One room challenge week 4 started off with some awesome “paste the wall” wallpaper hanging and an equally spectacular melt down on my part.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 1: Telekinetically attempt to get the wallpaper to jump on the wall itself.
Initially when I ordered the wallpaper, I had plans of telling you how I opened the paper, it practically hung itself and then little cartoon birds fluttered around my head singing and heralding me the queen of DIY. Sadly, it didn’t happen that way and not because of the wallpaper.
The real story starts off with a common theme for me, fatigue and procrastination…
I just finished the mid-century buffet (MCD Buffet week 3) and the next project on the list was “hang the wallpaper”.
This is when it occurred to me that while I’ve removed a lot of wall paper over the years, I’ve never put it up.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 2: Build up a healthy dose of unnecessary fear.
I stared at the 11-foot wall before me and 3 cellophane wrapped rolls of “paste the wall” wallpaper wondering “what in the heck is “paste the wall” wallpaper?” and “how many mistakes can I make before I run out of this stuff?”.
While I calculated the mistake : productively ratio in my head, I also remembered the incredibly heavy ladder I would need to get back out to reach the top of the wall.
I’m not afraid of standing on the ladder, I just hate maneuvering it around because it weighs a TON. (like get out the forklift TON)
I don’t own a forklift but I did consider mounting the thing on a couple of Roombas and have it glide around the room.
You’re right, that could be a disaster but it could be pretty funny too. Either way, I recently wrestled this beast when I painted the walls and ceiling and wasn’t looking forward to doing it again.
With the Roomba option off the table I began to daydream about skipping the project all together, turning on the afternoon soaps and heading to the couch can of Tab in hand.
Of course, I didn’t because this isn’t the 70’s and I don’t watch soaps. Plus, Tab soda tastes like battery acid.
I’m a modern women so I did the next best thing…pulled out my phone and browsed Facebook.
(Those games aren’t going to play themselves people, I’m needed!)
Hanging Wallpaper Step 3: Do anything but actually hang wallpaper.
On Facebook I saw an image of a gorgeous South Carolina egret and I thought, “I MUST paint him!!” I had about an hour to spare so I ran to the basement and grabbed a canvas. Of course, I didn’t get very far, the painting was set aside and I went back to work in the room but not on the wallpaper. It was later that evening when my family went to bed, I got out the painting and painted into the night.
He is not finished as you can see from the above photo but the good news is, when he is done I think I’ll be able to use him in the room. The bad news was, after staying up all night I was exhausted and I still needed to get the wallpaper up.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 4: Get a grip and gather the supplies
The following day, my fear of standing on a tall ladder being clobbered by giant sheets of wallpaper was over powered by my fear of not completing the room on time so I forced myself to start.
I gathered my supplies:
Wallpaper ( I ordered mine from Walls Republic)
Ladder (Hopefully your ladder isn’t filled with lead and weighs a million pounds like mine.)
Level ruler or Plumb Line
Wide Paint Brush (to spread the paste)
Flexible Smoothing Wallpaper Tool (this was super helpful)
Sharp Utility Knife (make sure its super sharp or it will be tough to slice through damp paper)
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Also, don’t forget to clean and fix any wall flaws before you start. Because I’d already patched and fixed any flaws when I recently painted, my walls were a clean and smooth surface ready for wallpaper.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 5: Create the perfect perpendicular line or face impending doom.
I’d been told the first order of business when hanging wallpaper is to establish a perfectly perpendicular line on the wall. This will be the guide to hang the first sheet of wallpaper and if the line is off it will throw off all the other sheets.
I didn’t have a plumb line so I used a long ruler with the bubble levels in it and drew a pencil line on the wall.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 6: Measure, cut and slap some glue on the wall. (but not the whole wall)
The next step was to measure and cut the first sheet a inch or two bigger than needed. I had to be carful to compensate for the angle of the ceiling and make sure I didn’t cut the sheet too short. (For the following sheets you will need to line up the pattern to the previous sheet then cut the length.)
This wallpaper is “paste the wall” wallpaper. Traditional wallpaper expanded when wet so it had to be soaked first. Paste the wall wallpaper is made to be hung dry.
Brush on a healthy layer of wallpaper glue in the area where the single sheet of paper will go. You don’t want so much glue that it’s lumpy and oozes under the paper but enough to fully cover and not dry too quick. (My wall was so tall that sometimes when I got to the bottom the glue had begun to dry and I needed to add a little more glue. It was a bit of a pain but not a big deal.)
Now I was ready to hang my first sheet. I climbed the ladder and awkwardly tried to keep the long sheet of wallpaper from folding, tearing or prematurely sticking to the glue on the way up. This proved to be a bit more difficult than I had hoped and the previous nights exhaustion was not my friend.
Frustration was setting in quick.
The first sheet was so long and heavy, It didn’t stay in place at the top. I would get it to stick and start moving down the ladder to line up the rest of the sheet and the top would come down on my head. After several attempts, I still had no luck.
I wanted to cry.
I didn’t and instead chose to yell all around the house frantically for my kids (and AT my kids) to come give me a hand. They of course didn’t see what the big deal was and took their sweet time which made me even more frazzled.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 7: Don’t forget the optional life line: phone a friend.
By this time, not only was I desperately trying to get the sheet to stick to the wall long enough to move it into place, my tools were dropping off the top of the ladder to the floor.
This wallpaper project was going south quick and I was heading into a full out melt down.
I wanted to scream but instead I repeated to myself “I hate wallpaper” 500,000 times. (I actually love wallpaper but in the moment it made me feel slightly better.)
Fortunately, I had phoned my mom earlier and she decided to come by to see if she could help. It was a good thing too because I was losing it y’all. It turns out all I needed was a extra set of hands to hold the paper at the bottom while I lined up the top. Once I was able to get the top secure the rest of the sheet fell into place.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 8: Remember Step 5.
I did have one more problem. The wallpaper was not lining up quite right. We hung two more sheets and struggled. We couldn’t figure out why the paper was not lining up correctly.
I went back and rechecked my starting line. That is when I realized that while my line was perfectly straight, the wallpaper was not exactly on the line. We had to pull the paper off and start over. Fortunately we hadn’t gotten very far before we caught on.
Once that mistake was corrected the following sheets lined up easily.
The pattern on this brick wallpaper is really detailed so it was a challenge to find the repeat at first. However, once we got a feel for it, lining it up got easier and easier.
The smoothing tools were a huge help to get the bubbles out and smooth the paper into place. I’m really glad I had them on hand.
Hanging Wallpaper Step 9: Trim and do a victory dance! (Don’t worry no one will see you because if you wallpaper like me, your family has already gone into hiding)
Once each sheet was securely in place and the seams perfectly lined up, I used a straight edge to trim the excess. I used a new utility knife because the blade needs to be super sharp to cut through the damp paper.
Outlets are easy too, just hang the paper over the outlet and go back and cut out the hole.
Once we got past the learning curve of the first two sheets, the wallpaper process got easier and easier. I would totally do it again.
(Sorry Honey, I know I said never again but I lied; I’m totally doing it again.)
I’m in LOVE with how realistic this wallpaper is and how great it looks on the wall.
Now I’m off to work on trimming out the windows in the room.
You may also like my previous One Room Challenge Makeovers….
Don’t forget to check out the other One Room Challenge participants! (Week 4)
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