Installing: Paste Wallpaper
***We highly recommend that a professional installer mount paste wallpaper. ***
Tools you will need:
Have the necessary tools for this DIY how to install wallpaper project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Chalk line
- Paint roller
- Tape measure
- Taping knife
- Utility knife
- Sponge (natural)
- Wallpaper roller
- Wallpaper smoother
Materials you will need:
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- “Wall size” primer/sizing product
- Wallpaper - Already Done!
- Wallpaper paste
Prep the wall -
Start by removing plate covers, heat registers and light fixtures. Fill any holes with a non shrinking joint compound so you don’t have to wait until it dries and apply another layer. Scrape the walls with a drywall knife or sand them with 50-grit sandpaper to remove smaller imperfections.
Finally, cover the whole wall with “wall size,” a primer/sizing product, an option could be Shieldz made by Zinsse. Don’t skip this step! Using wall size will help the paper adhere to the wall and reduce the chance that the paper will shrink. It also makes it easier to remove the paper when the time comes. One-gallon containers are available at home centers. And never, hang wallpaper over unfinished drywall—it won’t ever come off if you do. Make sure all the walls have at least one coat of primer.
Roll on the paste -
Use a high-quality 1/2-in.-nap paint roller cover to apply paste—the cheap ones will leave fuzz balls behind.
Use a high-quality 1/2-in.-nap paint roller cover to apply paste—the cheap ones will leave fuzz balls all over the paper.
When working with prepasted products, use a paint roller to roll the water on the paper. Submerging paper in a tray is messy and doesn’t guarantee uniform coverage. You can even add a little paste to the water (2 cups per gallon) to encourage stronger adhesion.
Choose the right paste for you - Our wallpaper is standard so any paste should do.
Book the paper before hanging-
Fold the paper so that when you unfold it, you’ll be working with two-thirds of the panel.
Booking is the process of folding the paper in on itself. It allows time for the paste to activate and the paper to soften. Fold the paper so that when you unfold it, you’ll be working with two-thirds of the panel. The longer the paper, the easier it is to get straight. Cut a bunch of pieces of paper at once, and book several at the same time. Set each roll in front of the wall where it’s going to be hung. If you’re a beginner, set them in a plastic bag to give you more time to work with them.
Gently smooth out the paper -
Run a smoother over every square inch of the paper. Don’t push too hard and squeeze out the paste or stretch the paper.
Once the paper is on the wall, be sure to run your smoother over every square inch of the paper. But don’t push too hard on your smoother or you’ll squeeze out the paste and stretch the paper. This is especially important when you’re working with prepasted paper. Stretched-out paper with too little paste behind it is guaranteed to shrink when it dries. Shrinking causes gaps in the seams—gaps are bad.
Keep it clean -
Use natural sponges to clean off paste residue after each sheet is hung. It’s a lot easier to clean up the paste while it’s still moist instead of waiting until it cures.
It’s a lot easier to clean up the paste before it has fully cured, so you can sponge off every panel with warm water as you go. Use natural sponges, one in each hand. You swipe with the first and then make a final pass with the other. Use a few drops of dish soap when you're working with particularly sticky paste. To avoid creating suds, squeeze the sponges out while they’re still submerged in water, then give them another small squeeze above the water bucket.
Overlap and cut both pieces at once *optional* or you can just overlap -
Cut down the middle of the overlap
Lap one panel over the other, and cut down the middle of the overlap. Angle the knife blade down low so more than just the tip of the blade is doing the cutting.
Sometimes, rather than butting one panel up to another, you’ll need to create your own seam. 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.
If you don’t have a steady hand, you can use a drywall knife as a cutting guide. Try not to penetrate the drywall paper. Angle the knife blade down low so more than just the tip of the blade is doing the cutting. We use a knife with blades that snap off. Blades are a lot cheaper than wallpaper, so you can snap off a section after every cut.
Use a drywall knife as a straightedge -
If you don’t have a steady hand, you can use a drywall knife as a cutting guide.
Leave an extra 2 in. at the top and bottom, and use a drywall knife as a guide to trim it. Some prefer a 10-in. knife so you don’t have to move it as often as you would a smaller one. Hold the knife down close to the wall to avoid cutting into the ceiling.
Use a scissors for relief cuts -
Use a scissors instead of a knife to avoid accidentally cutting into wood trim and other obstacles.
When you’re up against trim or other obstacles, you’ll need to make a relief cut before trimming the paper. You could make the cut with a knife, but scissors are better to avoid scratching the trim.