Paper Projects

Hanging wallpaper is an are form

Yesterday I saw the most beautiful hand printed wallpaper and it got me thinking how everyone should know how to hang wallpaper on at least one wall. You can create and amazingly unique look these days, as there are so many options for wall coverings. Don’t think cheap prints from DIY stores; look online for places where you can even customise your own paper.

But first how to hang.... 

One of the key things to remember is that your walls need to be well prepped. Fill and sand any holes and if the wall is really bumpy it might be worth getting it skimmed by a plasterer. Thoroughly clean the wall with sugar soap, this is a harsh abrasive cleaner (not quite as sweet as it sounds) that scrubs any dirt and residues off the walls. Remember to rinse the walls with clean warm water after using sugar soap and wait for the wall to dry before papering.

Remember a few key things before you start:

  • Hanging wallpaper is an art form so if you aren’t confident hire a professional, and remember the more expensive the wallpaper the more likely you are to need a pro.
  • Cheaper wallpaper is more likely to tear and overstretch and the patterns won’t be as easy to match.
  • Always buy more rolls then you need as you can return unused ones, but if you find you need more then they may come from a different batch and therefore may have slight colour and pattern variations. So check all your rolls are from the same batch.

Firstly you need to ensure you have the right tools, sharp scissors, ladder, pasting bucket, pasting table, pasting brush, measuring tape, plumbline, pencil, dry brush to smooth the paper and dry cloths.

It’s hard for me to run through a step by step guide on wallpapering in this blog but there are a number of places you can watch videos online or DIY books that you can read to help. The main stages though are as follows:

1)    Measure and cut your lengths, remember to take into account the drop & pattern repeat.

2)    Mark each length so you know which order they go in.

3)    Start pasting the lengths and then fold them into themselves so that the ends meet the middle of the paper and the pasted sides are folded on top of each other.

4)    Let the paste soak into the paper for at least 10 mins, this allows the paper to become more malleable and therefore easier to work with on the wall.

5)    Take the first drop to the wall and unfold the top section and slide it into position. When you are happy with it’s place smooth over with a dry brush and then unfold the bottom section.

6)    If you have any bumps put a small prick in the bump and smooth it over.

7)    When the paper is dry you will notice less nicks and marks then when wet so it’s best to stop fiddling before you make things worse!

If you don’t want to apply wallpaper you there are a number of interesting alternatives including:

1)    Stickers – there are some really amazing wall stickers on the market that are easy to apply and can create really funky feature without the hassle of hanging wallpaper. Check out for some ideas.

2)    For something really different you can get photo printed wallpaper where you can send in your own picture to be printed onto wallpaper, this is really unique and will create something totally individual and personal to you. Although it can be pricey.

3)    Painted patterns, it may sound a bit ‘changing rooms’ but leave Lewellyn-Bowen aside and think about creating patterns and effects through paint. You can paint a room stripy or dare I say it use stencils (again there are some really funky ones around), or you can use dots or overlapping geometric patterns to create something really unique.

4)    Use large panels hung onto the wall to create a statement. If you buy some MDF board and cut it to size you can paint them, tile them or even wallpaper the panels which is a bit easier then wallpapering the whole wall. Or you can create a series or artwork by hanging smaller panels in a sequence.

5)    Tiles are a great way to bend the rules and brighten a room, don’t just think bathroom and kitchen when you think of tiles. You can create a statement by applying tiles to any wall. Consider using mirrored tiles or mosaics to create art like statements on your walls.

Whatever you decide to do remember nothing is permanent so you can change with you style and have fun with it.  

Jo Behari