Step 2: Prep the paper

Prepasting the wallpaper
Photo by David Carmack
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If the paper is not prepasted, roll out the first strip face-down on a 6-foot-long work table and use a 3/8-inch-nap paint roller to apply a generous, even coat of paste all the way to the paper's edges.

To give the adhesive a chance to activate, gently fold over both ends of the strip, being careful not to crease the paper, so that they meet in the middle; this process is known as "booking."

Make sure the paper's edges are exactly aligned so that no pasted surface is exposed. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes before hanging.

For prepasted paper, loosely roll up a strip with the adhesive side out and immerse it in a trough of cold to lukewarm water, depending on the manufacturer's instructions, just until the paper is thoroughly wet (but no longer). Book the paper as above for 3 to 5 minutes.

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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