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Decorating 101: Wallpapering - Prior to hanging
Home Flair Decor - Simon 25 April 2013

Get the paste table out... It's time to start measuring and cutting

So we have prepared the room and are ready to start working with our wallpaper, if you are wanting to wallpaper any ceilings we will cover this in a later blog (you would do this before any walls so you don't splash or spill paste onto your newly decorated walls).

Measure the height of your walls, use a steel tape measure for this and use this measurement to cut your first piece from the roll.

Drop 1.

Lay out the first drop (drop is the name we give to each length of wallpaper) on to the paste table making sure you have the pattern facing up so you can match up the next drop.

Now before we make a cut we need to balance the pattern for at the ceiling line, we would want to minimise any major part of the pattern being cut through. So we wouldn't want to see a flower stem with no bloom or a damask with no top section for example.

With your scissors at the ready we have one more thing to consider,  trimming waste. Allow an extra 50mm (2 inch) at both ends (top and bottom for use when trimming) then make a fold or crease from where we will make the first cut.

This allowance is needed as you will probably discover your ceiling is higher or lower as you move from one corner of the room to another. This will ensure you get a neat finish down at the skirting board and up at the ceiling/coving.

Drop 2.

Unroll the paper from which the second drop is to be cut partially over drop 1, ensure the pattern is facing the same way so we can match this drop to our first.

Unroll the paper from which the second drop is to be cut partially over drop 1, ensure the pattern is facing the same way so we can match this drop to our first.

Move the paper along drop 1 until the patterns match and follow through, cut this second drop using the first as a guide for the length.

Each subsequent length is cut in exactly the same way, each matching the drop that has proceeded it. Here we need to mention that not all wallpapers have a straight match across the width of the roll, the above details explain how to cut wallpaper with a straight match.

Wallpapers may also be free of matching where you simply cut your lengths to the appropriate drop size and hang, be careful of alternate hanging here as these need a little more care when hanging.

Look for an alternating arrow head emblem on your roll label, this means you need to mark the back each length (on the same end), then when hang ensure that you mark is near the ceiling on drop 1, near the floor on drop 2, back near the ceiling on drop 3, then again near the floor on drop 4, continuing until your room is complete. The idea behind this technique is to keep the the colour and tone very even plus this will disguise the joins.

There is also a drop match, often called a half-drop, these rise as they extend across the width of a roll. With a drop match, your second length will begin half a pattern repeat further along the roll, drop 3 will match drop 1, drop 4 will match drop 2.

By working off of two to three rolls of wallpaper at the same time, you may find that you can minimise wastage as each roll will have been cut at varying positions in the pattern repeat. So try to cut each length from a separate roll (ensure you only use one batch of wallpaper when using this technique).

To keep things running smoothly you should try to create a routine when paper hanging, such as:

  • Cut all of your drops first (so you only need measure once, unless you have a sloping ceiling)
  • Keep all your wastage as these may be useful when decorating over doors and windows or below windows and behind radiators. 
  • Paste three drops of wallpaper and by the time you have finished pasting, your first drop should be ready for hanging after (soaking times do vary so check the reverse of the label prior to pasting, you may only get two drops pasted ready or be able to paste more).

For paste the wall wallpapers, it is often advantagous to have your cut lengths reverse rolled (inside out), with the pattern on the inside held together with an elastic band, this will save you time when hanging and help ensure the face of your wallpaper remains free of adhesive.

So we skipped over pasting a little there, lets give you some top tips for pasting perfection.

1. Lay your drops out, stack them neatly on your paste table pattern side down and pushed up against the edge of the table, furthest from you and the extra lenth hanging equally over each end of the table.

2. Slide the top drop so the end of the length is lined up with the end of the right hand side of the table. Now paste to the top drop, working from the centre of the drop outwards (always paste outwards as this will stop any adhesive finding its way on to the front) in a herring-bone pattern.

3. Once you have worked your way along the piece up to the end of the table (about two thirds of the drop), slide the drop towards you (the front edge of the table) ensuring the right hand end is not overhanging the table, continue pasting outwards from the centre of the strip again in the heringbone style.

4. When this section is completed, fold the drop over onto itself pasted side to pasted side.

5. Now slide your drop to your right, so the edge of the wallpaper is no longer overhanging the table, continue pasting from the center out, any paste that ends up on the lining of drop underneath will not affect it so do not worry, once complete fold this end onto itself again, paste to paste.

6. You can now fold this drop up in a concertina (zig zag/fan) and put to one side while soaking.

If it is a warm day or you notice the edges of the rolls are curling during pasting, do not concertina the strips, once intially folded, roll the wallpaper inwards from the edge like a scroll. (if the temperature is particularly high, pop the wallpaper into a plastic bag while soaking to retain maximum mositure.

We have created a printable guide, 8 steps to perfect pasting. This features step by step advice  with graphics to show you ideal positioning on the paste table, click here to download.

Next time....Hanging techniques 

Revised 03/07/2019