How To Hang Wallpaper With Paste

How To Hang Wallpaper With Paste

How To Hang Wallpaper With Paste


Introduction to Wallpaper Hanging

Wallpaper hanging might seem like a daunting task initially but with the right skills, tools, and knowledge, it can be quite a rewarding DIY activity. Choosing to hang wallpaper can give your room an entirely new look and feel. Whether you aim to make a dramatic design statement or merely want to add subtle style, wallpaper offers various aesthetic benefits. Let's delve into the finer points of this art to set you up for success.

Benefits of Wallpaper

Before embarking on this decorative journey, it's essential to understand why you might choose to hang wallpaper as opposed to other wall coverings. Wallpaper offers the user a wide range of designs and patterns, more so than any other type of wall covering. And beyond aesthetics, wallpaper is a durable choice, providing longer-lasting results compared to paint, for example.

Picking Your Wallpaper

The type of wallpaper you choose can largely depend on your personal taste. There are many types to choose from, ranging from traditional to modern styles, each with varying levels of difficulty in terms of installation. When you've chosen the perfect design, it's essential to measure your space accurately to know how much wallpaper you will need.

The Necessary Tools

The key to successful wallpaper hanging lies in both preparation and the right tools. You'll need a few essential items, including a level, smoothing brush, pencil, knife, and a few others. Of course, most important of all these tools is the wallpaper paste, which we will discuss in more detail in this guide.

Understanding Wallpaper Paste

Wallpaper paste, or adhesive, is the binding material that sticks your wallpaper to the wall. There are several types available in the market, each with its strengths and weaknesses, but for most wallpaper types, standard ready-mixed adhesive will work just fine.

Preparing the Paste

The process of preparing your paste can vary depending on the type you choose. Generally, you'll need to mix the paste with water until it reaches a smooth consistency. This paste then has to be applied evenly and thoroughly on the wallpaper sheet before it's adhered to the wall.

Applying the Wallpaper

Applying the wallpaper requires patience and precision. You'll need to ensure that the wallpaper is lined up correctly and smoothed out to prevent any bubbles or wrinkles. Once you've hung all your paper and allowed it to dry, your newly wallpapered room should be ready to enjoy.


Understanding Wallpaper Paste

Wallpaper paste, a critical component in the wallpaper hanging process, is a type of adhesive that is primarily used to secure wallpaper to walls. The main purpose of wallpaper paste is to ensure the paper gets a firm, long-lasting grip on the wall surface. Its consistency allows an easy and smooth application onto the wall or the back of the wallpaper.

The Composition of Wallpaper Paste

Standard wallpaper paste is composed of modified starch, methylcellulose, or wheat dextrin. All these components serve to increase the adhesive nature of the paste, ensuring that the wallpaper sticks properly to the wall and stays in place for a long period. Furthermore, some pastes also have fungicides to reduce mildew and mold growth, as well as preservatives to extend the shelf-life of the paste.

Types of Wallpaper Paste

There are several types of wallpaper paste available in the market, and the type you use would typically depend on the kind of wallpaper you need to hang. These include pre-mixed wallpaper paste, wheat or cellulose based wallpaper paste, vinyl over vinyl (VOV) paste and clear wallpaper adhesive.

Pre-Mixed Wallpaper Paste

This type of paste is ready to use and is an excellent choice for convenience and ease of application. It is suitable for most types of wallpaper, including standard wallpaper and heavy-duty variants.

Wheat- or Cellulose-Based Wallpaper Paste

These pastes are perfect for traditional and delicate wallpapers like silk, handmade, or historic papers because they are less aggressive.

Vinyl over Vinyl (VOV) Wallpaper Paste

As the name suggests, this type of paste is ideal for hanging vinyl wallpapers over existing vinyl wallpapers. It offers a stronger bond and ensures that the new layer of wallpaper sticks properly over the old one.

Selecting the Right Paste

Selecting the right paste is as crucial as choosing the right type of wallpaper. The paste must be compatible with the wall surface and the wallpaper. It is suggested to follow the wallpaper manufacturer's instructions and recommendations for the best results. Remember, not all pastes are created equal. Some are specifically formulated for certain types of wallpapers or wall surfaces.

Applying Wallpaper Paste

Applying wallpaper paste requires attention to detail and patience. Usually, the paste is applied directly either on the wall or the wallpaper depending on the type you're using. By using a brush or a roller, spread the paste evenly, ensuring that no section is left untouched. Be careful not to apply too much paste, as it can cause the wallpaper to bubble or peel off.

Tips for Using Wallpaper Paste

When using wallpaper paste, remember to allow enough time for the paste to soak in and activate before hanging the paper. It's recommended to follow the manufacturer's instructions in this regard. Additionally, ensure the room temperature is suitable for the paste. Too cold, and the paste may not adhere; too hot, and it might dry before you can hang the wallpaper. Lastly, always clean any excess paste off the wallpaper immediately to avoid staining.

Necessary Tools and Materials for Wallpaper Hanging

To hang wallpaper properly, one must have a collection of quality tools and materials at their disposal. Let's explore the necessary items you should gather before you start your wallpaper hanging project.

Wallpaper and Wallpaper Paste

You will need wallpaper, and unless it is pre-pasted, you will also need wallpaper paste. The amount of wallpaper required will depend on the size of the wall and the pattern of your wallpaper. Wallpaper paste is available in ready-made tubs, or you can opt for a mix-it-yourself variety. Ensure you follow the manufacturer's instructions when mixing or applying the paste.

Tools for Application

Essential tools for applying the wallpaper include a pasting brush to evenly apply the paste on the wallpaper, a wallpaper smoother or brush to smooth out the wallpaper upon application, and a seam roller to seamlessly join wallpaper edges together. A plumb line or laser level will also be invaluable to ensure your wallpaper aligns correctly.

Cutting Tools

For cutting and trimming the wallpaper, a sharp utility knife is vital. Additionally, you'll need a large pair of scissors for initial cuts and a snap-off blade for precision cuts once the wallpaper is in place.

Additional Supplies

Other supplies include a bucket and sponge for cleaning purposes. You'll also need a tape measure for accurate measurements, and possibly a step stool or ladder to reach higher covered areas. A pencil for marking measurements on the wall also comes in handy.

Preparation Materials

Wallpaper might not adhere properly to certain wall surfaces. So, you may need to consider using a primer or sizings to prepare your wall if it is newly plastered or highly absorbent. Lining paper may also be necessary if your walls have imperfections. It provides a smooth base for the wallpaper, helping disguise any bumps or cracks.

Wallpaper Remover

If you're replacing old wallpaper, a wallpaper scorer and a wallpaper removal solution can be invaluable tools. They help to penetrate the old adhesive and make it easier for you to scrape off the old wallpaper, preparing the wall for the new decor.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Finally, do not forget your personal protective equipment. Safety glasses will protect your eyes from paste splashes, and gloves will keep your hands clean and free from potential irritants. A dust mask might also be necessary, especially if you are removing old wallpaper.

Preparing Your Walls for Wallpaper

Before getting started with applying wallpaper, it's critical to properly prepare the walls. This step is paramount for a professional and long-lasting result. This process involves several stages starting from cleaning the walls to applying a primer.

Cleaning the Walls

First, ensure your walls are clean and free from any dust, grime, or grease. Use a mild detergent and warm water to scrub the walls, then rinse them with clean water. Allow the walls to dry completely before continuing. Wallpaper will not adhere properly to dirty or greasy walls, leading to bubbles and wrinkles in the final result.

Wall Repairs

Next, inspect your walls for any holes, cracks, or rough patches. Any imperfections on the wall surface can show through the wallpaper and affect the overall finish. Use a pre-mixed spackle or joint compound to fill any holes or cracks and a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth rough areas. After carrying out repairs, ensure to clean the wall once more to remove any remaining dust.

Applying Primer

A primed wall is essential for wallpaper installation. A primer seals the wall, preventing the wall from absorbing too much paste, which can cause the wallpaper to dry out and fail to stick properly. It also makes removing wallpaper easier in the future. Apply a coat of wallpaper primer with a brush or roller and let it dry completely before proceeding with wallpaper application.


Once the primer is dried, sizing is the next step. This solution makes the wall smoother and helps the wallpaper adhesive to adhere better. It is particularly important when hanging paper on a wall that has never been wallpapered before.

How to Apply Sizing

Apply the sizing with a paint roller, starting from the top of the wall and working your way down. Ensure that the coating is even and that you cover the entire surface, including corners and edges. Allow the sizing to dry completely before you start wallpapering.

Wall Marking

Before you start hanging the wallpaper, marking the walls can also be a good idea. Use a level to draw vertical lines where each strip of wallpaper will go. This helps keep your application straight and even.

With your walls properly prepared, you are now ready to hang your wallpaper. Always remember that careful and thorough preparation results in a top-notch and professional wallpapering job.

Applying Paste to Wallpaper

Applying paste correctly is vital in ensuring the longevity and appearance of your wallpaper. It is quite straightforward if you follow the correct process and directions.

Select the Right Paste

Choosing the right paste for your wallpaper directly impacts the installation process and durability of the wallpaper. Various types of paste are available, including pre-mixed and powder form. The selection depends on the type of wallpaper and your ease of use preference. Be sure to read the wallpaper manufacturer's instructions to know if a specific paste type is recommended.

Preparing the Paste

If you've opted for powdered paste, you'll need to mix it with water. Ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct water to paste ratio. Stir it until it achieves a consistent, lump-free mixture. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to activate fully before use. Pre-mixed pastes are ready to use straight out of the container.

Incorporate a Paste Table

A paste table significantly improves your workflow. It's a space where you will layout your wallpaper and apply paste. Ensure your paste table is clean and smooth to prevent any marring or tearing of the wallpaper.

Spreading the Paste

Using a paste brush or a roller, evenly apply the paste on the back of your wallpaper from the middle to the edges. Ensure every inch is coated. Try to prevent the paste from getting on the front of the wallpaper, but if it does happen, wipe it off quickly with a damp sponge.

Folding Your Wallpaper

After you've applied the paste, fold the top and bottom of the wallpaper towards the middle, without creasing it. This process is known as 'booking' and it allows the paste to activate the backing of the paper.

Let the Wallpaper Rest

Most wallpaper types benefit from 'dwell time', letting them sit for 5 to 10 minutes after pasting. This allows the paste to fully penetrate the wallpaper and results in better adhesion.

Proceed to Hanging the Wallpaper

Once you've allowed your wallpaper to rest, it's time to hang it onto the wall. Remember to remove any paste that smeared on the front side of the wallpaper. The method of hanging may vary with the type of wallpaper, so do go through the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Executing the Wallpaper Hanging Process

Now that we have laid the groundwork, it is time to delve into the actual process of hanging the wallpaper. This step calls for precision and patience to create perfect results. Here is a detailed breakdown of the steps to ensure a flawfree application:

Prepare the Wallpaper

Start by cutting the wallpaper into strips. Ensure that the lengths match the height of your wall plus four inches – two for the top and two for the bottom, this lends a margin of safety. Mix the wallpaper paste as per the instructions provided by the manufacturer and apply it evenly on the back of the wallpaper strip.

Apply the First Strip

Start application from a corner or behind a door, an inconspicuous spot. Align the strip to the ceiling, leaving a bit to fold over the top for a neat finish. Using a wallpaper smoother, press onto the wallpaper to remove any bubbles and ensure a secure adherence of the strip to the wall.

Trim the Excess

With a sharp utility knife, trim the excess wallpaper at the top and bottom for a perfect fit. Make sure your blade is new and sharp to prevent tearing the wallpaper.

Continue the Process

Apply the second strip of wallpaper next to the first, ensuring pattern matches if necessary. Repeat the processes above to ensure a seamless look. Remember to wipe away any excess paste with a damp sponge immediately to avoid staining the wallpaper.

Smoothen the Wallpaper

Throughout the application process, continuously smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles that appear using a wallpaper smoother.

Allow it to dry

After all the wallpaper is up, allow it to dry completely before replacing any fixtures or furniture. This may take anywhere from 12-48 hours depending on the brand of your wallpaper paste and your environmental conditions.

Clean-up after Hanging

Clean up any leftover paste or scraps of wallpaper. Now is also a good time to retouch paint on woodwork or ceiling if required. Finally, step back and admire your beautifully wallpapered space!

Words of Caution

Throughout the process, remember to be patient. Haste may lead to mistakes that can be costly in terms of time and material. Also, if at any point during the application process you are unhappy with how the wallpaper looks, it is best to remove it immediately before the paste dries and start over.

Tips for Handling Troublesome Areas

Applying wallpaper can sometimes be challenging, especially when you're dealing with problematic sections. These areas may include sections around windows and doors, pipe surrounds, corners and outlets. With a few professional tips, you can master these complex areas and get a seamless finish.

Wallpapering Around Windows and Doors

When wallpapering around windows and doors, measure the wall section, cut the paper accordingly and apply it as you would on any other wall. Make a diagonal cut in the wallpaper that goes towards the corner of the window or door frame, trim excess paper, and use a smoother to push the wallpaper into the corners. Be sure to apply the wallpaper entirely around the frames, folding and trimming it for a neat finish.

Dealing with Corners And Edges

For corners and edges, begin by measuring the wallpaper strip so that it overlaps the corner by about an inch. Apply the paste and hang as usual and then use a tool like a wallpaper smoother or a plastic knife to press the wallpaper into the corner. You'll then be ready to hang the next piece on the other side of the corner, ensure it overlaps with the previous piece and is smoothed out properly.

Navigating Around Pipe Surrounds and Power Outlets

To wallpaper around pipes and outlets, first turn off the electrical circuit at the circuit breaker for your safety. Apply the wallpaper as normal and when you reach the pipe or outlet, make a diagonal cut towards it. Smoothen the wallpaper around the obstacle, then use a sharp blade to carefully trim the excess paper, leaving a clean edge. For outlets, once the wallpaper is dry, you can remove the cover, cut away the paper over the outlet, and replace the cover over the wallpaper.

Overcoming Stretching and Creasing

Stretching and creasing of the wallpaper can occur during the application due to the excess paste, pressure applied or incorrect cutting. To prevent this from happening, avoid dragging your smoother over the glue, and ensure you have applied the right amount of paste to the wallpaper slice. Also, cut the paper accurately according to the surface measurement, allowing a little extra for trimming.

Using a Steamer for Troublesome Wallpaper Removal

If the previous wallpaper is stubborn and refuses to come off, consider using a wallpaper steamer. The steam will help to loosen the adhesive, making the removal process easier. Just remember to protect your hands and eyes from the steam.

By mastering these tips, you can ensure a flawless, smooth and stylish finish for your room.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Wallpaper

Once you've hung your wallpaper with paste, it's important to know how to maintain it to keep it looking fresh and vibrant for as long as possible. There are a few key things to consider: cleaning, repair, and restoring.

Cleaning the Wallpaper

To clean wallpaper, it's best to use a natural, non-abrasive solution. A mixture of warm water and a mild, bleach-free detergent will work well for most wallpapers. It's recommendable to spot test a small, unnoticeable area first to ensure the cleaning solution won't cause any color fading. Use a soft sponge or cloth to apply the mixture, being careful not to rub too hard and avoid soaking the paper. Once you're done, carefully dry the wallpaper with a soft, dry towel to prevent water staining.

Repairing Wallpaper

If your wallpaper experiences minor damages such as small tears or lifting edges, it's possible to make small repairs without having to replace the entire section. For lifting edges, a small amount of wallpaper paste can be applied under the edge using a small brush, then carefully smoothed back into place. Any excess paste should be removed with a clean, damp cloth.

Restoring Faded Wallpaper

Over time, all wallpaper can fade, particularly those exposed to sunlight. The best way to restore faded wallpaper is to carefully clean it first, then apply a specially designed wallpaper reviver. This product is designed to enhance the colors of the wallpaper and give it a fresh, new look. Follow the instructions on the product label closely to ensure the best results.

Preventing Damages

The best care and maintenance strategy is prevention. Keep wallpaper looking its best by avoiding direct sunlight when possible, and steering clear of high-moisture areas like bathrooms. Use protective measures like furniture and decor to minimize contact with the wallpaper, reducing the risk of tears or stains. Incorporating these steps into your routine can help extend the life of your wallpaper and keep it looking pristine and beautiful for years to come.