Introduction

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Wallpaper first appeared in the 16th century, in the form of black-and-white hand-blocked prints, and it remains a favorite way to bring color, texture, and personality to a home. Bold patterns and deep colors make any room seem more intimate, while light-toned papers with delicate prints convey a feeling of spaciousness.

Whatever effect a homeowner desires, achieving it demands equal measures of art and engineering, says painting and decorating contractor John Dee. For him, the smooth, seamless look and good adhesion that signify a top-quality installation begin with a properly prepared substrate and end with exacting attention to each room's particular topography. Where walls are out of plumb, for instance, he cuts and overlaps the paper at the corners so adjacent patterns line up precisely.

Dee's advice to novice wallpaper hangers: begin with small, easy-to-match patterns. "Work patiently and steadily, and you'll get tight seams and a professional look."
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    Tools List

    • bucket with sponge
      Rectangular sponge,
      for initial smoothing of wallpaper
    • paintroller
      5-gallon paste bucket, nylon brush, and 3/4-inch-nap paint roller
    • allen wrench set
      Allen wrenches,
      for removing towel bars in bathrooms prior to papering
    • four-foot level
      2- and 4-foot levels,
      for drawing plumb lines on wall and guiding long cuts
    • torpedo level
      10-inch torpedo level,
      for plumbing short pieces above and below windows
    • utility knife
      Utility knives with snap-off blades, and single-sided razor blades,
      to cut and trim paper
    • scissors
      Scissors
    • folding ruler
      Folding rule and tape measure
    • putty knife
      6-inch, 3/4-inch, and 1½-inch putty knives,
      for guiding cuts along trim
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Screwdriver,
      for removing and replacing switch plates and receptacle covers
    • wallpaper smoother
      Smoothers,
      for final smoothing of wallpaper

    Shopping List

    1. PREMIXED STARCH-BASED ADHESIVE

    2. VINYL-TO-VINYL ADHESIVES

    for installing borders and securing corners when using vinyl wallpaper



    3. SPRAY-ON RUBBER CEMENT

    for applying wallpaper to switch and receptacle plates



    4. STIR STICKS

    for mixing paste



    5. 3/4-INCH-NAP ROLLER COVERS

    for spreading paste



    6. SEA OR CELLULOSE SPONGES

    for cleaning wallpaper after smoothing



    7. TERRY-CLOTH RAG

    for cleaning woodwork and ceiling after sponging