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How To Paper a Ceiling

Papering a ceiling a simple method of carrying out an otherwise awkward operation.
By Ray Lewhite.

Papering ceilings gives rooms a distinctive look. This reputedly difficult operation can be done without previous instruction. Your room can be finished with a professional touch. First attempts will produce pleasing results and the novice will find his efforts rewarded.

Equipment Required

How to Paper a Ceiling
It is advisable to prepare all the materials before starting. The esential pieces of equipment are a plank, two trestles, paste brush and bucket as shown in fig.1.The plank should be long enough to allow the two opposite walls to be reached. The trestles are of ideal height when the head is 6in. from the roof
The quantity of paper required will be advised by the merchant. A rough is four or five rolls for a room 12ft.x 14ft. It is advisable to buy good quality paper which is thicker to avoid the risk of tearing. The merchant will also supply you with suitable paste and a 9in. brush if required. When the time comes to hang the paper a table is needed for pasting, a large pair of scissors, a tape measure, or ruler and a pencil. Before hanging is started filler paste should be used to fill any cracks.

Filling Cracks

How to Paper a Ceiling
Many ceilings have hair-cracks like road maps. These should be filled with plaster filler or poly-filler. The secret of the finish is in the preparation. The ceiling and friezes need to be as level as billiard tables. The plaster will be ridged after it has been left to dry. These ridges should be smoothed down gently with fine sandpaper until they are level. The surface should be inspected carefully to make sure that no bumps or hollows remain.
So far the technique has been similar to that of preparing the work for applying emulsion. From this point the preparations are made with the papering in mind. The ceiling requires sizing- a weak solution of paste is recommended- using a roller or a 9in.brush apply the paste evenly. Working inwards from the window will keep the light behind you (see fig. 2). This will make it easier to spot that no places have been missed. The frieze should be dealt with at the same time. The size will dry quickly, but it is best to leave it overnight.

Hanging the Paper

How to Paper a Ceiling
The preparatory work is now finished. If it has been done well the paperhanging will present no difficulties. Hanging parallel to the long walls will use the least number of strips of paper. the strips are longer, but that presents no problems. The fewer the number of pieces to hang the quicker the area is covered. Having mixed the paste, cut the first piece of ceiling paper. This may be a small section to fill the alcove. If so, cut the width to fit, as well as the lenght. Allow 1/4in. to 1/2in. extra width and two or three extra inches for lenght. The extra width will extend to the wall when the frieze is hung, the overlap will obviate gaps. The extra lenght will be cut off, except 1/4in. to 1/2in. each end for the same purpose.

Folding Paper Concertina-wise

Paste the first piece on the table, folding concertina-wise in three or four foot folds. Walking the plank, place one end of the paper on the ceiling corner. Allow the extra length to overhang the frieze, while making the width fit properly (Fig.3). Walk forward on the plank, unfolding the concertina fold by fold. The experts can manage single handed. An assistant to take care of the fitting and to start the unfolding helps considerably. Should the paper not be quiet straight, the assistant can un-peel partly and adjust. Once straight, the piece can be pressed home on the centre, followed by the sides. The ends are cut after this. The paper is pulled back a little after marking while the cut is made. Move the plank and trestles for each piece, and ensure the position is as comfortable as possible. The only physical effort required is lifting arms. If the plank is always placed correctly this will be reduced to a minimum. Subsequent pieces are dealt with as the first. After the first fold the alignment can be adjusted, if needed, and careful unfolding after this point will keep the strips parallel. The assistant is able to smooth down the paper as it is laid, and he can also guide the paper-hanger in placing the paper as it unfolds. The ends are cut as were the ends of the first piece, a slight overlap of pieces avoiding any gaps showing to spoil the work.

Dealing with Hazards

How to Paper a Ceiling
Hazards such as electric light roses, should be dealt with by careful measurement before hanging, and if the fit is not exact do not hesitate to un-peel and adjust. The rose is likely to be nearer one end than the other, therefore start hanging the strip with the hole in it from the nearer end. Any adjustment will then be as simple as possible. The final piece to be hung should first be put up dry. The corner of the ceiling can be marked along it ready for cutting. This marking will take up any irregularities in the shape of the room of hanging, a small margin being allowed as in the first piece.

The Frieze

How to Paper a Ceiling
The frieze is now hung horizontally, one piece is used for each wall with smaller pieces for alcoves and obstructions. The top of the frieze will cover the small amount of paper hanging down from the ceiling(see Fig.4). This will give a good straight edge. The width of paper to the picture rail will need to be cut to size. The cost of materials and paper should be well within your budget and the whole of the work can be carried out in two or three evenings. Best results are obtained with careful work and preparation.
See Fig.1.

See Fig.2.

See Fig.3.

See Fig.4.

See Fig.5.

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