How to wallpaper easily and quickly

Hanging paper or vinyl wall coverings

To determine how many rolls a room will need, add together the widths of its walls in feet and multiply by its height. Divide by 30- the average usable square feet in a roll. Add a roll for good measure. Subtract a half roll for each normal-size window and door. Buy compatible paste and a paste brush-or a water box for prepasted paper. You also need gluelike size for precoating walls, aplumb bob, chalk-line, smoothing brush, seam roller. and craft knife with extra blades or a box of single-edge razor blades. Devise a worktable: plywood on sawhorses or a table covered with plastic.

Preparing the walls

Walls should be clean, smooth, and sound. Use an alkyd primer-sealer or a latex acrylic primer to cover repairs, new walls, or a regular latex finish. Sand glossy enamel or rub on liquid deglosser. Remove peeling wallpaper, more than two old layers, and vinyl or other paper that strips off easily. Before hanging vinyl, remove old paper. Paint the ceiling and trim. Coat the walls with size, as directed.

Planning the strips’ positions

A pattern mismatch will occur at the edge of the last strip you hang. Plan for it to fall along a door’s edge, an inconspicuous corner, or a floor-to-ceiling built-in. Normally you start at this point and work around the room. But with a strong, symmetrical design, center the first strip over a fireplace or a sofa or between windows.

Putting up the first strip

Measure out from your ending point a wallpaper width minus 1/2 inch; mark a plumbed challdine. Fora centered strip, mark a line half a wallpaper width from center.

Cut the first strip with 3 inches trim allowance at top and bottom; make rough cuts with scissors. Coat the upper two-thirds with paste and fold it over itself, paste side in. Be careful not to crease it. Coat the lower third; fold it up. Wait 5 minutes.

Open the top fold, align its edge on the challdine, and smooth it on with your brush. Then unfold and smooth the lower part. Smooth from the center out to remove all wrinkles and air pockets. Wrap the’/2-inch excess onto the adjacent wall; trim it off along a built-in or door frame. Trim the strip at top and bottom. Make all visible cuts with a craft knife or razor guided by a metal ruler; change blades often.

Hang prepasted paper directly from the water box. Roll up the strip from bottom to top, pattern side in. Weight the roll in the box with water to cover. Let it soak as directed. Then pull it straight up and onto the wall.

Making seams; matching patterns

Cut and hang the remaining strips on the wall. Align each along the previous strip’s edge. Push it against the edge slightly so that the two form a slight ridge; it will flatten as the paper dries. After 10 minutes, press the strip’s pattern against the previous strip. With a drop match pattern-one that aligns diagonally-it may reduce wastage to cut strips alternately from two rolls.

Turning a corner

Measure from the last whole strip to the corner at three points. Cut and hang a strip 1/2 inch wider than your widest measurement. On the other wall, measure out the width of the leftover p iece ; mark a plumbed chalkline.

Align the piece on the line; lap the seam at the corner; the mismatch won’t be noticeable. Glue the lapped vinyl edges with vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive.

On outward-projecting corners, cut the first piece to go around the corner 1 inch. Then plumb and hang the other piece ‘/2 inch from the corner.

At a door or a window, paste the strip over the frame. Make a diagonal relief cut to each corner. Then trim.

On a window’s second side, make the relief cuts as you work down the strip, smoothing and aligning it. At an electric outlet, turn off the power and remove the wall plate. Paper over the box, making a small X cut over it. Then trim.