How to Prepare Wallpaper for Installation

Before you begin cutting paper for installation, be sure you have properly mapped out the room. By taking a moment to plan out the placement of your wallpaper throughout the entire room, you can ensure that you don’t run into difficult installation situations. If you are hanging wallpaper with a large pattern repeat and working from an odd an even roll, it’s useful to mark each wall section with a pencil.

Once all walls have been measured and mark, measure the height of your ceilings.  This determines how long each sheet of wallcovering should be. For an example wall that is 87-inches tall, we will need 87-inches of wallpaper, plus some extra for waste at the top and bottom of the wall. Adding 2-inches of excess paper at the top and bottom is usually sufficient, bringing our total length to 91-inches.

87-inch walls + 2-inch paper excess at top + 2-inches paper excess at bottom = 91 inches.

Cutting Wallpaper for Installation

When cutting your paper, find the design element that will be placed along the ceiling line. In the video example, the design is a small flower. Cut the wallpaper at the correct length, keeping the matching design element plus 2-inches for waste on the roll. Each subsequent piece of wallpaper should unfurl from the roll with the matching element at the top. If you are hanging a large repeat pattern and working with odd and even rolls, use a pencil to mark the back of the paper with “odd” or “even”. Once cut, rolls the wallpaper up and set the pieces aside until it’s time to apply adhesive.

Prep Tip

  • When trimming your paper, use a pencil to write “Top” on the back of each sheet. This can help prevent any mix-ups after you have pasted and booked your paper.

Pasting and Booking

Once all of your wallpaper has been cut, you can begin applying wallpaper adhesive. ROMAN has a wide assortment of wallpaper adhesives suited for variety wallcovering materials. For a quick breakdown of their differences, check out our article on Choosing the Best Wallpaper Paste. In most residential installations, PRO-880 Ultra Clear Strippable will be the best choice.

Before pasting your paper, check your hanging instructions to ensure you have paste-the-paper wallpaper. Unlike traditional wallpapers that are pasted and booked before hanging, some wallcoverings can be more easily installed using the paste-the-wall method.

To paste your paper, take a cut roll and unfurl it across a large table. Using a 3/8-inch nap paint roller, apply a thin, even coat of adhesive to the back of the paper. Start at the center and work towards the edges. Make sure to get enough paste applied at the seams. Once you have fully pasted the sheet, fold both ends of the paper, paste side in, to the middle of the strip. Be sure not to crease the folds.

This folding process is referred to as “booking”. Once the paper is booked, gently roll it up, and place it into a plastic bag with damp cloth to keep it from drying out. Most wallpapers will be booked for 3-5 minutes, though the wallpaper’s hanging instructions should have a recommendation for your particular paper. Booking allows the paper to absorb moisture from the paste and gives it a chance to expand off the wall. If it were installed immediately after pasting, the paper might expand on the wall, creating bubbles, wrinkles, or seam issues.