Installing Pre-Pasted Removable Wallpaper
Pre-Pasted Removable Installation:
Prepare Your Walls
You may need a couple days or up to four weeks to prepare your walls. You must:
- ensure your wall is smooth, clean and dust-free
- patch or sand any damaged areas on the wall, especially where sharp edges might pierce or tear the wallpaper.
- allow recently painted or primed walls to cure for at least 4 weeks before installation. Applying wallpaper over uncured paint can lead to bubbling as moisture tries to escape.
For best results apply to a surface that is a solid, light color. I have not tested installation directly over other wallpaper, or over wall paper that has been primed.
Installation is not recommended:
- on walls with texture
- over "scrubbable" paints
Find a Friend and Set Aside Some Time
Hanging wallpaper requires at least two people. You also must allow enough time to complete the entire installation in one day. Why? Since this paper shrinks as it dries, completing the task in one day ensures seamless installation of your pattern!
Paint roller or sponge (for the booking process, see below)
Sharp utility knife with extra blades
Bucket (or paint tray if using a paint roller) of clean water
A long flat surface
Preparation of Installation:
Prepare Your Rolls of Paper
Unroll each strip so they face the same way. The top of each panel has no white space. The bottom has a narrow white label with a barcode as show below. Do not trim your paper before hanging.
NOTE: While each roll is numbered ("Quantity-1 of 8" and so on), you do not need to install your panels in any order. Rolls of the same length print identically. This number is the quantity of items in your order.
Deciding Where to Start Hanging
When applying multiple rolls of wallpaper across one, two or three walls, you may install from the farthest left corner to the right, or from the right corner to the left. Once you start in one direction, you must commit to it.
IMPORTANT: If you are covering all the walls of a room, the last installed panel likely will not match seamlessly with the first panel. To help reduce any visual disconnect, plan where you will begin the installation. Be sure the first panel is not a focal point of the room.
Example: Start hanging in a corner hidden behind an open door, or put the first panel behind a tall piece of furniture. While the design won't be seamless here, it will be far more inconspicuous than if it on a wall facing a couch or bed.
I always recommend ordering all rolls at the same length, matching the tallest wall to make for the easiest installation and will not help you calculate how much to purchase if you want to order different length rolls when you have walls of different heights. However, if you have a mathematically inclined mind, be certain to consider the following:
- The vertical design repeat varies for each design. You can find the repeat for each design from the page you ordered the pattern from.
- Designs print from the bottom of the roll up at the factor of the vertical design repeat
- You install from the top down, but a longer roll might set up a repeat that your shorter rolls cannot match. However, if you start with a shorter roll, the longer roll may install more effectively.
Visualizing and sketching the 24" (61cm) wide panels with the vertical design repeat is likely essential for this process.
Watch this video before you start and then review the written steps below.
Booking the Paper
Booking the wallpaper is the process of activating the pre-pasted adhesive with water. Enough water must be applied to saturate the paper and create a goopy consistency.
There’s a many ways to book your wallpaper, but these two are the most common:
- Use a clean paint roller or sponge to thoroughly wet the back of the paper
- Use a high output spray bottle to saturate the adhesive. Keep all sprays consistent so the same amount of water covers the entire panel
IMPORTANT: Good overhead lighting and a flat surface will be your friend!
Dry spots that need more water will appear dull under the light. Typically, the edges of the paper are not saturated enough. If overhead lighting is not available a flashlight or cell phone can reflect variations. Reapply water at these spots or edges.
Once the paper is thoroughly wet, gently fold the top and bottom so that pasted sides meet together in the middle, as shown in the diagram below. Take care not to crease the paper. Allow each panel of paper to rest in this booking phase for at least 3-5 minutes before hanging. The paper is absorbing water into its fibers to activate the glue. As it dries, the paper will tighten and create a smooth, professional finish.
Once the first panel is properly booked for 3 - 5 minutes, unfold just the top half of the paper while leaving the white edge with the barcode still folded.
From your starting point on the wall, align the top of the wallpaper with the ceiling. Have your friend to step back to confirm that the strip is straight and level. If you are starting in the corner, that vertical edge may help, too.
HINT: If the ceiling edge is not perfectly straight, start about an inch above the edge and trim away the excess when the paper is dry. Painter's tape can help secure the paper if it slips as you adjust your installation.
Once the top of the paper is in position, unfold the bottom half. Smooth the paper down the wall using a damp sponge or a wallpaper squeegee. Remove air bubbles as you go, lightly pressed them from the center of the paper to the edges.
Book your second roll and hang it so it overlaps the previous roll by approximately 0.5" (1+ cm). The overlap may vary from roll to roll so be mindful and visually match the repeat. There is no need to trim the overlap. Because wallpaper shrinks as it dries, this guarantees there will be no spaces between panels.
Repeat this step with each panel until you complete your installation.
- When installing around doors or windows, apply the wallpaper as normal. However, you may want to cut away any extra bulk that is not installing to the wall. Still wait until the paper has fully dried (3 or more hours) before trimming it flush to the moulding.
- Installing corners, either interior (in a room) or exterior (around edge), may offer a challenge, especially when you are installing more than half a roll (12+", 30 cm) from one wall surface to the next. Consider this issue when you determine your starting point. In a perfect scenario, installing only few inches of paper across an edge is best. It is easier to keep the paper level and there isn't too much extra weight to balance.
- Do not cut the paper for corners because it will cause problems with your seamless overlap.
- Since installation will vary from room to room, search online for additional ideas for navigating around switches, electrical plugs, window hardware and more.
Once you've installed all the panels it is time for the finer details for a professional look:
- Let your paper dry completely - at least 3 hours - to guarantee it has returned to it's original size
- Use a sharp utility knife with a good grip to trim the extra paper around the frames of windows and doors, and across the ceiling and by the baseboard. We have had good luck with Olfa SAC-1 Graphic Cutter. It offers stability so the blades and wobble as you cut with a straight edge. Don't be frugal, either! Sharp blades cut cleaner lines
- Wipe down the walls with a damp sponge to remove any excess adhesive
- Recycle any leftover bits of paper
- Stand back, admire your work and share a pizza with your friend
- Use a damp sponge to lightly reactivate the adhesive
- Start at the corner of the last installed roll and gently peel from the wall
- Repeat for each roll, in reverse of installation
- Wipe down the bare wall with a damp sponge to remove any leftover residue
- Recycle the paper appropriately