Our top ten tips for wallpapering are designed to help you get better results and make your paper hanging job easier. Tip include how to work out the number of rolls, removing fittings and soaking the wallpaper, as well as how to trim neatly
1. How many rolls?
Paper hanging can be tricky if you’re new to it so we’ve put together some top tips and advice to help you get better results and make your wallpapering project easier.
A quick tip for working out how many rolls of wallpaper you need: When you’ve chosen the wallpaper you want to hang, have a look and see what the pattern repeat is – make a note of this. Measure the height of your room and add the length of the pattern repeat. Most rolls of wallpaper are approximately 10m long so divide 10m by the figure you’ve arrived at and round it down to the nearest whole number. So, if its 3.6, round down to 3. This will be how many drops you can get out of a roll. Now, measure the length of all the walls and add them up. Divide this by the number of drops per roll that you just worked out. Round this result up to the next whole number. So if it 4.1 round up to 5. This is the number of rolls you need. Remember that most stores will take unopened wallpaper back (check when you buy) so it’s always worth slightly over estimating to be on the safe side.
2. Batch numbers
When you’re buying wallpaper, check that the batch number on each one is the same. There are often slight shade variations in batches when they are produced so rolls with different numbers shouldn’t be used together. Even a slight variation can stick out and spoil the overall look. Again remember to check whether the supplier will take back unopened rolls and, if you’re not sure quite how many rolls you need, buy extra.
3. Remove fittings
Remove any wall fittings if possible. It makes it so much easier to hang paper when there are no obstructions in the way. Hooks for curtain tie backs, picture and the like are easy to take off and refit later. Leaving a matchstick protruding very slightly from the fixing hole makes it really easy to relocate the fixing point. Remove radiators rather than trying to paper down behind them. There’s more on this in our Removing a Radiator article.
4. Electrical items
Make sure that the power is off at the consumer unit for all electrical fittings in the room where you are hanging the paper. You’ll be slackening off light switches and sockets to fit the paper round them neatly so don’t take any chances.
5. Trim excess
You’ll inevitably have some drops that are not full width – when you reach the end of the wall for example. Trim off the bulk of the excess before pasting and hanging. Trying to work with a full width drop which is way bigger than you need just makes things awkward.
6. Soaking the paper
Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended soaking time. It’s stated for a reason and can make a real difference to hanging the paper. Over soaked paper can be just as bad as paper that hasn’t been soaked long enough. Remember to allow the same time for each drop.
7. Plumb lines
Take the time to set out an accurate vertical line on the wall for the first drop. There are several ways of doing this but the easiest is probably with a spirit level. Mark the wall lightly with pencil and hang the first drop carefully so that it lines up with the pencil mark all the way down the wall.
8. Avoid stretching
Some papers are more malleable than others and this can make it easy to overstretch them. Take care not to stretch the paper with the smoothing brush when you’re hanging it or things can get out of line quite quickly. If, for example, you work a join too hard to close it, you may find that you actually alter the width of the paper. This will then make the next drops progressively harder to line up.
Some papers can be trimmed very cleanly using a craft knife and steel straight edge. Test an offcut first though to make sure it doesn’t tear easily. Hold the steel straight edge flat against the wall – make sure you put some pressure on it so that it sits tight against the wall along its entire length. Holding the craft knife at a very shallow angle, draw it gently across the paper. Craft knives with snap off blades are great for this.
10. Keep it clean
Try to avoid getting any paste on the face of the wallpaper. Washable vinyls can easily be cleaned with a damp sponge but other papers may not be so forgiving. Hand printed papers for example can have delicate inks which may smudge if they get wet. If you are hanging flock or other textile faced papers you will need to exercise even more care.