Wallpaper can be very expensive to buy and you will use much more of it when getting things wrong and making mistakes!
Patterned wallpaper can be particularly difficult to get right and can result in a lot of wastage. It needs to be matched, and cheaper papers can have a tendency to stretch and tear if left too long to soak, resulting in the match becoming a nightmare, after all who wants a tigers head without a body, or indeed a tigers body without a head. p.s I have hung a few papers with Tigers on… So, if in doubt, get a professional decorator in for that professional finish and much less stress, it’s worth paying the extra money!
Wallpapering is something that some people have a talent for, it can be made to look much easier than it actually but there are plenty of things which can go wrong with the finish, including bumps, wrinkles, tears and mismatched wallpaper patterns!
If you are feeling confident you have the skill to do it yourself, (or you’ve watched enough You Tube videos) start by clearing the room, or at least moving furniture from the walls to give yourself access.
First things first, you need to prepare the walls, this might involve stripping the old wallpaper. First try to remove the paper ‘Old school’ by soaking it with a good sponge, it needs a decent soaking and leave for a few minutes to saturate into the old paper. If however you have a vinyl paper backed paper, you should be able to peel the vinyl layer off, then soak the backing paper. Whilst the paper is soaking it could be a good time to have a ‘Cuppa’. One the paper is well soaked it should easier to strip from the wall using a decent wallpaper scraper. If however the paper is difficult to strip, trust me the legendary wood chip falls into this category, you will need a steam stripper. Whilst these are quite self explanatory to use, care must be taken. The get extremely hot (obviously) and when you lift the plate from the wall be careful where you hold it, as it drips boiling water. Also if you hold the plate on the wall for too long it could ‘blow’ the plaster, especially if it is lath and plaster. Once the wall is stripped its time to fill and sand the wall, once you have a nice smooth wall it’s time to get papering.
Then protect the flooring/carpets from wallpaper paste and any painting being done.
You should then start hanging paper at the corner on a wall with no doors or windows unless the wallpaper has a large pattern, then it’s a good idea to hang the first drop at focal point, like the centre of a fireplace
Measure the width of the wallpaper then use a spirit level or a plumb line and mark the wall about 1cm less than the width of the wallpaper, this is to allow the 1cm to tuck round the corner, be particularly careful with the very first length of the paper, everything is lined up with this first strip so it’s important to get that one perfectly straight!
Make sure you unscrew all wall fixings, before you start papering, but leave the wall plugs in and either replace the screw or use a matchstick in the hole, then press the wallpaper onto the screw or matchstick to pierce the paper.
Continue pasting and papering the lengths of wallpaper that you have previously cut a couple out a time.
As you can see wallpapering is not something everyone can try. If you’ve paid a lot of money for an expensive paper then its always advisable to employ the experts, if however you want to try your hand on a feature wall in a spare bedroom maybe give it a go…. but be prepared to contact the professionals to sort it out!
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