A Wallpapering Adventure

finished objects

We have lived in our apartment for 2 years, and I was pining to put up wallpaper since moving in. After browsing wallpaper for months, I found the perfect print: colorful gold-ink-outlined wildflowers on a black ground. When it arrived, I was too scared to install it: I was afraid of how hard it would be to install, and I didn’t want to regret the placement. I talked to some friends who have wallpapered before and heard mixed recommendations about whether or not to put it up myself. Over a year later, I finally did it.

I contemplated hanging the paper in different parts of our apartment, and I finally settled on behind the tv, wrapping around to the hallway because it has so few “obstacles” to overcome and you can see it from multiple vantage points. I love it.

Supplies

I took the recommendations of Hygge and West to heart and got their recommended wallpaper paste and supplies. Even though I read over and over that you need to change the knife blade frequently I still didn’t change it enough and it ripped the paper. I went back in with some matte black tempra paint to cover up the rip marks.

How I put it up

The wallpaper I used is “half drop” which means the pattern repeat does not match at the same point, it matches halfway down the repeat. I cant imagine how challenging it is to design the patterns this way!!! I created a Figma mockup to get a sense of how much wallpaper I needed. Each rectangle is one repeat.

The thing I found most surprising about putting up wallpaper is how much you can “MANHANDLE” it. There is a 10 minute period while you’re putting it up that you can pull it back off the wall rather aggressively to reset it. I put this up in 3 2-hour sessions and I was covered in paste by the time I was finished with each session. The paste is a very off-putting consistency and it is extremely sticky (not surprising!).

the wallpaper paste mid-spread. i slapped some on with the putty knife and spread it around with the paint roller.
after you paste up the back of the paper, you bookend and let it sit for 5 minutes to soak in before proceeding to put it up. This is a pretty bad bookend, it should not have those wrinkles, but this was my first piece.
behind-the-tv situation.

Resources

In addition to following Hygge and West’s instructions, I watched many youtube videos before diving in to this project. Here are some videos I found particularly helpful to watch.

I found this man’s technique very helpful for wrapping the paper around the external corners. I did NOT use heat as he insists, but I emulated his smoothing tool technique and embraced his advice to use a narrow overlap to the new edge. I had one corner that had a large overlap and it was very challenging to complete the turn. I am not sure what you are supposed to do when you face these situations because you want as few seams as possible. So I just dealt with the scenarios as I came to them.

I had one visible outlet to deal with (there were more behind the TV but you can’t see them!), and I decided I wanted to pattern match it. This video was really helpful to watch. Instead of spray adhesive, I used paste.

Overall, a very successful and satisfying home project!

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