Considering hanging wallpaper for the first time? I recommend before you start, reading my “Wallpapering Beginners Guide”. Hanging wallpaper doesn’t have to be scary, with the right tools and a little patience anyone can wallpaper like a pro.

If you’re faced with having to remove your old wallpaper, you might be interested in reading an earlier post How To Remove Wallpaper Fast, full of useful tips for stripping wallpaper.

Step 1 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Wallpaper Batch Numbers

Assuming you have already calculated how many rolls of wallpaper you need. If you are unsure on how do to this, draw a plan of the room with measurements and consult your local painting store. Don’t guess or try and save money by not ordering that extra role. It is vital for the success of your job that you order enough wallpaper to finish the project

All wallpapers comes with a batch number and colour code on their label. To ensure colour and pattern uniformity, check that all batch numbers are the same.

wallpapering beginners guide

Step 2 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Wallpapering Tools

There are a few tools that will be required when hanging wallpapering. Below I have listed the essential tools you will need.

While most of the tools are relatively inexpensive, they all play an important role. I personally prefer the aluminum wallpapering tables over wood. They are easier to clean, lightweight, strong and don’t absorb moisture.

When trimming wallpaper depending on the type (paste the wall, paste the paper) having a snap knife and a sharp scissors is recommended. Delicate wallpapers once soaked can tear when using a snap knife.

Step 3 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Sizing Walls Before Wallpapering

Depending on the surface of your walls, they may need to be sized before you can hang wallpaper. Walls that have never been painted or papered will need sized. Also walls that have been patched with fresh plaster or filler would also benefit from being sized before wallpapering.

Sizing helps to:

  • Seal walls creating a vinyl surface that helps the user manipulate the wallpaper into place.
  • Stops the moisture being sucked out of the paste to quickly.

You can size the walls using a watered down mixture of wallpaper adhesive. Mix the wallpaper as recommended by the manufacturer and then add an additional 2 litres of water for sizing walls.

I use a 6 Inch Roller Sleeve or 9 Inch Roller Sleeve in combination with a 3 Inch Brush, depending on the size of area being wallpapered. Leave to fully dry (24 hours), your now ready to wallpaper.

NOTE: Diluted wallpaper paste cannot be used for wallpapering, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on the back of the wallpaper paste. Ratios of water to paste change in accordance with the type wallpaper being hung.

Step 4 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Where To Start Wallpapering

Alway start in the corner of a room and wallpaper away from the light so as not to cast a shadow if the paper overlaps. Try to start on a wall with no windows or doors, use your plumb bob or spirit level to strike a vertical straight line.

If you are using a plumb bob for the first time, simply hold the string at the top of the wall, letting the weight hang without touching the floor. Wait until the weight stops swaying, then with a pencil mark your straight line.

Wallpaper your first section of paper to the straight line, allow the edge of the paper to wrap slightly around the adjacent corner by a half inch.

Step 5 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Paste The Wall Wallpapers

Some modern wallpapers have new paste the wall technology. Instead of pasting the wallpaper, letting it soak and then hanging, you instead paste the walls. I use a 9 Inch Roller in combination with a 3 Inch Brush to paste the wall before hanging paste the wall wallpapers.

Wallpapering tips paste the wall

1) Size all the walls the day before to stop the plaster absorbing the wallpaper paste.
2) Use your Olfa Snap Knife and regularly snap a new section of blade for clean cuts.
3) Pay particular attention to the seams, ensure they have enough paste and use your Seam Roller.
4) Only use Paste The Wall paste as it specifically designed for paste the wall papers.

Paste the wall papers do save time by not having to let them soak, but are more difficult to manipulate due to the man made fibres woven into the wallpaper to stop them from shrinking.

Step 6 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Pre Cut Your Wallpaper

Speed up the process of wallpapering by pre cutting your wallpaper before hanging. Place your first cut section onto the pasting board, then cut multiple sections remembering to match the pattern. Information on the pattern repeat can be found on the wallpaper label.

Ensure when pasting all pre cut sections of wallpaper that you use a liberal amount of paste. I use a 6 Inch Roller Sleeve and 3 Inch Brush for the top, bottom and edges of the wallpaper.

Once the wallpaper is pasted, take the bottom corners of the paper and fold it back on itself. This allows for better handling of the paper, once you have the top section of pasted on the fold, you can then unfold the remaining wallpaper.

All paste the paper wallpapers require a Soaking Time, which is dependent on room temperature and wallpaper type, soaking time is generally around ( 5-10 minutes). Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for allocated soaking time.

Step 7 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Applying Wallpaper

Take one of the pasted sections and carefully unfold letting the bottom section hang. Next place the paper onto the wall starting at the top. Use the straight line you marked earlier as a guide, smooth the paper using your Wallpapering Brush, always work from the centre outwards to the edges, removing air bubbles as you go. Wipe off any excess paste with your Decorators Sponge.

Continue papering using the edge of the first section as your guide for matching the pattern. Start the next pasted section at the top and match the pattern and seam before smoothing the paper. Next close the seam using a combination of Seam Edge Roller and your fingers to push the seam closed. Run a damp sponge over the entire section of wallpaper checking for any trapped air bubbles.

Step 8 : Wallpapering beginners Guide

Trimming Wallpaper

There are many situations when hanging wallpaper that you will need to trim the wallpaper, (plug sockets, light switches, ceilings, skirting boards, windows, door frames).

Using the blunt edge of the scissors press the paper into the corner (edge) of the ceiling, skirting, then with a Snap Knife trim off the excess. When papering around plugs or light fittings, the simplest method is to paper over them, then cut a box the same shape only smaller than the socket cover.

With the papering snap knife cut the corners to match the dimensions of the socket cover. Turn off the power, screw off the socket cover and carefully manoeuvre the socket through the wallpaper. Push the wallpaper behind the cover removing any bubbles and leave to dry before screwing the plug socket, light switch flush to the wall.

Easy Hang Wallpaper Tips

  • Size the walls to help with adhesion and to allow better manipulation of the wallpaper.
  • Pre cut your wallpaper matching the pattern before you cut
  • Apply plenty of wallpaper adhesive ensuring all areas are covered and let soak
  • Remove air bubbles by smoothing the paper from the centre outwards to the edges
  • Clean off the excess paste with a sponge after hanging each section
  • Trim a little, you can always trim more, you can’t add back

I hope you found this article on how to wallpaper for beginners helpful. You might also be interested in:


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New legislation set in place by the European union has been gradually changing the way paint is manufactured. These new regulations are aimed at reducing and removing harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from all paint products. Over the last five years we have started to see the introduction of eco friendly, greener water based paint.

Why the change?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are harmful chemicals that give of gas causing damage to human health and the ozone. These VOC’s compounds are found in many products, aerosols, thinners, oil based paint, nail polish, paint stripper, commercial solvents, leather treatments, pesticides and the list goes on.

Read more on Volatile Organic Compounds

Change is inevitable and for most part is welcomed, but how will these new laws effect the painting industry now and into the future. Can water based paint eventually replace oil based paint.

The benefits of using water based paint

  • Water based paints do not produce gases that harm the ozone as they do not contain any volatile organic compounds.
  • Drying time is considerably shorter in comparison to solvent based paint which can take as long 16 – 24 hours.
  • Paint fumes are no longer an issue with water based paint, making them the perfect choice for schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.
  • Water based paint does not crack, fade or yellow compared to oil based paint
  • Cleaning brushes and spills couldn’t be easier using water, meaning no harmful thinners and longer lasting brushes.

How do I know if paint is water based?

If you are unsure if the paint you are using is water based or oil based, refer to the label, especially the cleaning process. If the label says use water to clean your brushes, then you are using a water based paint.

Cleaning brushes with water is a blessing for all DIY enthusiasts. Gone are the days of purchasing cheap brushes for the job at hand then disposing of them after they are done.

Water based paint application

As we can see there are a numerous benefits to using water based paint. I think we can agree that water based paint is the better choice for the environment and human health. With that being said, how does it compare to oil based paint.

Unbiased opinions of others

“Water based acrylic paints are a lot less fumy, but might need an undercoat, anyhow, if you’re painting over existing paint or varnish. Until the past 5 years or so, most paint for woodwork was oil based, with just a few premium brands having an acrylic line”

“Acrylic (water based) paints are supposedly kinder to the environment (both immediate and generally) and are easier to work with but alkyd (oil / solvent based) paints generally give a better finish, are more hard wearing and need fewer coats”

“Water based paint requires multiple coats for opacity, you are better off applying an extra coat of undercoat. White acrylic primer undercoat, which is water-based and adequate for indoors, is quick to apply and easy to rub down. Gloss topcoat is not intended for opacity so much”

Saving the planet and conforming to new legislation should always be a priority, but have we sacrificed on quality. After using several water based paints from various manufactures, my answer would be NO. I would say that it will take time, before everyone is on board.

Seasoned painters who have been using solvent based paints for many years may take a little longer to come around. From the opinion of others and myself, water based paint takes more prep and several coats to achieve a great finish. Planning on using water based paint, check out my tips below.

Tips when using water based paint

  • Make sure to give the old paint a really good rub down with an aluminium oxide, 120 grade (fine) sandpaper. By lightly scoring the surface of the the original paint work, removes the shine and helps the new paint adhere to the surface.
  • Dust the surface clean and then give it a wipe down with a clean damp rag removing any dust.
  • Apply a water based undercoat/primer to act as a base coat prior to the final coat coat. If painting bare wood, several coats will be required.
  • Once the undercoat/primer is dry, next paint your finishing coat of water based paint. Leave to dry and apply a second and final coat.


I can honestly say that I was a little disappointed in the finish when using a water based paint. Multiple coats are required and an undercoat even after sandpapering is recommended. The absence of fumes and the simple cleaning process are a huge bonus.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. Please keep me in mind for your painting and decorating needs. Claim your FREE no obligation quotation.