How to Get Wrinkles out of Wallpaper

A common problem encountered when installing wallpaper is the forming of bubbles or blisters. They can be removed by pushing the air out of them toward the open seam, but sometimes, the bubble folds on itself and creates a wrinkle. A wrinkle is not as easy to remove as a bubble because the issue isn’t just air under the paper; the wallpaper has been creased. Once the paper is dry it can only be repaired by cutting out the crease and patching it. Therefore, this issue needs to be resolved while the paper is still wet.

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There are some common causes of wrinkles in a wallpaper installation and we are going to discuss how to avoid them, and if discovered after the wallpaper has dried, how to remove them.

How Do Wrinkles Form in Wallpaper?

Improper Hanging Technique

Torque occurs when trying to match edges or patterns, usually after coming out of an unlevel inside corner. As you twist the paper to make the seams or pattern match, it will create a wrinkle or crease somewhere on the panel.

Insufficient Booking Time

When hanging paper using the “paste the paper” method, the panel gets folded back in half on itself for the purpose of allowing the adhesive to activate. This procedure is called “booking.” The normal time to leave the wallpaper booked is 3 – 5  minutes, but if the process is rushed you can end up with sections of the paper that will not adhere to the wall, and when you smooth the panel out, a crease or wrinkle may form.

Installing Over Old Paper or Uneven Wall Surface

Hanging wallpaper over a previously papered wall or a wall that has been improperly prepared are two scenarios that can lead to many issues with the finished job. If the old wallpaper is not sound and firmly attached to the wall, it will be impossible to guarantee that you will get proper adhesion on the new paper. Similarly, a wall that is not clean, dry, free of damage and properly primed can also leave parts of the wallpaper unable to stick to the wall. During the sweeping motion used to smooth the paper, wrinkles can be created.

Removing the Wrinkles While Hanging Wallpaper

Wrinkles Caused by Torque

If the wrinkle is caused by torque, there are a few things you can try to remove it:

  1. Add a little water to the paper with a spray bottle to make it  more flexible. This may allow you to match the pattern or seam and get the wrinkle out.
  2. Sometimes adding a little extra paste under the wrinkle acts to build up the wall and will fill up the space under the wrinkle.
  3. Line up the pattern or seam above and below the wrinkle and using a smoothing tool, try to remove the crease by slowly pushing the adhesive out of the wrinkled area. You will need to push gently so as not to remove all of the glue. Do not just sweep over the area with a smoothing tool. Start below the problem area and work the paste out by closing in on the wrinkle, not smoothing over it.
  4. Using a snap knife with a fresh blade, cut a line down the middle of the wrinkle. If the wrinkle is above your head, fold the lower part of the flap over the upper part so the seam doesn’t show. If the problem is below eye level, fold the upper flap over the lower.

Don’t Rush the Booking Period

You may be anxious to get the job done or you could be under some time constraints, but not allowing the adhesive to fully activate will create bigger issues that you will be forced to deal with. Make sure you’ve waited the recommended time period given in the instructions. If you find the wallpaper is not working properly, pull the panel back down and check for bare spots where the adhesive is missing. Re-coat those spots and book the panel again or apply the extra adhesive directly to the wall.

Ensure the Wall Surface Is Properly Prepared

Before you begin to hang the new wallpaper, fill all holes and dents with drywall mud, sand the area smooth, and go over the wall with a slightly dampened sponge or tack cloth to remove all dust and debris. Then, apply a quality wallpaper primer to the wall to provide maximum adhesion between the adhesive and the wallpaper.

Patching Wrinkled Wallpaper

One of the most disappointing aspects of a wallpaper project is finding mistakes weeks after you’ve finished the job. A wrinkle that has dried out cannot be fixed by any other method other than cutting it out and patching it.  Don’t fret, it’s easier than it sounds.  

Hopefully you’ve saved some of the wallpaper so you can make a patch for instances like this.

  1. Start by cutting out the wrinkle. Clean the wall below the cut making sure to remove any glue that remains. You may need a wallpaper remover to help with this.
  2. Sand down the area to provide a smooth clean surface to work with.
  3. Cut a repair piece at least 6 inches larger than the hole you need to cover and make sure that it is big enough to match the pattern around the repair.
  4. Apply a universal wallpaper paste over the area to be repaired.
  5. Match the pattern on the two pieces and make a double cut through the overlapped top piece.  Try to follow the pattern if possible to conceal the seam that will remain.
  6. Remove the excess pieces and you should be left with an almost invisible seam.

ROMAN Products: Helping Architects, Interior Designers, And Homeowners Realize Their Dreams

We know that hanging wallpaper isn’t just a matter of covering up wall space. For most, it’s the completion of a vision that will beautify their home or business and make it a more inviting and enjoyable place to be. Our Customer Service team is focused on that one goal — providing you with the products that make your design dreams come true. 

Reach out to us today for more information on which products to use and where to find them near you.