Wallpaper Hanging Guide - How to measure, cut and paste

Step 1 Measure, cut & check the first drop

  • Video – how do you cut wallpaper?

    Give yourself 90 seconds to watch our short but perfectly formed video guide to measuring and cutting wallpaper.

    Then read on…

  • Measure the height of the wall and add 100mm to get your drop length.

  • Set up a clean, dry pasting table. Double check the way your paper comes off the roll. The design could be upside down.

    Make sure you work with the design the right way up.

  • Find the point in the design you want to see at the top of the wall. Cut straight across the paper about 50mm above that.

    You’ll trim the extra off after you’ve hung the wallpaper.

  • Measure out the drop length on the back of your paper. Mark a straight line across the back and make your cut.

    A dustsheet on the floor will help keep your wallpaper clean as you work.

  • Check your first drop dry against the wall before you paste or cut any more.

    If the ceiling height varies, cut each drop one at a time and number it on the back so you know which drop goes where.

  • Straight match patterns

    Check the label of your paper. A symbol with two arrows opposite one another means it’s a straight match pattern where the left and right sides line up.

  • Unroll your next drop on top of your first and line up the pattern on the side furthest away from you.

    Cut your second drop to match your first. Keep offcuts to use above doors.

  • Drop match patterns

    When you see a drop match symbol it means the pattern is staggered so the next drop matches up (usually) half way down the first.

  • Put your first drop back on the pasting table, then unroll the next length so the pattern matches on the near side and cut to match the top of the previous drop.

Step 2 Paste

  • Video – pasting wallpaper

    Watch How do you hang wallpaper for a 90 second overview. The part on pasting starts at about 35 seconds.

  • Ready mixed pastes are usually best.

    Check the wallpaper label to see which one the manufacturer recommends, and how long you need to let it soak in before you hang the paper.

  • Lay your cut drops of paper face down on the table with the first drop on top.

    Line up the edge of the paper with the edge of the table. Paste down the middle then out to the sides, making sure the paper is completely covered.

  • When your drop is completely covered, concertina fold it from the ends inwards so you can carry it easily.

    Let the paste soak in for as long as it says on the label. You risk problems with overlapping joins otherwise.

Step 3 Hang

  • Video – how do you hang wallpaper?

    Watch our overview video for a 90 second guide to hanging wallpaper, then read on…

  • Hang your first drop

    Unless you’ve got a bold pattern, start in the least noticable corner. A paper join behind a door will be hidden when the door is open.

  • Make a mark about 25mm less than the width of your wallpaper away from the corner.

    Use a plumb line or a spirit level to pencil a long vertical line down the wall.

  • Line up the edge of your first pasted drop about 5mm inside the pencil line.

    Brush in towards the corner and take the last 25mm around it, then brush out from the centre to the edges all the way down.

  • Use scissors to gently crease the paper, then peel back and trim along the crease. Repeat at the bottom of the drop.

  • First drop – bold patterns

    Bold patterns look best when you start in the middle of the focal point of the room. A chimney breast, for instance.

  • Cut bold patterns so you trim back to a complete motif at the top of the wall.

  • Matching the pattern

    Line up the side of your next drop with your first and brush towards the join to close the gap.

  • With the join neatly closed, brush across away from the join to flatten the rest of the width to the wall.

  • Open up your pasted folds one at a time and work your way down the whole drop brushing into the join then across.

  • Gently crease the joint between the wall and the skirting with scissors, then peel back and trim as before.

  • Hanging wallpaper gets easier with each drop. You’ll be surprised how quickly your room begins to take shape.

  • Avoiding paste problems

    Paste on the front of your paper can spoil the surface. Remove it quickly but gently using clean water on a soft sponge, working out to the edge of the paper.

Step 4 Corners/details

  • Video – how do you wallpaper the tricky bits?

    Our one minute forty second guide will help you handle the trickier parts of the room Watch how do you wallpaper those tricky bits? then read on…

  • Door & window frames

    Place your pasted drop against the frame so you can see and feel the corner.

    Make a 45° cut from the edge to about 25mm past the corner.

  • Line your wallpaper up with the previous drop and brush in the joint.

    Then brush the rest of the drop down onto the wall, smoothing it tight into the edge of the frame so the cut pieces fold outwards.

  • Trim the folded out pieces away with a sharp craft knife (mind your fingers!).

    Use a metal straight edge as a guide if you need it.

  • Corners

    Most walls aren’t dead square. You need to wallpaper round a corner with two narrow strips to keep both edges vertical.

    Measure the widest gap between the last drop and the corner.

  • Add about 20mm to that width and use a straight edge to mark it out in pencil on the back of your wallpaper.

    Cut the drop into two strips vertically.

  • Hang the first strip matching the pattern first then brushing in to the corner to take the extra 20mm around it.

    Then mark a pencil line measured the width of the remaining strip minus 10mm from the edge of the first strip using a plumb line or spirit level.

  • Hang your second strip on the pencil line, overlapping the first strip by that extra 10mm or so.

  • Cut right through both layers of wallpaper half way across the overlap, then peel away the excess from the top strip, and from the strip below.

  • Throw away the trimmings and brush the top drop back down to make a perfect corner join.

  • Power sockets

    Turn off the electricity at the junction box. Hang your wallpaper unpasted to match the last drop, and feel through the paper to find the corners of your plug socket.

  • Cut slits in the paper diagonally out from near the middle of the socket to each of the corners.

    Paste your paper, including the outer corners of the slits, and allow the paste to soak in as usual.

  • Hang the drop and brush it in to the edges of the socket.

    Fold back the four triangles of wallpaper made by the slits, and cut each one back so what’s left sticks out from the wall about 10mm.

  • Unscrew the face plate of the socket and fold the 10mm flaps down to the wall, brushing them in well.

  • Screw the face plate of the socket back and you’re done. Any slits extending past outside the socket won’t be noticeable when they’re dry.

  • For circular switches and sockets do the same thing, just using more slits in the wallpaper to make a better fit.

  • Radiators

    If you don’t want to see your wallpaper peeling off behind a radiator, you need to paper all the way down the wall behind it.

  • Wallpaper peels away in the heat of a radiator when it has been cut short and tucked down part way.

    Turn off the mains water supply and your boiler. Drain the radiator and take it off (or ask a plumber if you need to).

  • Remove the brackets to expose the screw holes in the wall, and stick a matchstick in each hole, making sure it sticks out 10mm or so from the wall.

  • Wallpaper behind where the radiator will hang all the way down to the skirting, pushing the matchsticks through the paper where you feel them underneath.

  • Take the matchsticks out and use the holes in the wallpaper to line up your brackets with the screw holes.

    Screw your brackets back in place, re-hang your radiator and turn it on.

  • Turn the water on, bleed the radiators at the top of the house and check if you need to let more water into your boiler to make up for what you drained off.

    Ask a plumber for help if you need it!

  • Ceilings

    Always wallpaper ceilings before walls.

    Measure the paper width less 10mm from the edge of the window wall. Start there to help conceal any slight overlaps. Hang the long edge of the wallpaper parallel to the window wall.

  • Choose steps suitable for the ceiling height. Move them around as you work. Don’t lean or overstretch and risk a fall.

    Cut, paste and soak as before. Support folded lengths with some rolled up paper or a broomstick while you work.

  • Brush your paper down so you get a 10mm overlap all the way around the edge of the ceiling.

    When you wallpaper the walls, your wallpaper will slightly overlap your ceiling paper for a seamless join.