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You can paper a room in a day when you've learned the whole art of Paper Hanging. By Ray Lewhite.

Yes it's easy when you know how!   William G. Sticker with years of experience in decorating tells you how you can give your room a new look the easy, pleasant and profitable way.

Those of you who may be attempting to hang wallpaper for the first time will no doubt, be inclined to purchase a cheap paper in case the attempt proves unsuccessful, thinking that by having a cheap paper the experiment will not be so costly. A cheap paper can be hung efficiently by an expert but the amateurs effort often proves a dismal failure.
This is due to the fact that the paper, being thin, has to be hung quickly after being pasted, before the paste can have soaked through the paper. The amateur requires more time to match and adjust the lengths into position, and this is not possible as the thin paper quickly becomes soaked and unmanageable and tears.
My advice is to purchase a middle price range paper,not cheap not too dear but of good quality, ready pasted papers are easy to hang. Quality wallpaper is much more substantial and allows more time for it to be put in position, giving one the confidence needed for a first attempt.

Preparing the walls

paper a room in a day
Before any paper can be hung the walls must be prepared. This i consider is a very important part of paperhanging. One is no doubt very reluctant to remove the old paper because of the time taken to do so. It is, however essential that this is done for at least two reasons. Firstly, because over the years dust, dirt and possibly grease have contaminated the paper. Secondly because of the fact that during the drying out process the new paper will often pull away parts of the old paper from the walls, in spite of the fact that it had appeared to be firmly fixed, thus causing blisters and loose edges.
Tackle this job by soaking the old paper with plenty of warm water, giving if necessary, two or three applications. An old emulsion brush or sponge is useful in this respect and the more the paper is soaked, the easier the removal. Take care, however, if working in a upstairs room, not to allow too much water to get on the floor as it may seep through cracks in the boards and damage the ceiling below.
The paper should be removed with a stipping knife. This is the correct tool to use ; improvised implements may damage the plaster. When all paper and loose plaster from holes and cracks has been removed, places requiring filling must first be wetted and then an appropiate filler applied, forcing it well into the holes. Next, wash the walls to remove all old size and paste. This should be followed by an application of weak size to the walls or if you are using cellulose paste follow the directions on the packet.
When dry, the walls should be rubbed over lightly to remove any nib' (roughness) that may still be there. This is very important because if the paper to be hung reflects lights, such as satins and varnished types the blemishes will be accentuated and thus spoil the appearance of the papered surface.

Cutting the Paper

paper a room in a day
The next operation is the cutting of the paper into lengths. Measure the lengths required and add an inch or two top and bottom, this to be cut off when hung. Check the cut length against the wall to ensure that no error has been made in measuring. It is a good plan here to check all your pieces of paper to see that the colour of each is even. Some variations may be noticed.
To cut the next length, lay the first piece on the table, pattern up, so that the second length can be cut identically with the first. Normally the pattern matches in a horizontal position which means that every length will be cut through the same part of the pattern. The lengths for the whole room, or part of the room, may be cut before pasting.
Occasionally a pattern does not match horizontally and this is known as a "drop" pattern. Here the pattern of the second length is matched half-way between the repeat of the pattern of the first length. When cutting the lengths, it will be seen that alternate lengths will match and these must be hung in correct sequence. If you are in doubt as to the type of pattern you have chosen the assistant at the store will help and advise you.


paper a room in a day
The table to be used for pasting should be 5 to 6 feet long and at least 22in. wide. Lay the paper, pattern downwards, along the centre of the table allowing the outer and near edges showing each side of the paper.
The top length only should be pulled away from you until the outer edge of the table is covered with the far side of the paper and the top of the paper is at the left end of the table.Having completed the pasting fold the top part about two-thirds of its length. If the lower part of the length is still to be pasted, draw the paper along until the un-pasted part is into position. Complete the pasting and fold the paper to meet the top fold.


paper a room in a day
With the majority of papers it is usual to start hanging the first length by the side of the window frame and work back towards the door. The door, normally, is at the opposite end of the room to the window and therefore should one by chance overlap the edge of the wallpaper, the edge will face the light and not be apparent to the eye on entering the room.
If the lengths are hung working towards the light, a dark edge of shadow will be seen each time the paper is lapped.
Wallpapers such as stripes, large repeats of separate units and similar types of patterns are an exception to this rule. These should be hung starting from the chimney breast. The chimney breast is the focal point of the room and by entering, the same pattern will turn at each angle of the breast. In this way when a mirror or similar fitting is put into position above the fireplace it will be nicely balanced.
Assuming the first length is to be hung by the window and is ready pasted, hold the two top edges between finger and thumb and let the top fold undo. Place the paper temporarily into position on the wall by the side of the window frame. To ensure that the paper is hung perfectly upright a plumb bob is used, which is a length of thin string with a weight attached.
Hold this in line with the edge of the paper and when these two are in alignment the length is correctly positioned. With a paperhangers brush, brush the paper firmly to the wall and the top edge to the picture rail.
Mark with a pencil or scissors the surplus which has to be cut away. Cut this off and wipe away any paste which may have contacted the paintwork and complete fixing this part of the length. Next, unfold the bottom section, brush down to the skirting, mark the part to be cut away and complete as for the top.
The second length is placed into position by putting the matching edge only to the edge of the previously hung length. With one hand keep the outer edge from the wall whilst, with the other slide the matching edge into position. When the first two or three feet are matched, put the outer side to the wall and repeat the hanging as for the first length.

The Internal Corner

paper a room in a day
Continue to hang further lengths until an internal corner is reached. Do not attempt to hang round the corner without cutting the paper into the angle. Apart from the difficulty in brushing into the corner the amount that passes on to the next wall invariably creases or some months later will blister and split in this angle. The correct method is to measure to the corner the amount required from the edge of the last piece hung prior to the corner. Measure at the top, middle and bottom and should it vary, cut the width of paper to the widest measurement. Hang this piece and with the remainder of the width start the next wall, matching in the angle to the piece already hung to the corner.
Make sure that the outer edge of this last piece is upright even if it means overlapping and slightly mismatching in the corner. This will ensure that the following lengths will be upright also. Check again with your line.

The External Angle

paper a room in a day
When passing round the external angle, such as the chimney breast, measure to the corner as was done when meeting a internal one, and add about one inch, or a little more if the paper has a raised pattern. As an example if the amount required to reach the corner of the chimney breast is 9in., 1in should be added and the paper cut to 10in. On no account attempt to take the full width of the length round the corner without cutting because creases will result due to the irregularities of most angles.
When surmounting an electric light switch, hang as previous lengths and when the paper reaches the switch it will be pushed out from the wall. Pierce the paper at a point in relation to the centre of the switch and cut outwards in all directions from the pierced point called "starring." Finish hanging the length and then neatly trim off the surplus pieces around the switch.

This is the first chapter in the whole art of paperhanging. There is very much more to come before all the tricks of the trade are at your finger tips. In subsequent articles we will make all these points clear.

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Always make sure to leave
a clean job at the
end of the day.