How to Paper a Ceiling
Papering a Ceiling
Papering a ceiling isn’t as difficult as you may think: the techniques are basically the same as for papering a wall, except that the strips of paper are usually longer and more unwieldy to hold while you brush them into place.
Set up a strong, secure work platform — it’s virtually impossible to work from a single stepladder —and enlist a helper to support the folded paper while you position one end and progress backwards across the room. If you have marked out the ceiling first, the result should be faultless.
- Craft knife
- Paperhanger’s brush
- Paste brush
- Pasting table
- Seam roller
- Tape measure
Marking out the ceiling
If possible, construct a work platform that spans the width of the room. The best type of platform to use is a purpose-made decorator’s trestle, but you can manage with a pair of scaffold boards spanning two stepladders.
Now mark the ceiling to give a visual guide to positioning the strips of paper. Ideally, aim to work parallel with the window and away from the light, so you can see what you are doing and so that the light will not highlight the seams between strips. However, if the distance is shorter the other way, you may find it easier hang the strips in that direction.
Mark a guide line along the ceiling, one roll width minus 12mm (1/2in) from the side wall, so that the first strip of paper will lap onto the wall.
Putting Up the Paper
Paste the paper and fold it concertina-fashion. Drape the folded length over a spare roll and carry it to the work platform. You will find it easier if a helper supports the folded paper, leaving both your hands free for brushing it into place.
Hold the strip against the guide line, using a paperhanger’s brush to stroke it onto the ceiling. Tap it into the wall angle, then gradually work backwards along the scaffold board, brushing on the paper as your helper unfolds it.
If the ceiling has a cornice, crease and trim the paper at the ends. Otherwise, allow the ceiling paper to lap the walls by 12mm (1/2in) so that it will be covered by the wall-covering. Work across the ceiling in the same way; butting the lengths of paper together. Cut the final strip roughly to width, and trim into the wall angle.
Supporting pasted paper
If you have to work from a stepladder, you are best to ask a friend to help you so that they can support the remaining paper on a cardboard tube taped to a broom.
Cutting around a pendant light
Where the paper passes over a ceiling rose, cut several triangular flaps so you can pass the light fitting through the hole. Tap the paper all round the rose with a paperhanger’s brush and continue on to the end of the length. Return to the rose and cut off the flaps with a knife.
Papering around a centrepiece
If your ceiling has a decorative plaster centrepiece, work out the position of the strips of paper so that one of the seams will pass through the middle. If you cut long flaps from the side of each strip, you can tuck the paper in all round the plaster moulding and cut the flaps off later.