Decorating 101: Wallpapering – Hanging Techniques

Where To Start Wallpapering!

Now, what type of room are you decorating? Just a feature wall? The whole room? Is there a chimney breast?

FEATURE WALL – Well if you are simply decorating a single wall you need to decide where to start hanging from, if it is a patterned wallpaper it may be beneficial to the pattern the start at the centre of the wall and work outwards. So check to see how you can make your wallpaper look its best!

WHOLE ROOM (With Chimney Breast) – Start decorating on the chimney breast itself, work so that the pattern is centralised and work outwards completing the whole wall. Follow onto the side walls working towards any internal doors, any loss of pattern is generally least noticeable in the short lengths above a door.

WHOLE ROOM (No Chimney Breast) – Start at one corner of the room, in an ideal world on a full wall and working away from an internal door. Work around the rest of the room until you return to your starting point, decorating around any door in the last lengths.

Preparing to hang the first drop, the starting corner may not be straight and it is essential to hang wallpaper from a true vertical position. If you were to hang your wallpaper directly from an untrue corner your pattern may look uneven and “wonky”. To get a true level to work from we need to mark the wall up with a good vertical level line, for this you will need a measuring tape, pencil, spirit level and/or a plumb bob (this must be done every time you start on a new wall when you have turned a corner).

Measure 25-30mm less than the rolls width out from the your starting corner and make a vertical mark (do this at a good height up the wall). Now using your plumb bob, hold the string against your mark and allow the plumb bob to hang down and come to rest just above any skirting/kick boards. Make further marks down your wall along the stings position resting position, now you can use a long timber baton or spirit level to join up your marks creating one long vertical level line.

So your preparation is complete, the first drop is pasted, folded/rolled and is soaking or if using a paste the wall your lengths are reversed rolled securely, you have your vertical level line to work from now you need to position your ladder ready to hang. Place your ladder as close to the wall you are starting with as possible.

If you are pasting the wall, simply paste a section at a time as you work your way around the room, paste floor to ceiling about 30cm or 6 inches more than the width of your wallpaper.

Collect your soaked drop and climb your ladder with it under or over your arm, when at your correct height open out the long fold and offer the top edge up to the ceiling/coving, placing the pattern as you want it to sit at the ceiling with the waste sitting above. Align the side edge of your drop against the vertical line you have made, allowing the other side edge to turn onto the adjacent wall (if starting at a corner). Smooth the paper onto the wall with a paperhanging brush, use the bristle ends to form the crease between the wall and ceiling, also at the corners. When brushing paper into place, always work up first then to the join, then to the side edge, then down (in a herringbone). This will remove any trapped air.

As soon as the paper is holding in place, work down the wall brushing the rest of the drop in to position opening the bottom fold as you reach it. Again use the bristle ends to get a good crease where the paper meets the skirting/kick boards.

The next step is to trim off the waste paper at the top and bottom:

If you are working with scissors then softly run your pencil down the crease between the wall and ceiling or the skirting board and the wall – if you use the blades or points of the scissors to mark, you will find they make a line that is too thick for accurate cutting. Gently peel away the paper from the wall and cut carefully along the line with your scissors, finally brush back the paper into place.

If you are working with a retractable knife and a metal straight edge then place your metal edge into the crease you have created with the bristles, next using your sharp blade draw it across in one clean motion, ensure you keep this blade clean and sharp by removing a section after every few drops hung, you will know when the blade is blunt as it may drag the wallpaper rather than slice. Peel away the waste and dispose of it, ensure you remove any paste from other surfaces with a clean damp cloth before the paste dries. If you are making a vertical cut (into a corner for eaxample) then cut on the opposite side to wallpaper you have just hung, protecting it from damage should you slip.

Hanging the second drop is done as the first except that you now work away from your vertical line, your second drop will butt up against the edge of the first drop, ensure you match the pattern across the two. The secret to success here is not to do everything in one go, get the wallpaper onto the wall at the right place at the ceiling join but just a little bit away from the first length. Now press against the paper with flat of your palms and slide it into place. When wallpaper is soaked to the correct soaking time and hanging on a sized wall makes this easy, take extra care if you are using a fine wallpaper press gently as you may tear or stretch the wallpaper, butt the paper up after matching the pattern and brush into place.

Lastly, when trimming waste from 2nd/3rd/4th drops etc, cut from where the lengths butt to ensure a consistent line across the ceiling and skirting line.

Where using paste the wall type products, hanging is a little different but the principles are the same, mark up your vertical line as before as all preparation is the same. Now paste the wall section by section as you work your way across a wall or around a room, paste floor to ceiling around a 30cm or 6 inches wider that the roll width for each section. Select one of your reversed rolls and climb your ladder to the required safe height, (drops should have been rolled so the first section off the roll is the top of the wallpaper) open the drop out a little so you can adhere it to the wall, ensure you place your pattern as you want it at the ceiling keep your waste above. Align your side edge against your vertical line and slowly unravel your roll using one hand whilst smoothing down using your paper hanging brush or smoothing spatula in the other hand, removing any trapped air as you go down. Continue as above pasting ahead a section at a time.

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