How to Fit Wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper involves much more detail work than simply activating the wallpaper adhesive and sticking the paper to a wall. To install wallpaper properly you must learn how to fit the paper into corners, match patterns and tailor the paper around doors and windows. By employing a few techniques for fitting wallpaper into these places, you can hang wallpaper throughout your home without hiring costly professionals.

Remove old wallpaper and sand painted walls to produce a smooth surface for hanging the new wallpaper. Turn off the power in the room and remove the outlet and switch covers, baseboards, window and door trim and crown moulding from the walls.

Measure the distance from floor to ceiling to determine the necessary length of each wallpaper piece. Always cut each piece a few inches longer to trim to size later. Cut several pieces into the necessary lengths and start in the centre of the wall to begin applying the paper.

Wet the back of the wallpaper with a saturated sponge and allow the piece to dry flat for a few minutes so the paste activates. While you allow the wallpaper to relax, use a pencil to draw a perfectly vertical line with a tape measure and level to ensure you install the wallpaper straight. This is known as a plumb line.

Have an assistant help you put the wallpaper piece into place. Lay the paper against the wall, aligning the edge of the paper with your vertical plumb line. Position the paper so that a couple extra inches extend onto the floor and ceiling. Smooth wrinkles and air pockets out of the wallpaper using a wallpapering brush. Run the brush over the wallpaper applying light pressure to work out these obtrusions. Work carefully but quickly while the adhesive on the back of the wallpaper is still dry.

Gather another piece of wallpaper cut to size. Wet and activate the paste on the back of the paper and have an assistant help you position the wallpaper before you stick it against the wall. Carefully look at the pattern on the two pieces of wallpaper and align the second piece to create an invisible seam between the two pieces.

Fit wallpaper pieces around windows and doors by wetting only one half of the wallpaper. Allow the paste to activate and attach the wallpaper to the wall, leaving the wallpaper closest to the window unattached. Lay the wallpaper against the edge of the door of window and use a razor knife to cut the wallpaper down to size. Once cut, wet the rest of the wallpaper with a sponge, allow activation time and then attach the wallpaper to the wall.

Fit corners with wallpaper by trimming down the wallpaper pieces that go into corners. Measure the distance from the pattern on the last piece, leaving room for overlapping and extend the tape measure a half-inch past the corner. Cut the next wallpaper piece to this width.

Apply the narrow section of wallpaper to the corner. Wet the back of the wallpaper piece and allow relaxing time for the paste to activate. Brush the wallpaper onto the wall and then fold the paper into the corner so that little or no air pocket exists behind the wallpaper.

Trim the last applied section of paper so that only an eighth of the paper extends past the corner. Shortening this strip prevents the paper from coming loose or bubbling in the corner.

Cut another piece of wallpaper to length and then trim off any excess paper from either side of the wallpaper width so that you can apply the wallpaper to match up with the pattern on the eighth-inch of paper on the side of the corner. Wet the wallpaper and apply to the wall. Repeat these steps for all corners of the wall.

Cover each electrical socket and switch as you work. Go back and cut X shapes over the outlets with a razor knife. This allows you to mitre the paper so you can tuck it into the outlet and hide the cuts under the switch and outlet covers.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdriver
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Wallpapering brush
  • Razor knife
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About the Author

Penny Porter is a full-time professional writer and a contributor to "Kraze" magazine. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky.