Measure and Hang Wallpaper

How to Measure and Hang Wallpaper



Make sure that bare walls are clean and dry. Fill all holes and cracks using filler, smoothing down the surface when it is set. Wipe off any dust.



Carefully measure the length required (normally the height of the wall) and cut from the roll, allowing an extra 50mm or so at top and bottom you can trim this latter when hung. Only cut one length at a time.

Ensure the pattern is the right way up and never assume that the outside end of the roll is the top - it is not always! Write in pencil at the top on the back “top” so you don’t get it muddled later. Consider where you will start hanging. Usually in the least obvious spot (ie behind a door). Before cutting the next lengths, ensure that the pattern matches up with previous ones. Remember you will use more wallpaper if the design has a pattern.



Use an all purpose Wallpaper Adhesive/paste. Follow the paste manufacturer's instructions carefully, especially when mixing, to ensure the correct consistency.

When applying the paste, try to avoid getting it on the front of the wallpaper. Any paste on the front should be removed with a damp sponge. It is ok to get a small amount on the front as you can easily sponge it off before it dries.

When the paste is properly mixed and with the paper face down on the table or floor, start from the top and brush the paste down the length and out towards the edges, herringbone fashion, so that it evenly covers the surface. Use a wide paint brush. Don't pull the brush back across the edge of the paper as it will leave paste on the front of the paper.

Fold the pasted length inwards, bottom to middle and top to middle. To ensure the edges do not curl back and dry out, the folded length can be loosely rolled to hold them together during the soaking period. For very long lengths, fold like a concertina.

Once pasted, all wallpapers need to 'soak' for about 10-15 mins before hanging (or follow the instructions on the packet of paste). This allows the moisture to be absorbed and the paper to fully expand to minimize bubbles. (We talk more about these bubbles below). 



Walls are generally not square/perfectly vertical. To avoid your pattern going askew, always mark a vertical pencil line against a plumb line (you can make your own plumb line with a weight attached to a thin string). Allow the plumb to swing freely until it is at rest before putting your pencil mark down the wall behind the string.

You normally start hanging in the least visible corner, often behind a door. The plumb line should be about 25mm less than the width of the wallpaper away from the starting point.



1. Once the paper has soaked (as per instructions) check which is the top of the wallpaper (having marked it on the back before pasting), and carry it to the wall. The first length is normally hung in a corner and subsequent lengths are hung working away from the last.

2. Holding the top of the length, carefully open the top fold and lightly stick the top half of the length to the wall. 

3. Allow about 50mm at the top of the wall for trimming off and the same in the corner. Slide the wallpaper exactly into position. Line the wallpaper up with the plumb line you have marked on the wall.

4. Smooth down the middle with a cloth then work out towards the edges, removing air bubbles.

5. Open the bottom fold and continue to smooth the paper down to the skirting. Work across the paper with the cloth to remove all the air bubbles. If needed, you can slightly move the wallpaper on the wall before the paste dries.

6. Carefully run the back of a pair of scissors along the angle of the ceiling and the wall at the top, and the skirting at the bottom, and in the corner to make an impression where the wallpaper has to be cut off. Gently pull the length away, trim off the excess with scissors and smooth back into place with the cloth.

7. Carefully wipe surplus paste from the surface of the paper and from the skirting and ceiling with a damp sponge to avoid marking when it dries. Wash sponge frequently.



If blisters appear as the wallpaper lengths start to dry out, it usually means there are air pockets underneath. Ease the paper away and smooth it down again towards the edge, expelling the air as you do so. If they persist, it could mean that the wallpaper has not had time to absorb sufficient moisture from the paste - indicating that the lengths need to be left longer after pasting so that they become "limp" before hanging.

The reason is that the fibres, after wetting with paste, start to expand. If the wallpaper is put onto the wall before this has finished, the fibres continue to expand, causing bubbles to form. Sometimes these flatten out after the wallpaper has dried out - but not always.



Never wrap a full width wallpaper round an inside corner. Always do it in two pieces.

First measure the distance from the edge of the last piece you hung to the corner. Do this at several points between the ceiling and skirting to find the maximum distance.

Cut a length of wallpaper so that it is about 25mm wider than this measurement, paste it and hang with the extra 25mm overlapping round the corner on to the next wall.

Where corners are not accurately plastered, you must be more generous with the overlap. Take the remainder of the length and paste it. Measure it and mark a vertical guide line on the next wall, a little more than its width out from the corner.

Now take this second length and hang it alongside the vertical line and perfectly parallel to it.

Smooth with the cloth back into the corner and overlap the 25mm which has already been carried round.

Match the pattern as well as you can, although a slight mismatch in the corner is normally not too obvious. 

Outside corners

Follow the same technique, although you should allow a wrap-round of at least 50mm.



Be very careful when applying wallpapers over, under or around electrical switches and power points. We recommend turning off the supply at the mains. 

Remove the cover plate from around the power point or light switch.

Smooth the wallpaper down very gently over the fitting and then, for square shapes, pierce the paper and make diagonal cuts from the centre to about 10mm beyond each corner.

Press the wallpaper firmly around the edge of the fitting, lightly mark the outline and trim away the surplus with a knife.

For circular switches, make a series of cuts producing a star shape. Press down around the outline, mark and trim in the same way.