothing strokes in the middle and work towards the edges to force out any air bubbles. After finishing the top half, unfold the bottom section and repeat the process. If you find that the length is misaligned, don’t try to force it: peel off and start again.

wallpaper trimmingTo trim, force the paper well into the angle where the wall joins the ceiling and run the back of your scissors along the angle to make a crease. Then gently peel the paper back off the wall and cut along the crease with the scissors. In awkward corners you may find it easier to cut the paper directly with a sharp trimming knife. But avoid doing so if possible as it is easy to tear the paper.

  • Smooth the paper back onto the wall and repeat at the skirting.
  • Finish by sponging any excess paste off the skirting board and ceiling before it dries.
  • Follow the same procedure with sub-sequent sheets, taking care to match any patterns. Sheets should always meet edge to edge at a butt joint unless specifically desig-ned to take overlaps.

Allow the paper to dry for ten minutes and then run a seam roller or soft cloth down the seam to ensure good adhesion. Do not use a roller with embossed papers as the texture will be flattened. TIP: Any air bubbles that appear after the paper has started to dry can be dealt with by puncturing the middle of the bubble with your trimming knife. Gently force out the air and smooth to the surface.


Corners and other awkward places need special treatment. Never try to paper around the corner — corners are seldom truly vertical.

Always paper in from one side and overlap, plumb a line on the far side and paper back into the corner, then trim.

On internal corners, take measurements at several points from the last complete length of hung paper to the corner. To the largest measurement add on 20mm for an overlap. Transfer this figure to the next length and cut to width after you have pasted and folded it. Hang and crease the paper tight into the corner using the brush and scissors, then turn the overlap around it and smooth.

Now plumb a line on the other side of the corner, the width of a length minus 50mm away from it. Hang your next length against this, press the overlap into the corner over that of the previous length, and trim off.

Use a similar procedure on external corners. Take several measurements to the corner, add 20mm to the largest and cut the first strip. Hang and trim in the normal fashion, turning the overlap around the corner. Then hang the second strip against a line plumbed around the corner and trim the free edge against the corner itself.

TIP: Keep any offcuts of paper as they can be useful for papering awkward places or repairing damage.

Wallpapering Around Light switches and sockets

  • Before papering around a light switch or socket, turn the electricity off at the mains — remember that paste contains water.
  • Start applying the paper in the normal way from
  • the top of the wall. Then, when you reach the fitting. Press the paper over it to leave an out-line on the surface. Pierce a hole in the middle.
  • With square fittings, make four diagonal cuts to just beyond the corners. Use the scis-sors to crease the flaps where they meet the fitting. Trim off along the creases and smooth around the fitting.
  • With round fittings, make a series of cuts to form a star shape, then crease and trim in the same way.
  • To get a better finish with sockets and switches, remove the housing before trimming then cut slightly inside the crease marks and smooth flush to the wall. Replace the housing so that the edges of the cuts are hidden inside.
  • With a metallized paper ensure it doesn’t touch the electrical contacts before you switch the power on. When you cannot re- move the socket. Leave the edge of the paper dry. Trim with sharp knife and paste down.

Recesses and reveals

Recesses are always difficult to paper well. To paper the sides of the recess, you can simply follow the same procedure as for external corners. Taking one side at a time. But never try to fold the paper over to cover the top of the recess as well.

To paper the top of the recess, measure its depth. Add 40mm and cut a piece of paper to this length. Trim the back overlap but turn the front one around the lip of the recess and on to the vertical wall. The strip of paper directly above the recess should be trimmed flush to the lip. To blend the overlap so that you don’t get a hard line, try tearing the paper instead of cutting it with scissors.

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