Pasting wallpaper can be a sticky, gooey job. Here's how to apply paste well and (relatively) neatly.
Be sure that you have the correct adhesive paste for the job. Some papers, such as vinyl backed or lightweight, require a specific paste.
Mix wallpaper paste that comes as a powder in a separate bucket before pouring it into the bucket or roller tray you will use for the job. Stir well with a stirring stick to remove all the lumps, but not so well that you put a lot of air into the mix.
Pour liquid adhesive directly into a bucket or roller tray.
Lay a strip of wallpaper - already cut to size, pattern side down - on a long, flat, dry table (the table won't stay dry for long). Let one end of the paper flop over the edge of the table.
Use a paste brush or a paint roller to apply the paste to the half of the paper that remains flat on the table, being sure to cover every inch.
Fold the section you just pasted over onto itself, and slide the dry section of the paper onto the table. Apply the paste.
Fold the next section onto itself, then fold the two halves against each other, being very careful not to crease the paper. This process is called 'booking.' Booking keeps the paper moist, the paste from dribbling onto the floor and the pasted surface clean.
Set the paper aside in a clean spot for no more than 5 minutes before hanging it.
Be a clean freak: As soon as each strip of wallpaper is booked and set aside, use a clean, wet sponge to clean the table - but don't bother to dry the surface. Do this even if you're going to paste several pieces before you hang them; you'll want to get the adhesive off the table before it has dried.
You're going to get paste on the table, the pattern face of the paper and yourself. Don't be overly concerned - it's water-soluble. Let the paper set after applying paste. This allows the paper to expand or shrink before you lay it on the wall. It also takes a few minutes for the paste to activate the dry adhesive on prepasted wallpapers.