How to Hang Wallpaper on the Ceiling

Updated February 21, 2017

It is time to redecorate your home and you decide on the perfect wall paper to accommodate the furnishings you have chosen for your room. But the ceilings in the room that you are working in are yellowed or just plain horrible in your eyes and you do not want to paint them. What do you do? It is possible to hang wallpaper on your ceiling, which can allow you to pull the whole room together. Hanging wallpaper on a ceiling may seem like an almost impossible task, but with a little time and patience, you can have your ceiling completely redecorated with wallpaper in no time flat.

Prepare your ceiling. If you are not working with new construction, your ceilings may have flaking or unevenly dried paint on them. The cracked paint must be removed in order for the wallpaper to hang smoothly and not contain any bumps or excessive air holes. Remove any cracked paint with a putty knife or scraper. New construction, which most often will contain newly drywalled ceilings, should be treated with sizing. The sizing will allow the wallpaper to stick to the ceilings more easily and will also make it easier to remove it once you choose to redecorate again.

Pick the spot on the ceiling that you wish to apply your first piece of wallpaper.

Mark a guideline on your wall with your pencil to show where you will be working. You will mark the line at both ends of the wall you will be working off of. Mark the line about 1-inch to 2-inches out from the wall. This will give you a 1-inch to two-inch overlap on your wallpaper, when you begin hanging it. Use a chalk line to mark a straight line across the ceiling. Match up the chalk line with the pencil markings you made on the ceiling. Snap the chalk line against the ceiling hard enough that it will leave a very visible line.

Measure the length of the ceiling from wall to wall. Add 6-inches total, 3-inches for each end of the paper. This will allow you enough room to properly trim the paper without coming up short or having jagged edges when you trim. Cut your first length of wallpaper. Now cut all of the other lengths of paper. If your paper has a match, you will want to be sure to cut enough extra to accommodate the match of your design. It is best to choose a paper for your ceiling that does not contain a match, but if you do, be sure to remember to allow for it.

Soak your first sheet of wallpaper in the water tray for the time suggested by the wallpaper manufacturer. Many wallpapers require different soaking times. Do not soak the paper longer than what the manufacturer suggests, this can result in the paste being washed away. If you choose to use If your wallpaper is pre-pasted, you will simply apply paste to the paper.

Fold the paper together, sticky side to sticky side. This allows the paper to relax and gives the paste time to activate and become even more sticky. Do not skip this step, as you will need the paste to be as sticky as possible to hang it on the ceiling. Allow the paper to stay in the folded position for 5 to 10 minutes, check the manufacturer's instructions to make sure the paste that was used does not require a longer activation time period.

Apply paste to the edges of the ceiling where you are going to begin applying your paper. Do this, even though you are using pre-pasted paper. This will allow the paper to stay attached to the ceiling while you are working with the entire sheet.

Prepare to apply the paper to the ceiling. At this point you will need the assistance of a friend. It is possible to hang the paper yourself, however, since you are working with the ceiling, it is most helpful to have an individual that can help you apply the paper and hold the end that you are not working with. Have your helper hold the folded end of the paper as close to the ceiling as possible. The weight of the paper can make it difficult to hang and also pull it down, making the part that you have already applied not stick as well. Holding the paper close will also make it easier to work with.

Hang the first length of paper. Begin applying the paper in one corner facing the wall you are beginning from. Peel back the one edge of the paper that you have folded. Align the corner of the paper with your chalk line. Take your wallpaper brush and begin to firmly brush the paper between the angles of the ceiling and the wall. This is where you will leave your 1-inch to 2-inches on the wall to be able to trim the paper correctly. Unfold the paper section by section and use the wallpaper brush to remove the air bubbles that may appear.

Trim your first length of paper. If you are not hanging paper on the walls themselves, trim the paper so that it is flush with the wall or any moulding that may be at the top of the wall. Crease the paper into the intersection of the wall and ceiling. Do this with back side of your utility knife or the round plastic end of the wallpaper brush.

Peel the paper back a small bit and then cut at the crease. Use the wallpaper brush to brush the paper against the ceiling again.

With a clean damp cloth, wipe away any wallpaper that is left against the wall.

Hang the rest of the wallpaper, in the same way that you hung the first section. Be careful to butt the edges of the paper against each other.

Roll over all of the seams with your seam roller. Again, remove any access paste with your damp cloth.

Prepare to hang the last section of wallpaper. This section will more than likely not be a full width, meaning you will have to trim a larger piece of paper. Measure the area between the last piece of paper that you hung up and the wall. Add 2-inches to the measurement for trimming. Hang the last section of paper. Trim the edge of the paper along the crease of the wall.

Use the wallpaper brush to smooth out the air bubbles and then roll along the seams of the paper.

Stand back and enjoy your newly papered ceiling.


Keep extra utility knife blades handy, so that your cuts will be true and smooth.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • chalk line
  • tape measure
  • friend and/or helper
  • pre-pasted wallpaper
  • water tray
  • wallpaper paste
  • utility knife
  • wallpaper brush
  • seam roller
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About the Author

Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.