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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Walls Category: Interior Walls: Drywalls / Wallboards

Improvement Project:

How to install wallpaper.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Wallpaper/wallcovering

  • Carpenter's level

  • Carpenter's knife

  • Straightedge

  • Ladder

  • Paint roller and paint/water tray (though not for paint, but wallpaper adhesive-prep use; fill tray with either water or wallpaper paste activator, depending on wallpaper type)

  • Water

  • Wallpaper paste activator

  • Long water tray

  • Tarps

  • Yardstick/ruler

  • Tape measure

  • Table/desk

  • Sponge, large size

  • Dampened cloth/rag

  • Wide drywall taping knife

  • Wallpaper scissors/shears

  • Seam roller

  • Pencil



Wanting to make a dramatic change to the interior of your house?  Well, installing wallpaper in your house may be the improvement project for you.  With a little sweat and effort, such an installation can transform the inside look of your house in no time.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with sharp objects, such as a pair of scissors/shears, a carpenter's knife, make sure you take precautions.  When dealing with heights, such as with the use of a ladder, make sure you take precautions.  When dealing with chemicals, such as those found in wallpaper adhesives, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions. 

Installing wallpaper can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. Neatly lay down tarps underneath wherever you will be wetting your wallpaper strips and installing each strip.

  2. In installing wallpaper, you'll want to start out at the corner of a room, specifically at the very beginning of a wall that joins this corner:  With a yardstick, tape measure or ruler placed horizontally at the beginning of the wall, measure out the width of one sheet of wallpaper, minus a half an inch of the actual wallpaper width, and mark this wallpaper width--again, minus a half an inch of the actual width--on the wall with a pencil.

Then, with a carpenter's level or straightedge, draw a straight, vertical line through the aforementioned pencil mark, from the ceiling down to the floor.

Using the yardstick, ruler or a tape measure, measure the height of the wall, and with this obtained height measurement, consider and choose what part of the pattern of the wallpaper you want to start at the very beginning of this wall, and then, with this pattern arrangement in mind, cut the wallpaper strip to 4 inches longer than the length size of the wall measured previously.

  1. Take this cut-to-size wallpaper strip, loosely roll it up with the adhesive side on the outside of this rollup, and drench it in a paint tray (or longer water tray) full of water per the wallpaper manufacturer's instructions.  Alternatively, if the wallpaper and paste activator manufacturers' instructions permit, use a paint roller to wet the wallpaper strip with wallpaper paste activator instead of submerging the wallpaper in just water.  (In no case should you submerge a wallpaper strip in a paste activator, use a paint roller to carefully apply such a product.)

  2. Upon wetting the wallpaper strip in preparation of placing it on the wall, handle the wallpaper strip as so to bring it to the wall to be covered in a proper fashion:  As you remove the wallpaper form the water tray, using a table/desk for support, as may be necessary, have the finished side of the wallpaper strip resting on the table, fold the top 2/3 of the strip with the adhesive side this time on the inside and then fold the remaining 1/3 over itself, all without creasing any part of the wallpaper in the process.

Carefully carry this folded (though without creases) wallpaper strip to the wall where it will be installed:  When the wallpaper strip is brought to the wall, carefully unravel the top of the wallpaper strip so as to immediately set this portion of the wallpaper strip in place on the wall, using the pencil marking made previously as a guide and making sure that at least 2 inches of this strip overextend onto the ceiling.

While still holding onto the rest of the wallpaper strip, unravel the rest of it so as to carefully adhere the rest of it to the wall, again following the pencil marking made previously as a guide.

Examine this first installment of wallpaper, making sure that all of the wallpaper has been gently pressed down to adhere to the wall, and that any wallpaper adhesive that becomes visible is quickly wiped up with either a sponge or cloth/rag.

Caution:  In this process, you may have to use a ladder to install the top portions of wallpaper strips, etc.  Be careful, watch your step; read all product manufacturer instructions.

  1. Trim the first installment of wallpaper:  Using a wide drywall taping knife as a holder when placed against the wallpaper strip on the wall, cut the excess overlaps of the wallpaper at the top/ceiling and bottom/floor at a low angle with a carpenter's knife (with a really sharp blade).

  1. You are now ready to apply the other wallpaper strips alongside the first one above, installing each one separately on their own, one at a time, of course.  For the installation of each such additional wallpaper strip, generally follow the above steps 1-5.  Make sure that for each wallpaper strip that each is installed on the wall in alignment with the pattern of the previously installed wallpaper strip, and that the edges neighboring wallpaper strips only touch each other all as part of a making a neat seam; make sure the edges are flattened with the roll of a seam roller 20 minutes after the installation of each new wallpaper strip.  Repeat the above steps and take this step into consideration until all wallpaper strips have been successfully installed.

That's how to install wallpaper.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team



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