Wallpapering Ceilings and Difficult Areas
Papering a Ceiling
The basic method is the same as that for papering walls. Work away from the light, marking a line across the ceiling the width of the paper, less 1cm/1/2in for overlap. Cut a length of paper, allowing 10cm/4in excess (5cm/2in at each end). Paste and loop the paper into accordion-like folds. Position the paper according to the line and brush down from one end, supporting the folds with a roll of wallpaper. Score and trim overlaps.
Papering a ceiling is very difficult for a beginner working alone. It is far better to get a helper to support the paper while you work.
Papering Around a Switch
Partially unscrew the switch plate and pull away from the wall. Trim off excess paper, leaving 3-4mm/1/8in to brush behind the plate. Screw the plate back in place and restore electricity.
To paper around a circular switch make star-shaped cuts out to the edge of the switch, score around the edge and trim off the surplus paper. This method can also be used to paper around ceiling roses (medallions).
Try to catch bubbles early on by looking sideways at each length before positioning the next piece. Peel the paper back to the bubble and brush out. If the paste has dried, use a sharp knife to cut a cross through the bubble. Peel back the four flaps and paste.
Papering an Archway
Paper the facing wall first, allowing an extra 2.5cm/1in of paper around the inside of the arch. Cut v-shaped pieces out of this hem so that you are left with a ‘saw-tooth’ effect. Turn in the ‘teeth’ so that they lie flat on the inside of the arch. Then measure the width of the arch and cut two lengths of paper, one to run up each side so that they meet at the centre top.
Always turn the electricity off at the mains (or fusebox) before unscrewing light switches or sockets (outlets). Never brush metallic or foil wallcoverings behind switches or sockets.
Fitting Around a Fireplace
Cut off excess paper. Make a diagonal cut to the corner and score a line along the top. Snip into the paper to fit around mouldings. Peel back the paper and cut along the scored lines.
Patching Damaged Paper
Tear off the damaged paper, ensuring that the paper left around the hole is firmly stuck down. Select a piece of matching paper; if the paper has a pattern, hold it over the hole and adjust its position until the pattern fits into place. Tear a patch roughly to size, and peel off a narrow 3mm / 1/10in strip from the back around the edges. Paste in place, aligning the pattern.
Borders and Friezes
Borders and friezes can be applied to any sound surface (not over heavily embossed paper). Use a pencil line as a guide for position and cut a length of border to fit across the entire length of wall. Paste the border and loop it up so that it is easier for you to position correctly. Brush out, letting out the loops as you work along.
Corners — for example, around a door or window frame — should be mitred. Paste the borders in place, overlapping the ends where they meet, and then draw a diagonal line across the corner, using a straightedge. Cut along the line, through both layers, using a sharp knife. Remove the excess pieces and smooth the others back into place.
* Mark the exact position ofholes by inserting a matchstick or toothpick in each, leaving 0.5cm/1/4in protruding. This will pierce the paper as it is brushed on.
Wallpapers with definite patterns are either ‘straight’ (aligned horizontally) or ‘drop’ (aligned diagonally). Because lengths of paper are laid side by side across the wall (butt-jointed) and not overlapped, the patterns must match along each length of paper.
Cut the first length of paper about 10cm/4in longer than the depth of the wall; this allows a margin of 5cm/2in at both top and bottom for trimming. Before cutting the second length, match the pattern with the first, again allowing a 10cm/4in excess. Number each length consecutively as it is cut and mark which end is the top.
To avoid wastage when cutting ‘drop’ patterns, it may be necessary to cut alternately from two rolls at once. Even so, wastage is unavoidable.
You can create your own wallpaper by using thick writing paper, marbled paper or even photocopies of interesting prints to line a wall. This is best attempted on a small area and the surface should be sealed with a coat of polyurethane (which will yellow with age). An alternative is to stencil your own design on plain wallpaper and seal.
If the paper has a large pattern, it should be centred on a focal point, such as a chimney breast, or on a wall which is the focus of attention in the room.
From the starting point, work in sequence around the room. Whichever way you go, plan to finish in the least important corner or at a doorway, since it will almost certainly be impossible to match the pattern on the last length. If your wallpaper has a large pattern, ensure that the first length features a complete motif near the top of the wall so that broken motifs are near the floor.