Wallpapering 101

Wallpapering 101



  • Supplies
  • Planning
  • Sequence
  • Procedure


Wallpaper:  1 sheet per wall

YES Glue (8oz will cover 5-6 rooms)

X-Acto Knife and blades (#11) or Snap-blade Knife

Metal ruler (18” is great!)

Roller, brayer, or dull plastic scraper/putty knife

Damp rags or paper towels



Take the size of the room into account. A small room will look very dark and even smaller if you use dark colored or patterned papers. Try to use light colors to make small rooms look bigger.

Vertical stripes will make a room look taller.

Horizontal stripes will make a room look wider.

Using two types of paper can create a very nice effect in a room. Using a stripe on the bottom of the room and a plain paper on the top will not make the room look smaller and will keep it from looking plain.

Remember before wallpapering OR decorating your house you must put the electric in.

When choosing wallpaper consider if you will use chair rails in your room. Chair rails usually have a different paper (or different material) above & below.

Unlike the “real” house, you usually see all rooms at the same time.  When you pick out your wallpaper, lay it out row by row as you will see it in the house.  



Windows and doors should be removed if at all possible.  It's a lot easier without obstacles!

Walls must be primed before papering.  Miniature Designs’ PRIMER, Gesso, Kilz or flat white paint should be used.

Walls must be smooth.  Spackle holes, dents, gouges.  Sand lightly as necessary.  

IF you wired the house, be sure your wires are buried!  You do NOT want to sand the insulation off the wires!  If in doubt, use a damp rag to 'sand' over the spackled-in wires.

Always use a sharp blade.  When in doubt, use a new blade.

Mark your paper (on the back) with several arrows pointing upward.  It will help prevent upside-down paper!

Until your confidence increases, make patterns using writing paper.  It's cheap and easy!  Tape a few pieces together if you need it bigger.

For triangular or odd walls. Always cut a pattern.  Lay the writing paper on your wall and make a sharp crease along the entire edge.  Cut the excess off with your blade, then repeat for the other side of the triangle.



Study the wallpaper’s pattern. Every inch or two, the pattern will repeat. When cutting wallpaper to fit the walls, pick a focal point (example: flower or line). This point will serve as a guide for cutting a straight line. This will work horizontally as well as vertically.  Use the repeat when matching the pattern at corner edges if at all possible!

In planning your wallpaper placement, position the longest wall first, but always wallpaper the back wall first. Make sure your wallpaper pattern continues evenly around all three walls.

In preparation for pre-pasted wallpaper, make sure your top edge is straight with the pattern. Then cut your other measurements as described in the Wallpapering Instructions. Pre-pasted wallpaper already has a paste on the back. However, we still recommend YES Glue to apply your wallpaper (do not wet paper first). 

Cut the BORDER off the wallpaper if you plan on installing crown molding (or if you're not sure if you'll use crown molding).



Ceiling first.  Do ALL your ceilings before starting the walls!

Back wall is next (back as you're looking at the room; it's probably the front of the house).

Sides in any order.



Apply YES evenly to the wall (or ceiling).  Don't leave globs, but DON'T SPREAD IT TOO THIN.  You don't want dry spots before you put it on the wall.  DRY SPOTS CAUSE BUBBLES.  Work quickly but carefully.  

Spreading the YES on the wall with your fingers will help find any rough spots - sand them off before applying the paper!

Apply YES around the edges of the paper; it can be hard to get the glue into the corners of the room  (especially without getting glue on other paper).

Apply the wallpaper to wall, smoothing over it with your hand. Then roll the wallpaper from center to outer edges with a spreader until smooth. The extra YES will come out at the edges. Wipe it away lightly. NEVER wipe over the wallpaper too hard -- you may damage the surface!



For ceilings, measure and cut paper for the largest room first, and work your way around the house.  REASON:  Big rooms need more paper, and you will be more likely to use less paper if you do the big rooms first; smaller rooms can often share pieces of ceiling paper.

CUT all your ceiling pieces first, laying them in the room they'll be used in.  After they are all cut, then start glueing them in. Measure your ceiling, and cut the paper about 3/8” wider than the room and at least an inch or so deeper than the room.

Cut away the corners of the paper where it will fold down onto the walls.  (Slit/”V” cut).

Apply your glue

Put the wallpaper into place on the ceiling.  

Smooth paper with hands and roller. 

With vinyl ceiling paper, crease the wallpaper into edges along the three walls using a putty knife.  You don't have to be too gentle; the paper is thick and sturdy.  Repeat this frequently as you continue papering to be sure the paper dries tightly into the corners.  

Do not cut the overhang off until the paper is completely dry! You need to be more gentle with “Paper-paper”; it will rip if you're too rough.



Remember your pattern match; study it before making any cuts!

Measure top to bottom and across the back wall.  Deduct about 1/8" from your top to bottom measurement.   NOTE:  if you do not plan on using baseboards and/or crown molding, cut the paper as close to exactly the height of the wall.

Add about 1/2” to the width of the wall.  This will allow the paper to go around the corners so you won't see “wall” in the corner.  

Cut with an X-Acto knife and ruler, making sure your cutting line is straight by using wallpaper pattern as a guide.

If you're using heavy wallpaper (i.e., Itsy Bitsy), it helps to “crease” the corner first with your straight edge.

Dry fit the paper on the wall, and adjust the size of the paper if needed.

Remember, it's a lot easier to shorten the paper rather than lengthen it!

Apply YES to the back wall.  Avoid getting glue on the ceiling and other walls.  

Apply YES to the edges of the paper (all 4 edges for the back wall), being sure you go far enough in to have 100% coverage.

Put wallpaper into place on the wall. Start at the top and lay the creased edge in the corner. Smooth the wallpaper across the wall and tuck the other edge into corner.  Make sure the wallpaper is against the edge at the ceiling.  Smooth the paper with hands and roller, making sure you get rid of any bubbles.  For smoothing, work from the center out.

Window and door holes:  Use a sharp blade to cut an “X” pattern in the hole.  Be gentle as wet wallpaper can tear.  Do NOT remove the wallpaper in the door or window holes till it is completely dry!  

If a bubble does occur, you can use a “glue” syringe filled with YES. Make a tiny X with an X-Acto knife over the bubble and then inject a tiny bit of YES into the cut. Roll again with your roller and the X will not show. Be sure and wipe the X clean lightly so that no mucilage will show on the outside.

You can shine a light over your walls at a slant will show any bubbles or wrinkles before the paper dries.  You can also feel them with your fingers. 

Side wall:  Match the wallpaper pattern repeat in one corner and cut your second sheet of wallpaper so that the pattern is continuous around the wall.  

Leave the paper longer than the wall (just like we did with the ceiling).   

Cut your height as you did for your back wall, and dry fit.  

Apply the wallpaper paste to the wall. Then align the edge of the wallpaper into the corner and smooth over the wall. 

Again, be sure the wallpaper is against the ceiling edge.

Repeat for the second wall.



Before the paper dries, use a sharp knife blade to cut an “X” in the opening.  This will allow the paper to dry smoothly around the hole.

Do NOT cut out the hole until the paper is completely dry.  When it is dry, use a sharp blade to carefully cut the paper out of the opening.  

Be as careful as you can, but remember that trim hides lots of little boo-boos!

IF windows and doors are already glued in, cut your wallpaper to fit the wall, then measure where the window will be and mark the corners.   OR, use a template.  Draw the outline of the hole on the back of the paper - be sure to keep “front-to-front and top-to-top!

Remeasure, verify your outline, then cut maybe 1/4” SMALLER than you think the opening is.  

Dry fit and adjust your hole carefully. 

Ideally, the hole will be just a tiny bit smaller than the opening to allow you to push the paper as tightly against the trim as possible.



When wallpapering stair openings, the paper on the wall at the top of the stairs and the paper on the wall where the stairs sit must meet.  It usually looks best if they meet either at the edge of the floor or the edge of the ceiling.  You will need to adjust your cuts to allow an extra 3/8” (normal thickness of the floor) above the regular top of the room (for downstairs wall) and/or 3/8” longer for the upstairs wall.  

THINK ABOUT THIS BEFORE you start cutting the paper for these rooms! You may need to start the non-stair wallpaper below the top edge of the paper!  

Most of the time, I make the upstairs paper cover the stair opening, but it may depend on your papers.  If you will have the upstairs paper covering the opening, install the paper on the downstairs wall first.  The paper should go into the opening (it doesn't have to be all the way to the top).  When you wallpaper the upstairs room, the paper will lay over the downstairs paper and look clean against the ceiling edge of the hole.

Cutting the paper:  After you have the paper the length you need, hold it up to against the wall you will be covering.  Use a sharp pencil to lightly mark the back of the paper where your stair opening starts and ends.  (alternately, you can use your ruler to measure placement.  Cut a line 3/8” long at the marks.  Take your paper, backside facing up, and draw a cut line 3/8” inside the edge and remove the excess paper everywhere but the hole!  



After the wallpaper is dry.

After you install crown molding.

Same process as doing the walls.