Step 3: Hang the first strip

hanging wallpaper
Photo by David Carmack
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Take the booked strip to the wall, then unfold and apply the top half, aligning one edge with the plumb line in Step 1.

For solid paper, overlap ceiling (or crown molding) by 1 inch. Overlap a patterned paper as needed so that the main design element is centered on the midpoint of the wall section.

First, smooth the edges of the paper with a moist sponge, then brush lightly from the center of the strip to its edges. Next, gently pull (do not push) a smoother across the paper to eliminate wrinkles and anchor the paper to the wall.

Unfold the strip's lower half. Align and smooth it as above, overlapping baseboard as needed.

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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