Did you see my budget kitchen makeover yesterday? I am so excited about my new backsplash that I wallpapered! I have not hung wallpaper before and was pretty nervous about trying it but I read up a bit online, talked with the folks at Lowe’s, and rolled-up my sleeves and got to work. And I am so super-duper glad I did!! I love how it turned out and the price couldn’t be beat. For my kitchen, I only needed one roll of wallpaper plus a few supplies which brought me in at around $25. Now that’s a deal! I took some photos and thought I’d share what I did with you, in case you want to hang some wallpaper in your home too!
Gather your supplies. I used a level, pencil, drop cloth, black garbage bags, paper towels, wallpaper, paint roller + tray, smoothing brush, trim guide, sponge, seam roller, snap-off knife and wallpaper paste. (Note: My wallpaper was pre-pasted, which means that I could have just used water to “activate” the existing paste on the back of the paper BUT I wanted to give my paper some extra “bite” – especially since it’s in a high-traffic area – so I used a wallpaper paste on mine. The paste I bought is specifically formulated for pre-pasted paper.) Regarding some of the supplies, they sell kits with most of these supplies in them but you can also buy the items separately. Most kits have a paste brush but I decided to use a paint roller instead which was really easy, so it’s what I recommend.
Prepare your work area and your walls. First, I laid a drop cloth over my countertop to protect it from any potential paste drips. Next I spread the black garbage bags out adjacent to the area to be wallpapered first, and made this my “pasting area”. You want to be careful that you don’t get paste on the front of your wallpaper so I decided to use black garbage bags as my dropcloth for this step because I could easily wipe away any excess paste with a paper towel between each roll.
Make sure your wall is ready for wallpaper. Remove any outlet covers, etc… My wall was in good condition with only paint on it, so I didn’t have much to do to here. Just be sure it’s a smooth surface, the wallpaper will show any bumps or dips.
Measure your wall height and add 4″ (2″ for the top + 2″ for the bottom) and cut your first piece. Now you need to cut your next piece but you must allow for your pattern’s repeat. Basically what I did here was cut my first piece and then lay it down on the ground next to my roll, match the pattern up and then cut my next piece. I repeated this process each time and my patterns always matched up – yay! It gave me a little more waste, but this process worked really well for me so, I stayed with it!!
Pour some paste into the paint tray. Lay your cut wallpaper right side down. Roll your paint roller in the paste and roll it back and forth a bit to make sure the roll is evenly covered with paste but not dripping. Too much paste on your roller will make a mess and not enough will keep you dipping back and forth which is wasted extra effort and potentially more messy. Roll the paste onto the paper. I started from the top of the piece and worked my way down, evenly covering the entire paper. You don’t want any dry spots – that could cause bubbling later which would not be good. A nice even coat of paste not too heavy but not too light.
My paper required “booking” so I pasted it and folded it up then tucked it into another garbage bag with a damp sponge (just to help it stay nice and moist in there) and set my kitchen timer for 5 minutes. Here’s how I folded it: 1) Fold the bottom end up to the mid point. 2) Fold the top half down to meet the middle. 3) Fold the folded piece in half. 4) Place in bag to rest per your wallpaper & paste instructions.
Remember to wipe your pasting area clean before you paste your next piece to avoid getting paste on the “right side” of your paper.
Draw a plumb line on your wall. This is one of the most important steps I did so I encourage you DON’T SKIP THIS! Basically, measure the width of your roll of wallpaper and subtract 1/2″. Now, measure this distance (your wallpaper roll width – 1/2″) from where you want to begin your wallpaper and make a mark. Using your level, draw a vertical line here. Be sure it’s straight – that’s why it’s important to use a level. This is the line that you are going to use for hanging your wallpaper. Don’t use the cabinets or your counter top as a guide, USE YOUR PLUMB LINE, this way, the pattern will be level around your whole kitchen no matter if your cabinet top is wavy…
Once your timer “dings”, pull your paper out of the bag and gently unfold the top section and line up the side of your paper with your plumb line. Gently press it into place. Use the wide smoothing brush to remove air bubbles working from the top to the bottom and the center to the outside. Keep an eye on your plumb line as you are doing this, the paper is slick and you don’t want it to get off the line. Unfold the bottom half and brush it into place just as you did the top half. If you get a bubble that won’t come out, stick it with a straight pin and work the air out with the smoothing brush. If you get a bubble that won’t come out, stick it with a straight pin and work the air out with the smoothing brush.
Trim the excess top and bottom pieces by pressing the trim guide against the paper and using the snap-off blade to cut the extra paper away. I would trim the top and bottom of a piece and then snap-off a section of the blade so that each piece had a fresh blade. This paper was pretty thick and if I didn’t do that the blade would become a bit dull and begin to tear the paper – not good! Finally, I’d go over the hanging piece with a damp sponge to be sure there was no lingering paste.
Continue with next piece! You only need one plumb line per wall so just hang your next piece up in line with the pattern repeat of the piece already hanging. When you turn a corner, draw a new plumb line to help make sure you stay on track.
I would book three pieces of paper at a time. That was the most I felt comfortable “booking” at once so that I didn’t get too far ahead of myself. It took me about 3 hours to do my kitchen. I took my time because I was being extra careful.
When going around a corner, I hung the paper as above but then cut the paper down the line of the corner to be sure it was properly adhering to the wall. I think if you don’t do this, there is a good chance the paper could pull-away from the wall which would not be a look you’d want…
When papering over an outlet, just hang paper as above and once you have it all in place, then carefully cut the space out for the outlet. Some tutorials say cut an “X”, for me I found it easier to just follow the general rectangle shape of the outlet and trim that away…
Obviously, this is just a basic tutorial. For even more details check out a video tutorial like this one from Lowe’s (and NO this isn’t a sponsored post… I just found this tutorial to be helpful so I’m passing it along).
I hope you will consider giving wallpaper a try in your home. I’m so glad I did!
P.S.: The wallpaper I used is a paintable wallpaper by Allen + Roth called “Squares”. Here is a link to it. I bought it at Lowe’s. My local store has two patterns in stock and they are great to have around the house for lots of projects 🙂
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