Tuesday, 5 October 2010

How to...Wallpaper

Wallpaper is back... in natural tones and an amazing selection of textures. Papering does take a little more time and patience than paint but the results are well worth the effort. If you're worried about getting it right, find out how to wallpaper in this step-by-step guide.


Weekend job for a medium/large room


From around £5 for 10 metres of wallpaper, plus £5 for enough wallpaper adhesive for 12 rolls of wallpaper


Pasting table, bucket, stepladder, paste, including plumb line, paste brush, edge roller, stripping knife, smoothing brush, edge trimming roller, wallpaper scissors, utility knife, tape measure and pencil, broom (to go between two chairs to hold pasted paper), sponge, bulldog clips, long batten or straight-edge.

1. Cut enough lengths of paper to complete the first wall, allowing 100mm for trimming. Push a roll of paper against the corner of the wall and mark about 25mm in from the end. Hold the plumb line at ceiling height so that it passes through the pencil mark and make several more marks along the line, joining them up with the batten.

2. Paste the first sheet by spreading some paste into the centre and working the brush in a herringbone pattern - spreading the paste to the edges. Hold the paper against the edge furthest from you and paste up to this edge first. Then pull the paper towards you and paste the nearest edge. Paste two or three pieces of paper at once to allow the paper to absorb some of the paste and become more pliable.

3. Fold the pasted sides inwards so that no paste touches the face side. Hang the folded paper over a broom between two chairs.

4. Lightly press the top of the first length against the wall, with a 50mm overlap. Slide the edge up to the vertical line and use a smoothing brush to get rid of air bubbles. Again, use herringbone strokes from the centre. Trim the top and bottom of the length by creasing the paper into the skirting and ceiling/picture rail with the back of the wallpaper scissors. Cut along the crease.

5. Hang the next length in the same way, butting the edge neatly against the first piece. Make sure the edges are firmly glued down by running a seam roller along the joint. Always sponge off any excess paste with a clean wet sponge or it will dry as a shiny patch.


  • Corners are usually not exactly square. At an internal corner, measure from the last full width roll to the corner and add 15mm. Paste this cut length to the wall and press the small overlap piece around the corner. Overlap this piece with the next length of paper, using a plumb line for accuracy.
  • For external corners, use the same technique but allow about 25mm overlap. Hang the first length on the new wall so that it is about 12mm from the corner.
  • Turn off the electrical supply before papering around sockets and switches. Remove the cover plates and fit paper underneath, trim to size and re-fit plates.
  • Buy all the paper you need in one go and check the batch numbers are the same.
  • Use bulldog clips to hold the paper on the table as you paste it.
  • If you haven't papered before, choose a plain paper rather than a complex pattern.
  • Make a small cross with a craft knife in the centre of any air bubbles under the dry paper. Brush some paste on the underside of the flaps and press down with the seam roller.
  • Don't mix old and new paste. Mix up enough to cover one wall at a time.
  • Put half a matchstick into the ends of wall plugs so that you can see where to replace hooks and screws.

By Naomi Cleaver at www.channel4.com

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