• Jkath Design Build

How to Hang Wallpaper, Like a Pro!

Beginners Guide to Hanging Wallpaper

As wallpaper becomes more and more popular, many people are considering updating the look of their walls. Oftentimes the first question becomes: can I do it myself or do I need to hire out? While we always hire the professionals for our client projects, we know many of you are capable of making this a weekend project. Here are top tips when it comes to a “do it yourself” wallpapering project.

Necessary Tools Needed for Hanging Wallpaper

1. Wallpaper

2. Wallpaper adhesive

3. Bucket and water/soap

4. Spackle

5. Drop cloth or Large sheet

6. Paste brush

7. New razor blade

8. Putty knife

9. Sandpaper

10. Level

11. Tape Measure

12. Sharp scissors

Wallpaper seam repair (optional)

Wallpaper primer (optional)

Prep Work!

  • Start with clean walls (water and regular soap work). Fill nail holes with spackle and lightly sand until smooth.

  • You need a flat surface to lay the wallpaper down for cutting each panel.

  • Lay down a drop cloth or an old sheet to protect your floors in case some of the adhesive falls.

  • Some people like to prime the wall first because it helps the wallpaper stick and helps with removal later on. This is optional.

Getting Started

Find the center of your wall. Use a level and draw a straight plumb line (plumb means straight!) down the center of the wall. This is where your first roll will go - along the line! Walls aren’t straight, so don’t use a corner to butt your first piece against. It’s likely crooked.

Cut Your Unpasted Wallpaper

Measure the height of the wall first and then add four inches past where the panel of paper would end for a little excess. Next make a straight cut using sharp scissors. Always measure twice and cut once.

The Paste

Lay the wallpaper print side down on your table/cloth. Start with your brush dipped in the wallpaper adhesive and brush from the center of the back of your wallpaper out. Try not to get glue on the table; this will get messy quickly. Cover the entire paper with adhesive.

You can also put the glue directly onto the wall instead of the paper. (You CANNOT do this if your paper requires booking. If it requires bookings, you will put the adhesive onto the back of the paper and let it sit for a few minutes. This allows the paper to expand.)

Line your wallpaper up against the straight line you drew on the wall, leaving about 2 inches of paper past the ceiling. Using the putty knife, press gently to crease it into the seam where your wall and ceiling join. Move down the wall, pressing the paper into the wall with the putty knife, making sure your wallpaper stays along the level along the line as you go. It helps to put the putty knife in the center and smooth towards the edges to release any wrinkles. If you get a wrinkle, you can gently lift up the wallpaper as far as you need to go and then slowly put it back down, smoothing again from the center outward.

Wipe up any excess paste with a clean, dry rag.

Cutting Around Ceiling and Edges

After a panel is up on the wall, hold the putty knife against the ceiling/edge/baseboard and run your new razor blade along the edge to cut off the excess wallpaper.


Match up the patterns. Hold the wallpaper roll up to the first strip on the wall to find the match and cut it again with four inches of excess paper.

Pro Tip: After hanging up a few rolls evaluate how you’ve done. If you see sections of the paper that have pulled off the wall it is likely due to lack of paste. If this occurs, gently use the seam repair glue and move the tip of this inside the paper to apply a tiny bit of paste. Use sparingly.

Good luck. This project will be worth the effort. It is always easier if you can do this with someone else. Additional hands will always come in handy (see what I did there :).

Some of the resources we link to may earn us a small commission. For that we are thankful, but would never push items we aren't truly passionate about, and likely have already given it a test drive.

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Thanks for following along,

Amy DeGrote + Jkath Team

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