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Paper Hanging Made Easy

Stripping Old Wallpaper
Pasting and Papering a Ceiling
Pappering Walls
Relief Papers

By Ray Lewhite

There is a great variety of wallpapers on the market to day to choose from, including plastic papers.
To ascertain how much paper is required for a room measure as follows:
(Example height of room 10ft., distance round room 36ft.). Multiply the height and distance round the room together: 10x36=360ft.: divide by 9, the result being 40 sq. yds. devide by 7 (the number of square yards in a roll of wallpaper). Which equals roughly 6 rolls required for room

Measure the number of long lengths required and cut these, matching each length when cutting. Next, turn these lengths over on the table ready for pasting.

Stipping old wallpaper

How to Hang Wallpaper
To ensure making a good job of paper-hanging it may be necessary to strip of the old paper before hanging new.
The old paper should be repeatedly wetted, preferably with warm water, applied with a distemper brush till thoroughly soaked. When this condition is achieved the paste will soften up and the paper can be removed with a painters scrapper. If well soaked the paper may strip of in large pieces. After stripping, rub down walls with dry glasspaper and give a coat of decorators size to ensure that the paper will adhere firmly to the surface.

Pasting and Papering Ceiling

How to Hang Wallpaper
The most suitable brush for pasting is a old distemper brush. The paste must be applied carefully, care taken not to allow the paste to reach the surface of the paper. The best paste to use at present is cold water paste; it only needs the addition of cold water and a good stirring-up to attain the correct consistency.

The ceiling of a room should always be papered before the walls, and scaffolding with steps and planks should be fixed up at a convenient height, allowing your head about 9inches from the ceiling when standing on the plank. Next measure the ceiling and strike a guide line across the centre with a straight edge on which to place the first length of paper. Having pasted the paper, fold it in a kind of concertina folds, paste to paste; next hold it in the left hand and place a straight edge under it as a support. Now mount the scaffold with your face to the light, unfold end of paper and press into position on line. Having fixed the paper to the ceiling, gradually unfold a little, say each fold, and brush out with paper brush from centre to the edges, gradually moving across the plank during the operation till the whole length is secure.
Continue to hang the next length in the same manner, taking care to join up neatly. It is advisable to obtain assistance when papering a ceiling for the first time until the knack of hanging is achieved.

Papering Walls

How to Hang Wallpaper
It will be found much better to begin papering by working away from the light. Begin at one side of the window and work to the corner at the opposite wall. then commence at the other side of the window, and complete the room. It will be found that lining paper is best for beginners: the paste does not show on the surface and can be removed with a sponge without any ill effects.
When cutting the paper into lengths be sure to allow an inch or two extra. If the old wallpaper has not been removed, be sure there are no loose patches to spoil the work. All thin or moderately thin papers may be cut on the wall immediately after pasting. Cheap papers should be hung immediately after pasting. High quality papers especially embossed should be laid aside a little after pasting in order to allow the paste to penetrate and the paper to expand. If thick papers are hung immediately after pasting they tend to wrinkle and this spoils the work. Wallpaper manufacturers always print instructions for hanging: these should be carefully followed.

General Procedure for Hanging all Wallpaper

How to Hang Wallpaper
After pasting and folding(ends to middle and paste to paste) place the square cut edge of the paper at the top of the left-hand corner of the room flush and square to the picture rail( if there is one). A spirit level is then used to make sure the paper is plumb and in the correct position and hanging straight. It is essential to get the first length of paper straight. After fixing the length of paper in the correct position brush out from the centre to left and right down its entire length to securely fixed.,
Match the next length at the top and cut of the surplus paper at the bottom, and carry on in this manner till the whole is completed. When cutting off the surplus paper, make a crease mark by drawing the scissors along the paper where it hangs over the skirting. Pull the paper away from the wall and cut along the crease mark. In this way you will get an exact fit. If paper is tinted make that all rolls are of the same tint. You can do this by examining(before you cut any paper) the batch number on the roll.

Creases in Wallpaper

How to Hang Wallpaper
These are unsightly and are usually caused through lack of experience. Creases are mainly due to not getting the first length of paper quiet vertical or square at the top, and this throws out the whole lengths. This defect may also be due to not brushing firmly down the centre when hanging. Creases may also be caused through hanging a good quality paper to quickly

Relief Papers

Relief papers and raised papers are thicker than ordinary wallpapers, and they are suitable for dadoes, vestibules, ceilings, door panels, etc. They are supplied in various colours, the plain white being used for ceilings and friezes, and this is sometimes painted with emulsion paints or oil paints. Emulsion paint is recommended when these papers are used for ceilings. Many relief papers suitable for dadoes and fillings are supplied ready decorated and only need a good coat of varnish after being hung. All relief papers must be thickly pasted.

Picture Rail

How to Hang Wallpaper
Some old houses still have a picture rail running right round the room near the top of the walls. This is most useful, not only for hanging pictures, but for making a dividing line in the decorative scheme. The picture rail, however, need not remain in its original colour. It often adds to the decorative scheme of wallpaper to paint the picture rail to harmonise (or contrast) with the scheme. In the absence of the picture rail the same effect may be obtained with a special border paper about 2in. wide which can be purchased in a variety of styles and colours.

Pannelled Effect with Wallpaper

How to Hang Wallpaper
It used to be the fashion many years ago, to paper a dining or drawing room in what is known as a panelled effect. This is usually done by dividing the walls in equal or different sizes of panels and applying one kind of paper to the panel and another paper, usually plain, to divide the walls into panels. The best means of doing this is to space the walls to the sizes of the panels required. Then cut the plain paper used for the margin to the most suitable width, and apply the paper required for the margin first. When this is done, fill in the spaces with the paper required for the panels. Now divide the two papers by means of a narrow 2in. or 3in. border. If care is taken in spacing, excellent effects can be obtained by this method.


A dado is a continuous panel, usually of paint or wallpaper, some 40in. up the wall from the floor. It is usually a darker colour than the higher portion of the wall and is effective in kitchens, pantries and staircases. When varnished it can be washed down.

Papering Over Oil painted or Varnished Paper

Before papering over oil-painted or varnished paper, prepare the surface so that the paste will adhere. Take 2 lb of brown sugar and dissolve in a pail of water, apply a coat with a brush and leave to dry. The object is to dull the surface so that the paste will grip. Another way is to rub the surface over with a clean cloth soaked in pure turpentine, then lightly glass-paper to flat it.
When wallpaper is applied to bare boards or partitions some other material must first be applied or the paper will crack at every place where there is a joint in the boards. This can be avoided by covering the whole area to be papered with thin calico tacked into position without creases, and papering on top of this. It might be necessary to sew several lengths of calico together, but if the job is properly done the final effect will have all the smoothness of a wall. If a thin calico is not available a thick scrim or canvas may do, but this should be pasted down securely. The covering of wood with woven fabric before papering is a method used in the days of our colonial past, where wide ranges in temperature call for it. All calico should be given a coat of size before the paper is hung. This has the twofold effect of pulling out any wrinkles that may be in the calico, and prevents absorption and the use of an excessive amount of paste in the paper hanging.Go Back to Home Page

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