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Installing the First Strip of Wallpaper

First strip of wallpaper should be perfectly straight and aligned with a plumb line.Auremar / Shutterstock.com

First strip of wallpaper should be perfectly straight and aligned with a plumb line.

Before hanging the first strip, make sure the wall is well prepared and you have drawn your plumb line. When you’ve finished hanging it, wipe any excess paste off the surface of the strip.

Position the strip.

1Position the strip

Unroll the first booked strip. Hold the strip by its upper corners and slowly unfold just the top portion. Allow the rest of the strip to drop down. Place the strip against the wall so that the top overlaps the ceiling line by about 2 inches and the edge is close to but not on the plumb line. Then, at the ceiling line, press the strip to the wall so it won’t fall.


Adjust to the plumb line.

2Adjust to the plumb line

Adjust the side edge so that it is perfectly parallel to the plumb line, taking care not to stretch the paper. If necessary, adjust the top corners so the paper hangs without wrinkles.


Smooth the paper.

3Smooth the paper

Smooth the top portion of the strip with a wallpaper smoother in the sequence shown.


Smooth at the ceiling line.




4Smooth at the ceiling line

Smooth the paper tightly where the wall and ceiling meet with a wallpaper smoother, sponge, or seam roller. If you use the latter, apply only gentle pressure; too firm a touch will squeeze adhesive from the seam.


Place the rest of the strip.

5Place the rest of the strip

Unfold the bottom portion of the strip and align and smooth it as you did the top portion.


Flatten the seam.

6Flatten the seam

When the entire seam is straight and smooth, run a smoother, sponge, or seam roller along any edge that will not meet another strip.


Remove the excess paper.

7Remove the excess paper

Trim the ceiling and baseboard edges with a razor or utility knife, keeping a broad knife between the blade and the wallpaper to ensure a straight cut and to protect the paper. For smooth cuts, don’t pick up the knife blade; leave it in contact with the paper as you move the broad knife. Never move both tools at the same time. Be sure to change blades in the utility knife frequently.


Sponge clean.

8Sponge clean

Wipe excess adhesive off the wallpaper, ceiling, and baseboard with a clean, damp sponge. Rinse the sponge often, and clean it thoroughly after hanging each strip.

NEXT SEE: Hanging the Next Wallpaper Strips

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