How To: Hang Paste-the-Wall Wallpaper

How To: Hang Paste-the-Wall Wallpaper

January 09, 2019

Hanging your own wallpaper is something to be proud of - especially if you're looking to save on cost or you're wanting a weekend project!


It's one of those tasks you do need to prepare for though- it sounds boring, but a little prep will save you mess, corner-cutting (no pun intended), and ultimately, frustration!

One of the greatest pleasures for me is seeing a wall transform, length by length. Scroll down for my West by Design tips for hanging paste-the-wall wallpaper correctly, and professionally. 



I keep all my kit in a big pink bucket, and when I'm finished, it all gets washed (nobody likes sticky old paste, especially your tools) and goes back in there. Always make sure you look after your kit - bodge-jobs are nobody's friend! 

  • Dust sheets or towels

  • Wallpaper Scraping Tool - a flat blade with a handle. Don't make-do with a kitchen knife!

  • Sponge/clothes and a bowl of tepid water with a dash of vinegar

  • Sandpaper

  • Step ladder 

  • Plumb line (in essence, a long piece of string with a small weight on the end!) and Pencil

  • Wallpaper paste, wooden spoon and bucket

  • Pasting brush or new sponge paint roller and tray (I prefer a roller)

  • Scissors - or a Stanley/wallpaper knife. I prefer scissors

  • Paper hanging brush - a softer brush that sweeps over the top of the paper to smooth

  • Mini hard roller

  • Soft painting roller



This is a must. It doesn't take long, but assuming you've already stripped the wall, just double check there are no more little chunks of paper still clinging on - use your wallpaper scraping tool to remove it, without damaging the wall. Dampen with warm water and the sponge first if necessary. Once all the chunks are off, give the wall a light going-over with some sand paper and a wash down with the vinegar water.. This is a good time to put dust sheets down, which will also protect flooring from paste-drips.



This all depends on the space you are wallpapering.

  • FEATURE WALL with a central fireplace for instance - I always start in the middle and work outwards, to ensure the pattern is balanced and symmetrical where possible.
  • SINGLE FULL WALL wall with no obvious central point - start in the left corner.
  • FULL ROOM - I find it best to ascertain which area is likely to be partially covered, such as a corner where wardrobes would be, and go from there.


PRO TIP - If you have a dark coloured wallpaper such as our Mitch design, eliminate the risk of having fine white edges between lengths by lightly colouring in both ends of each roll with a matching crayon.



Remember that walls don't run straight, so you need to draw a straight line down the right hand side of where you're going to hang your first strip. From the top of the wall, use your plum line to create a straight line, and add pencil marks to indicate.

Mix your paste now in your bucket with the wooden spoon - and make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions - you don't want to be papering with mashed potato!

It's also a good idea to get rid of the vinegar water you used to clean the wall with, and rinse your cloths and sponges out. You'll be using them on your walls later.



The next step is to measure your first length of paper. Unwrap your first roll, place it on the floor (remembering your dust sheets, which will protect your paper!) and pull the free end up the length of your wall so you have a full length. You want to leave a good two inches extra at the top pf the wall, in case of run-out. Holding the paper loosely against the wall, work your way down the ladder and create a tear about two inches after the base of the wall, above your skirting. Using your wallpaper table or a flat surface, fold and crease your paper here, and cut to size. 

Dollop a good amount of paste into the paint tray, and using a roller, coat the full area where the first strip is to go. I tend to paste one strip area at a time, rather than the whole wall, so it doesn't dry out. You want a medium coat - don't slap it on! I've used a paste brush in the past, but tend to find they flick the paste about, so now use a roller.



Back up the ladder with your first strip. Using the straight line you drew, start to apply the paper from the top, keeping the excess above, smoothing down with a dry paste brush as you go. Smooth all the way to the bottom, using a clean, dry paint roller if needs be. Once the first piece is in place, score gently the line you need to trim to fit, and cut carefully with scissors. Smooth and brush the trimmed top and bottom ends into place.

For the rest of the area, remember to measure each strip before you cut your paper, or paste the next section of wall. Take it slowly and carefully, and remember to match the pattern up as you go. Measure, cut, paste, hang, repeat.



I like to use a small, hard plastic roller to ensure seams are flat, and gently wash over seams with a clean, damp cloth. Once you've tidied up, voila! Wall complete. You can ooh and aah and pat yourself on the back - and if you're using West by Design wallpaper, remember to send us photographs of your new walls for our social media!

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