Pasting and folding wallpaper

When pasting wallpaper it is important to stop the paste from getting on the table. Note that edges are only pasted when they overhang the table. Brush on the paste in a criss-cross ‘herringbone’ fashion, ensuring not only an even coverage but also that the edges receive plenty of paste. Work from the middle of the strip outwards.

When you have pasted about two-thirds of the strip, take the top edge in your fingers and thumbs and fold the strip down on itself. Make sure that the edges line up then slide the rest of the strip on to the table and paste it. Fold this back on itself as well, so that you are left with two folds – a large one at the top of the strip and a small one at the bottom of the strip.

If your strips of wallpaper are particularly large, you may find that you will have to increase the size of the bottom fold. Short strips need be folded only once.

Ready pasted paper must be soaked in water before hanging in order to activate the adhesive on the back. Having cut a strip to length and folded it to fit your water tray, immerse it for about a minute and move the tray to directly below the wall to be papered. You can then lift the strip straight out of the tray and on to the wall. Smooth and trim it as you would ordinary paper with the shears.

Hanging and trimming

Lift the folded strip off the pasting table, take the top edge in your fingers and thumbs and allow the top fold to drop. Lay the strip against the wall, in line with your chalk line at the side and with the crease making the trimming overlap at the top. Brush down the middle of the strip with the paperhanger’s brush and unfurl the bottom fold.

Next, lightly press down the edges to be trimmed. Mark off the waste by running along the creases with the back of your shears, then pull the edges away from the wall again.

Cut along each crease mark in turn, pressing the finished edges down as you go. Run over the finished job with the brush to remove air bubbles – working from the centre of the strip out towards the edges and using short, light, strokes.

Butt subsequent strips up against each other so the side edges touch, but do not overlap. Make sure that the pattern matches at the top of the wall before you start trimming, or you waste much paper.

Switches and sockets

First offer up the pasted strip in the normal way, lining it up with your plumbed line or an adjacent strip. Brush the top part of the strip down against the wall to hold it in place, but leave the rest of the paper hanging freely over the obstruction.

Now press the strip lightly over the obstruction so that its outline is left indented on the paper. Pull the strip out from the wall again and pierce it with the shears, roughly in the middle of the indentations. Gently snip out to the four corners of the indented mark so you are left with four triangular flaps.

In the case of a round switch, pierce the centre of the circle and make several radial cuts out towards the edge. Trim the flaps away with a sharp knife, wiping off excess paste as you go.

Papering around corners

When you come to an internal corner, follow the rule of papering in with one piece and out again with another. As you paper in allow about 25mm overlap and crease the paper into the corner with the back of the shears. If you have any doubts, treat the corner as you would an internal one.

Paper up to it with your first piece, allow an overlap of 25mm and fold this around corner. Having plumbed a fresh line, hang your second strip, again allowing about 25mm over the corner for trimming. Make sure that the second strip is firmly stuck to the overlap of the first, then trim it flush with the edge of the corner.

Whenever you paper out, plumb a fresh line on the adjoining wall first. As you hang the paper, align it with the plumbed line and make sure it goes well into the corner to cover the overlap on the previous strip.

Folding paper around an external corner will only be possible if the corner is vertical and cleanly finished.

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