Paste the Wall Wallpaper Installation Tips and Tricks

Wallpaper can transform the look and feel of a room, adding depth, texture, and personality. While peel and stick wallpapers have gained popularity for their ease of use, paste-the-wall wallpapers offer a unique canvas-like texture that many homeowners desire. I have never installed wallpaper where I apply paste to the wall. I have installed tons of peel and stick wallpaper that I find really easy to work with. I used an oversized magnolia pattern in my parents laundry room, and a whimsical woodland wallpaper to add a ton of character to my daughter’s closet nursery.

My friend wanted me to install a wall mural in her dining room, and she chose paste the wall wallpaper because of the canvas like texture.  As you can see, it’s a blank space (asides from the board and batten feature). She said that even her guests don’t want to sit here. With this wallpaper, we are going to make this the most admired spot in her home!

Blank dining room transformation with paste the wall wallpaper

If you’re new to working with paste-the-wall wallpaper, fear not! In this guide, we’ll share valuable insights and tips to ensure your installation process goes smoothly and the end result is nothing short of stunning. Here are my tips of what I learned while installing this wall mural

Before diving into the wallpaper installation, here’s some commonly asked questions I got:

Do you need special paste for paste the wall wallpaper?

Yes, You need special paste for paste the wall wallpaper. You cannot use glue or adhesive that is meant to be rolled on to the wallpaper. I used 2 wallpaper pastes, and highly recommend this wallpaper paste

paste the wall wallpaper application

How do you know if wallpaper is paste the wall?

There are different types of wallpaper. Look carefully at the listing or the packaging. It’s easy to get confused between pre-pasted wallpaper and paste the wall wallpaper. Pre-pasted wallpaper is usually water activated. Most sellers also have a website with more information that you can reach out to

Can I apply wallpaper paste directly to the wall?

Yes! If you’re using paste the wall wallpaper, pasting the wall is what you’re supposed to do!

Read on for my tips. Let’s get started with installing Paste the Wall Wallpaper. Here is the link to this stunning wall mural! If you prefer to watch videos, check out my YouTube video below:

1. Prep your walls

I know this seems strange, but grab your swiffer and make sure the walls are clan of dust and debris. Any large holes should be patched. A clean surface will ensure the wallpaper and glue have better adhesion.

2. Use a Laser Level for Precise Seams

Maintaining straight and even seams is essential for a polished look. To achieve this, invest in a laser level. This tool will help you align the wallpaper precisely, ensuring that seams remain straight as you apply the paper to the wall.

Before hanging the wallpaper panel, set up the laser level. I like to get on the ladder and check to see how the wallpaper will fall before applying any paste to the wall. It gives me an idea of how to work with the wallpaper.

3. Apply a Generous amount of Wallpaper Paste to the Wall

One of the most crucial aspects of working with paste-the-wall wallpaper is the adhesive application. Unlike peel and stick wallpapers, where the adhesive is pre-applied, paste-the-wall wallpapers require manual application of wallpaper paste. To ensure adhesion, be liberal with the amount of paste you apply. A roller can be used to evenly distribute the paste on the wall. This step is vital to prevent the wallpaper from falling down or not adhering properly.

If you don’t apply enough paste, the wallpaper will peel off the wall, as you can see in the picture below

how to apply paste the wall wallpaper

I also used a paint brush to apply the wallpaper paste at the top and bottom of the wall. It’s important to get good adhesion on these edges otherwise they will lift off. I found it was hard to get into all the corners with a roller. 

4. Apply Paste to the Wall, Not the Paper

Precision is key when it comes to applying paste. Focus on applying the paste directly to the wall, especially around edges and corners. This prevents excess paste from sticking to areas where it’s not needed, such as baseboards or door frames. When you later trim the excess wallpaper, you’ll have a much easier time achieving clean and precise edges.

paste the wall wallpaper glue
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on

5. Work quickly, in small sections

I started off by applying the paste to the entire vertical section I was wallpapering. This was a mistake. By the time I got to the bottom half, the wallpaper paste was dry, and I was applying the paste again! Instead, start by applying paste to only the top ⅓, and then as you move down the wallpaper, apply more paste underneath, then unroll more of your paper. This is a lot easier with 2 people, but if you have a ladder that has a tray, you can do this alone too!  Working in ⅓ sections was easiest and fastest for me.

6. Trim Excess Wallpaper After Drying

Allow the wallpaper to dry completely before trimming any excess material. Damp wallpaper is prone to tearing and might result in uneven, jagged edges. By waiting until the wallpaper is fully dry, you can achieve crisp, clean cuts for a professional-looking finish.

Use a utility knife with a sharp blade. I like to use a fresh blade. Then use a straight edge like a ruler to run my knife along to get a clean cut.

how to trim paste the wall wallpaper

7. Ensure Perfect Seams Without Overlapping the Wallpaper

Unlike some wallpapers that require overlapping seams, paste-the-wall wallpapers are meant to be installed edge-to-edge. Overlapping can create unwanted ridges and compromise the overall aesthetic. Pay careful attention to aligning the seams perfectly, creating a seamless and harmonious appearance across the wall. The wallpaper paste doesn’t stick that well to the wallpaper and you also get a ridge. Try to get the seams to line up on the wall. 

8. Choose the Right Wallpaper Paste

Not all wallpaper pastes are created equal. Experiment with different brands to find one that offers optimal adhesion for your paste-the-wall wallpaper. Some pastes may work better with certain textures and materials. As an experienced DIYer, switching to this brand of wallpaper paste can significantly improve the installation process.

9. It’s normal to see some edges lifting up

If you notice any edges lifting after installation, don’t panic. Use a small craft brush to apply additional wallpaper paste to those areas. This simple step can ensure that your wallpaper remains securely in place over time.

10. Wipe up excess paste immediately

Working with the paste can be messy. If it’s on the rollers, it may get on your hands and on the wallpaper too. Keep a damp sponge and paper towels nearby. Wipe up excess paste immediately. Take the time to look at the seams to make sure any paste doesn’t bubble over the edges when you’re matching up the different panels of wallpaper. The paste leaves a yellowish residue behind.

11. How to wallpaper around outlets, and light switches

It can be really tricky to make a clean cut around an outlet. These cuts take the longest. Be patient. Remove the outlet cover and turn off the power supply.I apply the wallpaper from the top, and roll it down in ⅓ increments (and paste as I go). When I reach an outlet, I do not stick the wallpaper below that point. First, try to smooth it out as best as you can. Using sharp scissors, make a small x in the middle of the wallpaper on top of the outlet.

This part is more of an art than a science. Using both the utility knife and scissors, slowly start to make the hole bigger. Once it fits around the switch or outlet, leave the wallpaper a bit small. Then when you place the outlet cover back on top, you won’t see the excess wallpaper since the plate will cover it.

how to cut around outlets with paste the wall wallpaper

12. How to wallpaper around doors and windows

I begin by applying wallpaper paste to the top 1/3 of the wall. Then, hanging the top section of the wallpaper. Then I trim the wallpaper with scissors so that there 3″ excess. An easy way to judge the amount to keep is enough to cover the window or door frame.

how to cut around windows with paste the wall wallpaper

Once it’s trimmed, I apply paste to the wall and press the wallpaper. I continue until the wallpaper panel is stuck to the wall. Then, after the wallpaper is dry, I trim the excess off.

13. Begin in an Inconspicuous Corner

When starting your paste-the-wall wallpaper installation, opt for an inconspicuous corner of the room that is not immediately visible upon entering. This approach allows you to perfect your technique before tackling more prominent areas, ensuring a seamless and professional result.

If you’re working with a mural or a wallpaper design that requires precise alignment, communicate with the seller about your room’s measurements. Some sellers can provide customized sizing to ensure a seamless match. However, be aware that not all designs will perfectly align, and it’s essential to set realistic expectations to avoid disappointment.

I know some of you love this wallpaper and it’s in purchasing it. The only thing to note, is that the seller asked for my exact measurements of the room. But, the wallpaper does not line up seamlessly. I expected it to have a seamless match but it didn’t. When I reached out to the Etsy seller to rectify the issue, she said that there was no way for the wallpaper to line up. I wish she had warned me or put it in her posting in advance so that I would’ve picked the most inconspicuous corner of the room to start in. Instead, I started on the focal wall. When you walk into the room, the first thing you see is that the seem does not match up on two adjacent walls. It’s not that obvious, but this mistake could be easily avoided.

Tree mural

The Reveal of this Gorgeous Wall Mural

Like any project, there was a learning curve when I started this paste-the-wall wallpaper application. I love how it elevates this room and adds so much life to this space. The before of this space was a large dining room with a white board and batten, but it lacked character.

This wallpaper application can be done in a weekend! It’s a beginner friendly project with no tools!

reveal of paste the wall wallpaper
beautiful paste the wall wallpaper

My friend also swapped out the light and got a new rug. She put the final touches on the room and it’s gorgeous.

dining room makeover with paste the wall wallpaper

My Thoughts on Using Paste-the-wall wallpaper

 In conclusion, working with paste-the-wall wallpaper may present a learning curve, but with the right approach and these valuable tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a flawless and visually stunning result. From generously applying wallpaper paste to ensuring straight seams, each step contributes to the overall success of your installation. Embrace the process, exercise patience, and revel in the transformation of your space. With these insights in mind, you’re ready to tackle your next paste-the-wall wallpaper project with confidence and skill.

I know a lot of people say that paste the wall wallpaper is the easiest type of wallpaper. In my experience, working with 6 peel and stick wallpaper room makeovers, I am a huge fan of peel and stick. There is no mess, it can be adjusted easily, and the edges never peel off. Here’s my favorite places to buy peel and stick wallpaper. Even the wallpaper I’ve had for 5 years is still like the day I applied it. If you’re convinced peel and stick wallpaper is for you, check out my top tips on how to install peel and stick wallpaper.

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