How to hang paintable wallpaper

Updated March 23, 2017

Hanging paintable wallpaper can add a touch of class or whimsy depending on your style and selection. Paintable wallpapers come in a variety of patterns and installations. For example, you can install a full-coverage wallpaper or a simple border with a textured covering. When shopping for paintable wallpaper, you should select a pattern and colour that matches your home's decor. Hanging paintable wallpaper requires a few tools, time and patience. Determine where you will hang the first and final strips prior to starting your project.

Place a mark where you will install the first strip at the ceiling or moulding line using a pencil. The mark should be equal to the width of the wallpaper plus 1/4 inch.

Place a carpenter's level lengthwise against the wall so that the right end of the level is at the 1/4-inch mark. Manipulate the level until the bubble indicates the level is perfectly straight. Draw a faint line along the length of the level.

Move the level down the wall and continue marking with a pencil until you reach the baseboard. The plumb line prevents strips of wallpaper from bleeding over each other.

Measure your wall's height. To determine where a pattern starts, you should measure your wall from top to bottom. Record the measurement for later use.

Measure the wallpaper. Locate the design element you would like at your ceiling and measure the wallpaper using your wall measurement, according to HomeTips. Unroll the wallpaper and measure 2 inches above the design you want at the ceiling. Add 2 inches to the bottom of the wallpaper as well. For example, if your wall measures 65 inches from top to bottom, you should have 69 inches of wall paper measured.

Cut the wallpaper using a straight-edged razor or utility knife at the 2-inch mark above the design you want at the ceiling. Make sure you take your time and create a clean, sharp cut.

Soak the wallpaper or apply adhesive. Many wallpaper brands come with adhesive that is activated with water. Other brands require the application of adhesive. Both methods require a period of "relaxation" to promote absorption, according to Hometips. Follow the instructions for soaking the paper or applying the adhesive.

Gently fold the bottom third of the strip to the middle. Fold the top third so it slightly overlaps the first fold. This is called "booking" the wallpaper. Do not crease the wallpaper and allow it to rest for five to 15 minutes.

Roll the wallpaper into a loose roll. You can place the roll in a large plastic bag until you are ready for installation.

Unroll the booked wallpaper. Carefully unfold the top portion that has the ceiling design element. Let the remaining section hang down.

Press the top portion onto the wall. Make sure 2 inches overlap the area where the ceiling meets the wall. Make sure the strip is straight and press it onto the wall.

Smooth the wallpaper using your wallpaper smoother. Gently press the tool onto the wallpaper in an upward motion, then smooth the paper in a downward motion. Smooth the paper toward the left. Using the cardinal directions as a guide, smooth the paper north, south, west, north-west, then south-west.

Use a seam roller to smooth the paper where the ceiling and wall meet. Use gentle pressure to avoid forcing adhesive from underneath the wallpaper.

Unfold the bottom portion. Press the bottom portion to the wall and follow the same smoothing technique.

Place a broad knife at the ceiling and wall line. Run a utility knife or straight razor above the broad knife's edge to cut away the excess 2 inches. Place the broad knife at the baseboard and cut away the excess 2 inches at the bottom of the wall.

Unroll the wallpaper and place it against the wall next to the first strip to match the pattern. Mark where the patterns match with a pencil. Cut the wallpaper using a utility knife or razor.

Prepare the adhesive or water and book the next strip.

Place the strip on the wall and match the pattern. Press the strip against the wall and use your fingers to align the strip tightly against the first strip. Continue aligning the pattern as you move down the wall. Smooth the strip and trim the top and bottom to complete the installation. Continue the process until the wall is completely covered.

Things You'll Need

  • Straight razor or utility knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Water or wallpaper adhesive
  • Wallpaper smoother
  • Carpenter's level
  • Pencil
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About the Author

Peyton Brookes is a workforce development expert and has written professionally about technology, education and science since 2009. She spent several years developing technology and finance courses for social programs in the Washington, D.C. area. She studied computer and information science at the University of Maryland College Park.