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O'Neill's Decorating Centres

How to Hang Paste the Wall Guide


Paste the wall wallpapers are created on a stable, man-made substrate (base). This base does not react with moisture from wallpaper adhesive, it is the lack of reaction that gives it the ability to be hung directly on to a pasted wall.

Traditional wallpaper is based on a natural pulp substrate which absorbs and swells when moisture is applied to it, this is why you would allow a soaking time for the absorption/swelling of the fibres to be even.

If you are a traditionalist or it is impractical to “paste” a certain area in advance, you can apply wallpaper adhesive directly to the back of the wallpaper and hang it straight away, no soaking time needed.

Before you begin...

Check that all rolls have the same batch/shade number, open and examine in case of colour variation. Should any fault be apparent STOP IMMEDIATELY. Always keep all roll labels safe until your decorating is completed, these will always be required should a problem occur with the product.

It is essential to read the manufacturer's instructions before commencing the job and to take particular note of any recommendations, these may differ from what we are going to state below and should override what we say, below is only the typical paste the wall hanging technique. 

Step One: Measuring / Cutting

As a starting point you should aim to cut enough lengths to complete your first wall (or your feature wall).

Measure your skirting to ceiling height with a tape measure, note this information down, you can now prepare to cut the first length. Refer to the roll label to check the pattern repeat and pattern match for your wallpaper.

Open the roll out onto a paste table (or other suitably sized surface you can cut on) with the pattern facing up, establish the correct way the wallpaper should be hung. If necessary, refer to any images available online or contact our staff with the pattern details and we can help you.

Measure the amount of wallpaper needed for your first length using your tape measure, a quick check to see if you need to balance the top of the pattern (by sacrificing the first few centimeters or inches of the roll) to make sure you are not cutting through an important component of the pattern at the ceiling.

Make sure you allow yourself an extra 10cm / 4” for trimming on each length (5cm / 2” at each end) and cut your first length with a snap off knife or fold and cut using scissors. This will allow for changes in wall height across your wall.

Now you have your first length done, use a pencil and number it 1 on the back, you can prepare your second. Grab your roll and open out an arms length, with the pattern now visible place the roll parallel to your cut length. Move your roll along until the pattern matches and flows across both lengths, you may need to open up the roll a little more to get the pattern to match.

Once you have done this, slide the roll across onto the cut length (keeping the position where the pattern matched) and set this down. 

Make a crease at the top of the length to match the size of the excess given to the previous length, fold this crease on to itself and continue to open out the roll on top until you reach the other end of the previously cut length.

Making sure the lengths now match in size, make a crease along the bottom of the roll and cut this free from the roll. Return to the top of the length to trim the surplus from your first crease.

You've now got two lengths cut, to keep these in the correct order of hanging keep numbering them in pencil on the reverse (at what will be a top edge).

Repeat this procedure of matching the pattern against your previously cut length, creasing, folding and cutting until you have enough lengths to complete a full wall. If you are completing a full room, have a quick measure of the floor to ceiling height on each wall and double check for any variation. If this is minimal feel free to continue cutting enough lengths to complete your job. 

Step Two: Prep The Lengths

With your stack of numbered lengths prepared on your table, you can give yourself a headstart by reverse rolling each length. Start at the bottom of each length and roll so the pattern is on the inside of the coil, this way when they are all “rolled up” you can see the pencil number on each length. Use an elastic band to hold each little roll in place. 

Step Three: Marking Out

As our walls are not always truly square into each corner, we need to mark a starting point that will make sure each length of wallpaper is hung straight. This procedure should be repeated each time you start to hang wallpaper onto a new wall.

Using your tape measure, extend it to 45cm away from your first corner and mark the wall (at the top) to show this point. 

Now it’s time to use a plumb bob and line, this weighted line can now be held on your mark and once the line holds still you should make further vertical marks down the line. If you will struggle to see these marks, join them up using a straight edge/metre stick or batten.

When we come to hanging we will work from this line across the wall and back into the corner.


Step Three: Pasting the wall

Now you’ve got your lengths prepared, rolled and numbered, the wall marked up your enthusiasm is raring to go its time to get “pasting”. If you’ve never mixed paste before, read this first. Some wallcoverings are not compatible with a flake paste and require a ready mixed adhesive. Check this prior to application.

So you can apply your wallpaper adhesive with a brush or a roller, just find what works for you and applies sufficient adhesive evenly. Don’t try to paste a whole wall at a time, just work in sections that are wider than a rolls width, about 60cm at a time.

It is worth remembering that even though you are not applying adhesive directly to the wallpaper you should still try to work cleanly and don't allow paste to get on the front of the wallpaper as you hang it.

Step Four: Hanging

Working safely and using any ladders or steps properly we can now begin the wallpaper hanging.

Selecting length number one from your collection of prepared coils you can now remove the elastic band that’s stopping it unravelling.

 Open out the first 60cm or two feet of the wallpaper when you are safely in place at your wall, lightly press the top of the first length against the pasted wall, with a 50mm overlap at the top. 

Allow the opposite side to run around the corner of the wall as you smooth out the wallpaper, this will be trimmed later.

Slide the edge up to the vertical line made earlier and use a smoothing brush to get rid of air bubbles, keeping the edge of the length against your line.

Always use herringbone strokes from the centre of the length to smooth out any air pockets/bubbles, working from top to bottom.

Keep smoothing as you unravel the length bit by bit working down the wall, again keep this to your marked line as you complete the application and smoothing down to the skirting.

Trim the top and bottom of the length by either creasing the paper into the skirting and ceiling/picture rail with the back of the scissors then cut along the crease. Alternatively you can use a clean and sharp snap-off knife for this, because you’ve hung the wallpaper dry you may find this way the easiest method.

Don’t forget to trim off the excess wallpaper that ran around the corner, keep this as neat as possible using the above techniques.

Step Five: Cleaning The Excess Paste

Hang the next length in the same way, this time butting the edge neatly against the first piece hung, lining up your pattern correctly as you go.

Make sure these edges are firmly glued down by running a seam roller along the joint, refrain from applying too much pressure as this will push adhesive away from the edge, wait about 10 minutes to push down edges for a better result.

Always sponge off any excess paste with a clean moist sponge or the paste will dry as a shiny patch.

A lighter touch, damp cloth and a dabbing approach may suit some wallcoverings better, check the washability rating on the label.

Step Six: Finishing Off

Repeat the above procedure for each of your prepared lengths until you complete your first wall, ensuring that the edges meet exactly and the pattern is matched. 

Wipe over any excess adhesive left at the ceiling/picture rail or at the skirting boards before starting a new wall as this will have dried before you get back to it.

Continuing on to a new wall?

For internal corners, measure from the last full width roll to the corner and add 15mm. Paste the wall and press the small overlap piece around the corner. Overlap this piece with the next length of paper, using a plumb line for accuracy.

For external corners, use the same technique but allow about 25mm overlap. Hang the first length on the new wall so that it is about 12mm from the corner.

O’Neill’s Decorating Centres does not recommend any decorators as we cannot guarantee their professional standards.

Good Luck with your hanging from O’Neill’s.


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