I have been looking at wallpaper patterns for a couple of rooms in our house for months, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on any of them for one main reason – almost all of the papers I liked came unpasted. To me, “unpasted” might as well have read “you cannot install this on your own and will have to hire a professional.” Unpasted seemed complicated and intimidating and, perhaps, easier to mess up.
Well, now that I have installed both pasted and unpasted paper, I can tell you that my assumptions were wrong. Not only that but I now prefer unpasted.
The upside to prepasted is that you don’t have to go through the extra step of applying the paste. The downside is that you don’t have any control over how much paste is on the paper and, in the case of that particular paper, it was a lot! I mean a lot, a lot. It was squeezing down the seams and running down the wall. My wallpaper sponge would be saturated with just one wipe and I was using towels to sop up the excess that was running down the baseboard and onto the floor. It was a mess.
Worth it, but a mess.
So, as we were preparing to hang the wallpaper in the guest room, I bought plastic dropcloths to protect the carpet and brought down towels and rags to deal with the inevitable mess. Well, I don’t think we had one drip of wallpaper paste. Since I could control the amount of glue, I applied a generous amount, but not so much that there would be an abundance of glue to squeeze out from under the paper and clean up.
My mom and I would cut the piece of paper to size, leaving about 2-4″ on the top and bottom to give us plenty of over-hang. We laid the paper flat on a plastic folding table, rolled on the glue with a 6″ microfiber roller…
…and then booked the paper (folded it in on itself like a book) and let it sit for 3 minutes. I learned that the amount of time you let the paper sit while booked depends on the paper, not the paste. So, read the instructions for the paper and the glue. The purpose of letting the paper sit is so the paste can “bloom”. It actually expands a bit. Booking the paper prevents the paste from drying out.
I didn’t apply quite enough wallpaper paste to the first piece, so we took it off the wall, applied more paste and booked it again. That’s probably not ideal, but it worked! I learned that I needed to apply a pretty generous amount of paste, so I could slide it around the wall better and it wouldn’t dry too quickly. I also learned I really need to slop it on the edges, so they would lay nice and flat against the wall.
We hung the wallpaper in half the room the first night and joked that it might all be on the floor when we woke up, but it wasn’t. The paste did its trick.
I think the key to hanging unpasted wallpaper, though, is having the right paste. I used two different kinds and one was awesome and the other one was just as you’d imagine wallpaper paste to be! I will share a comparison of the two in my next wallpapering post.
PS – The paper we’re hanging is Antigua Oak by Annie Selke.