How to Use Wallpaper to Create Panels

Updated April 17, 2017

Wallpaper panels typically are glued to a wall and framed by wood moulding. This enables the use of expensive wallpaper on a low budget, because only a small amount is needed. The panels brighten drab panelled walls, and they are easier to use than panelling an entire room. It is possible to make panels that can be removed easily and used again if you relocate. Both fixed and hanging panels can be renewed with a change of paper. The main difference in construction is whether wallpaper is pasted to the wall or to a separate board.

Decide on the number of panels; their size and placement on the wall. Take into account furniture and architectural features. For fixed panels, this step is most crucial. Study pictures of period panelled rooms to observe placement and proportion. For an elegant look, long, narrow panels are made the width of the wallpaper. Other sizes and dimensions are possible if care is taken to match joins.

Use the level and measuring tape to mark the wall with a reference line indicating the top of the panels. Use painter's tape to mark out panels on the wall, using the square to align these with the reference line.

Reposition and resize the taped rectangles, as necessary, until the arrangement looks balanced.

Paint or stain the moulding. If making hanging panels, cut board to size.

Cut wallpaper to fit within the taped outlines, or to fit board, as appropriate. If joins are necessary, measure and mark the centre of the panel. Center your paper to obtain symmetrically placed joins.

Soak pre-pasted paper or apply adhesive following manufacturer's directions.

Apply paper to panel, starting with centre section on wide panels. Ensure pattern match at joins. Smooth out air bubbles and smooth joins. Carefully remove blue tape, smoothing wallpaper edges if disturbed. Allow to dry completely---about 24 hours.

Measure and cut moulding to frame each panel. Ensure ends are accurately mitred (angled) at 45-degrees to meet snugly at corners.

One piece at a time, apply wood glue to back of moulding. Using the nail gun, attach moulding to wall around, and just overlapping, the outer edges of each wallpaper panel. Remember to glue ends along mitred joint. For hanging panels, use glue only and clamp until dry.

Fill nail holes. Touch up paint.

For hanging panels, attach picture-hanging hardware to the reverse and hang in desired position.


You can obtain similar results using fabric panels. Alternatively, frame panels in wallpaper border instead of moulding. Mitre corners using scissors or knife; glue in place. When changing wallpapers, paper can be cut to fit within the frame, avoiding the need to remove moulding. Hanging panels can be made in a variety of other ways--hanging from dowels, hanging as scrolls, or using inexpensive poster frames.

Things You'll Need

  • Blue painter's tape
  • Bar level
  • Framing square
  • Measuring tape
  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper adhesive
  • Brush or roller
  • Wallpaper smoothing tools
  • Moulding
  • Mitre saw
  • Wood glue
  • Nail gun
  • Hardboard, ¼-inch ply, or MDF (medium density fiberboard), optional
  • Picture-hanging hardware, optional
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in the Isle of Man, Tamasin Wedgwood has been writing on historical topics since 2007. Her articles have appeared in "The International Journal of Heritage Studies," "Museum and Society" and "Bobbin and Shuttle" magazine. She has a Master of Arts (Distinction) in museum studies from Leicester University.