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Hanging Wallpaper Without Hangups

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ May 18, 2010

When first-timers take a stab at hanging wallpaper, it's usually more than the paper that gets stuck. You need a good head for logical planning, the willpower to avoid shortcuts, and the ability to strike a plumb line. Creating the right workspace often can make the difference between success and a hung-up, angry do-it-yourselfer.

First, clean and prime all your walls so your adhesive has a fighting chance. Primer not only helps set the adhesive, it protects your walls from any damage that might be caused by the wallpaper paste. Whether you're using pre-pasted wallpaper and water-based activator, or using an old-school adhesive, a clean wall can prevent bubbling and distressed seams.

Wallpaper Hanging Pattern and Layout

Building Materials 365 recommends setting up a spacious prep table where you can measure and cut paper before possibly attaching it where you don't really want it. Lay a straight line from baseboard to ceiling with chalk, then set a plumb line horizontally at dead center.

Be sure when wetting paper to soak it in a tub or basin for only the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. When you remove it from the soak, let it air for several minutes. Book the paper--folding it back (paste to paste side) so the top activated edge of the paper is easy to handle as you align it to the previous strips that are already on the wall.

You should consider starting at a window, according to Martha Stewart.com, and work your way around the room from the edge.

Having the first row set correctly spells success for the remainder of the project. If you're off from the start, you're in a world of hurt. Cut your first strip with a straight-edge and plan to trim an inch or two of excess wallpaper on the top or bottom. If you're using conventional adhesives, lay your measured, precise section face down on your prep table and apply the paste with a roller.

After the paper is down for 15 minutes, you can use a seam roller to push out excess adhesives or paste for cleanup.

There's no reason to wrap around a corner and hope for the adhesive to work. It's more productive to continue only an inch or two at the bend of the wall and cut the excess with a razor blade, leaving a narrow eighth-inch strip. Then start the next section of paper on the small strip for coverage.

Don't forget when you prep to set another plumb line across a new section when you reach a corner. Amen.

Still looking over your wallpaper options? You don't want to be rash when you choose your paper. And remember, coordinate kitchen wallpaper with your backsplash.

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