How to Hang Wallpaper: A Redecoration Guide

Have you just moved into a new place and want to put your stamp on things? Perhaps you’ve been in your place a long time and want to give it a spruce; or, you’ve decided to change the purpose of a room (is that the patter of little feet we hear?); whatever your reasons even thinking about how to hang wallpaper can be a daunting task.

Stripping back the current decor is the first stage of getting the home of your dreams. It may seem like a myth but it’s possible to remove wallpaper easily; and with the right guidance, tools, and a little willpower you’ll have your walls back to their natural, neutral state that’s when it’s time to tackle hanging new wallpaper.

How to Remove Wallpaper

Stripping wallpaper

What You’ll Need:

  1. A wallpaper scoring roller
  2. 3/4 of bucket of hot water with 1/4 fabric softener (topped up with hot water from the kettle when needed)
  3. A bin
  4. Stiff spatula
  5. A butter knife

Step 1: Prepare for Removal

Removing wallpaper is one of the messiest DIY jobs that you’ll undertake without employing a professional. Ensure the protection of your home by preparing the area. You can do this by laying dust sheets and removing fragile items from the room.

Likewise, make sure the wall itself is free from any objects, ornaments or hanging features that will be in the way and could get damaged in the process.

You’re going to be using liquid and getting a lot of the room wet, so we would advise turning off the electricity to the room, or at least each individual plug point.

Step 2: Remove the Facing

Person removing wallpaper

When you’re ready to start removing the wallpaper, do so by tearing off the facing. You can use a butter knife to lift the corners, which are usually the loosest areas.

You should complete this step without using water. This point is to remove the top layer of paper and leave the backing – this way it’ll soak up water better, making the rest of the job easier.

The older your wallpaper is, the harder it will be to remove and is likely to peel off in small chunks (or not at all). Fear not, that’s where the wallpaper scoring roller comes in.

Step 3: Score the Wall

Take your wallpaper roller and roll it all over the wallpaper. Don’t press too hard as the marks may come through to your walls, which is not the effect that you want. You’ll want to make sure that you completely cover the whole surface of the walls doing this. Everywhere!

The scoring tool punches hundreds of little tiny holes in the wallpaper facing so the water can penetrate the backing (again making it easier to remove).

Scoring is particularly helpful if you’re removing glossy or vinyl wallpaper.

Step 4: Apply Hot Water Solution

Now you can start to apply the hot water solution to the walls. Make sure that the entire wall has been covered with the solution. Then repeat. Ensure that the paper is completely covered in the fabric conditioner solution.

Step 5: Remove Wallpaper Easily

removing old wallpaper

Once saturated you should be able to remove wallpaper easily from the wall now, in large chunks. You may need to use a spatula for the tougher bits. Make sure to remove every little piece, including all paste.

You’ll find that you’ll need to reapply the solution after 10 to 15 minutes as things will start to dry up. You can then use your solution to wash the wall down completely, ready for paint or paper.

And there you have it, how to remove wallpaper easily!

Now it’s time for the next step: learning how to hang wallpaper.

The right wallpaper can give a room character, create a style or add to an existing theme. Wallpaper comes in so many colours, patterns and styles that your options are endless; your biggest decision will be narrowing down your selection to just one!

[Photo Credit]

How to Hang Wallpaper

What You’ll Need:

  • Paste
  • Paste brush or roller
  • Knife or snap off blade
  • Level
  • Sponge and bucket of clean water
  • Smoothing brush or plastic smoother
  • Tape measure
  • Putty knife or straight edge
  • A pencil
  • Step stool
  • Drop cloth

First of all, you’re going to need to work out what quantity of wallpaper you need, make sure to check the label on each wallpaper to see how much there is per roll; it should only be a simple calculation to determine how many rolls you’ll need.

To work out the surface area of a wall multiply the width by the length. So, if your wall is 5 m long and 3 m high, then the calculation would be 5 by 3 which makes 15 square metres. Ensure you have enough paper for the job.

You can save time by buying wallpaper which has already had the glue applied. If you have this type of wallpaper, you will not need to buy wallpaper paste.

Stage 1: Preparation

Man putting glue on wall paper on the preparation table

For the best when hanging wallpaper, the first thing you should do is paint the surface of where you want to wallpaper, with a solution of PVA glue mixed at a dilution of 4 parts PVA to one-part water. Many people like to draw a line on the wall going right up to the top with a spirit level before they hang wallpaper so that they have an accurate vertical guide for hanging.

Next measure your first piece for hanging – and then add on around an extra 25 centimetres to it and cut. You need the excess to make fitting easier.

Mix your wallpaper paste in a bucket as per the instructions on the paste. Take your piece of wallpaper and place it on the back facing up so you can apply the paste to the paper. Evenly apply the paste brushing up and down making sure you cover the entire paper.

Stage 2: Hang the Wallpaper

how to hang wallpaper

Once done you must now fold the paper on itself making like a concertina pattern ready to hang. Give the glue around 5 minutes to get established on the paper.

Unfold your length of paper and offer it up to the wall using your vertical line to keep it straight. It should stick where you put it. If you are going up to the ceiling, leave 10cm or so beyond what is required and let this fold under the ceiling. You can then push the paper into the corner with your finger, smoothing things down and finally trimming the crease with a sharp knife to make a smart looking edge.

Do a similar thing at the bottom of your skirting boards, let the paper hang beyond them, push into place and then cut away any excess with a sharp knife. At this point, you can smooth out any bubbles by using a brush or sponge and brushing from the centre out.

Your next lengths can be hung by aligning them to the original as a guide. Continue the process, making sure to wipe off any excess wallpaper paste with a brush.

Stage 3: Doors, Windows, Switches

Wallpaper hanger is using a penknife to cut excess paper off.

The third step of learning how to hang wallpaper is dealing with doors, use the same kind of approach as at the tops and bottoms. Let the wallpaper hang over door frames and push it into the corners with your fingers and cut off a sharp join afterwards.

With light switches first turn off the electricity at the mains and loosen the light switch from the wall. What you can do then is hang wallpaper over the switch making sure it is flush. Then, using your fingers, feel where the four corners of the switch are and mark them with a pencil. Now using a pencil, you can make a hole in the middle of the corners and use scissors to cut out the area for the switch making sure this is a little smaller than the actual fitting.

Now pop the socket through the hole that you have just made carefully using a spatula or similar tool to prevent any ripping. Flatten things out and screw the socket back onto the wall smoothing the areas around the switch to make sure that there aren’t any bubbles.

Stage 4: Radiators and Corners

Dealing with radiators is made much easier with a radiator roller. Cut the paper to allow it to hang over the radiator by 10-15cms. Then from above take your radiator roller and force the paper to go behind the radiator carefully making sure there aren’t any creases.

For corners, the easiest way is to paper around the corner first let the paper wrap around the whole corner by around an inch. Then apply the paper to the other edge and allow it to overlap also, firming it in place. You should now be able to trim along the edge to make a nice finish carefully.

Viola – how to hang wallpaper – see we told you it was easy!

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