Paper Hanging Tips by Multiple Award Winning Painter & Decorator Wayne de Wet

Advice, Members

As with all decorating  projects, the secret to a good finish is to do your home work! By that I mean to; prepare yourself, prepare the room/area and the surfaces being decorated and make time!
A very helpful way to learn the basics of wallpaper hanging can be reading books and ‘How To’ articles on line and of course watching YouTube videos as they also let you know about which tools to buy.

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My advice is to get the best tool kit that you can afford. This will make the whole project much easier, as using quality tools that are made well will always be better than using cheap and cheerful tools.

  • Start off with a small project until your confidence builds.
  • Always prepare the surfaces that are to be wallpapered, time spent preparing the surfaces to be wallpapered is time  well spent!
  • Wash old paste off the area to be wallpapered and rinse well, this is to prevent mould growing through the new wallpaper.
  • After washing the walls – fill, sand and line.
  • Make sure you buy enough wallpaper and some spare (it’s also very important to check the batch and colour codes are the same.)
  • Have all the tools that are needed before you start.

My wall paper tool kit has evolved over 38 years but even now I still add to it whenever something catched my eye!
However, the basic kit always remains the same…

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Wallpapering Kit

To hang wall paper. the following tools are a must;

‘Paste the Wall’ wallpaper

‘Paste the wall’ wallpaper is becoming the standard now. It basically means what it says, you paste the wall instead of pasting the wallpaper. This makes the process much faster.
The main plus of using this type of wall paper is that you don’t need to wait for the paste to soak in and you can hang straight from the roll…..with a bit of practice!

For the novice, the first thing you should do is check the pattern match.
This could be a straight match, where the pattern is straight across the wall or a reverse hang, where every other length is hung upside down. It could also be a drop pattern where every other length the pattern is seen to drop.
This and the other information can be found on the hanging instructions so make sure you read them as every wallpaper will have its own unique instructions.
You also need to make sure you buy enough wallpaper plus at least one spare roll.

It’s worth checking if the ceiling line or coving is straight. You can do this by drawing a straight line around the room with a spirit level and pencil then measure from that line to the ceiling/coving.

When setting out, position the pattern so its pleasing to the eye.
On the paste table; measure, match & cut each length allowing an extra 50mm to the top and bottom then mark the back of the paper at the top/bottom on the left, right and in the middle.
You do this so if you trim part off a length to fit some where else, you may cut this mark off.

A good habit is to gently reverse roll all the lengths of paper at both ends. This helps to stop the paper curling up when you have it on the table.

You will need to set our your room or feature wall by centering any patterns on say a chimney breast (remembering that the pattern on the paper is not necessarily on the edge of the paper).
Once you have done this, create a straight faint line using a Plumb Bob & Pencil, check it with a spirit level and then hang the first drop using the line as your guide.
Using a small roller pole, a roller/tray with a medium pile sleeve and a 50mm brush, paste an area of wall that’s just a little wider than the width of the wallpaper. This is so you never have to paste up to the length on the wall.
My trade tip is to position the pattern at the top of the paper so that its  pleasing to your eye, then simply let the wallpaper make contact but not stick to the wall then smoothing the paper from left to right and up and down as you go. You can then align the pattern to the plumb line or pattern if you have got more than one length up.

A key tip is to keep the face of the wallpaper clean at all times.

Traditional ‘Paste to Paper’

Paste to paper is the traditional method and it also has its good and bad points.

Pasting a sheet of wallpaper and keeping the face clean is very important.
This is made easy by keeping the wallpaper in line with the edge of the paste table then pasting down the centre of the paper gently working your way to the edge. You must make sure you are always spreading the paste on the outward stroke.

The good points in this method is the paper becomes softer to handle and fold, creases less and can be stretched a little with skill and experience but it can only be pasted on the paste table and is then cut off the roll.
I always number every length, making sure to mark what is the top & bottom. When marking, do this on the left, middle and right as if you need to trim the paper you may cut off the markings.

The negative points are it has to be allowed to soak for the right amount of time and cut to a length that can be trimmed when on the wall.
I generally cut the whole room or feature wall on the paste table allowing for a pattern match, add an extra 50mm top & bottom for trimming but that comes with a life time of experience.

Make sure you always always read the hanging instructions label and follow the manufacturers recommendation on adhesives.
Vinyls and sponge-able wallpapers will require a fungicide adhesive.

Where I can, I always use a ready mixed trade quality adhesive as this has a thicker consistency but can be sometimes thinned to suit the various wallpapers like heavy duty hessian, vinyl’s, and  embossed papers as well as flocks.

You should always use the same wallpaper adhesive to hang the lining paper and wallpaper.

Sachet or packet paste is still used and the secret to using this adhesive is to mix it to the right strength, and make sure it is lump free. Some powder adhesives are instant mix, which means its very hard to get lumps when mixing. When mixing your paste, always use clean cold water and clean tools.
My trade paste mixing tip is to get the water moving fast in a circular motion and whilst it’s being stirred gently pour the powder in, a little at a time.
Allow the mixed  adhesive to “stand” for about 5 mins then give a final stir, it’s now ready.

Count how many rolls you’re going to hang then the wallpaper adhesive packet will have a chart giving helpful tips on how much water you need to add depending on the type & quantity of wallpaper you’re using.
When you’re overlapping any wallpaper in corners, around windows or hanging boarder;, use a strong border & overlap adhesive and always keep the paper clean by rinsing with warm water.

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Trimming

Hanging wallpaper around sockets and switches is easy once you know how but caution should be had when this is being carried out and you must always turn off the electricity when hanging wallpaper.

Cut a cross to each corner and trim the excess off or for the best results,  ask an electrician to remove them.
To trim at the ceiling and skirting lines, gently crease the wallpaper into the crevice then push the paper in with a thin bladed spatula and holding your scalpel at an angle, trim the paper to the desired shape.
The spatula protects the wallpaper as the blade cuts it so always cut above the spatula.
Repeat this where ever you need to trim and also make sure the blade is fresh and sharp.

Papering around windows is easy once you know how too. It is, however, only possible to wrap the wallpaper into one side of the reveal, so its always best to wrap the sides.
To do this; hang a length straight, visualise your cuts as at some point their will be a little overlap and/or cut & splice.
Match a new piece to go on the face above the reveal and under into the window and splice though the two on the face. Take your time as patience makes for a job well done.

Corners

In many properties, both internal and external, corners can be out of level. It is so important that you understand this, and even more important to know that the wall paper must always be hung straight.

Cut a line right on the corner where the paper meets the skirting corner and also where it meets the coving corner which will allow for the paper to be smoothed round the external corner.
Check it is straight with a spirit level and once it’s right, carry on!
If it’s not straight, you will have to trim the returning paper about 15mm to 20mm then match a new length after trimming off the same section that is on the wall.
Depending on the type of wallpaper and pattern match, it can be overlapped by keeping it a few mm back from the edge and using over lap and border adhesive, but a much better finish can be achieved if it is spliced.
This process uses a straight edge and a very sharp snap blade knife. You cut gently through both papers and peel the underside off, roll with your seam roller and wipe with a damp cloth.
Never wrap wallpaper in and out of an internal corner – always trim about 3mm to 5 mm onto the unpapered wall.

Use overlap  paste and plumb a straight new length out of the corner after matching it.

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Good Practices

Always clean any adhesive paste off the ceiling or coving, skirting, windows and frames.
Change you water regularly.
Wash and rinse the cloths or sponges often.

Checktrade.com/WaynedeWet
Twitter; @Decorum28
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