The Right Stuff: Wallpapering Tools

Wallpaper by Roger Turner, Poet, May 2012

The room was dank and dreary
The past hung in the air
There was a scent of mildew
A smell of history was there
The paint was old and faded
With stains all dark and brown
The wallpaper too was dated
And it needed to come down

Have you hung wallpaper, yourself?

A wall? An entire room? Several rooms? Does even talking about wallpapering make you anxious?

I’ve yet to meet a homeowner who admits to taking on a wallpapering ‘honey-do’ job and enjoying it. It’s a challenge. If you’re not careful the seams show, or overlap. The pattern doesn’t line up. The strips appear to be different shades (did you forget to reverse each strip). It’s a slow process for the inexperienced and can rattle your nerves

Call me crazy, but I enjoyed it!

In our previous house, I wallpapered every room except a bedroom and baths, some more than a couple of times. Sounds crazy, but once the job got started, I found it therapeutic and I’m generally not a patient person. Wallpapering requires concentration and patience.

Like any job, if you don’t have the right tools, the work becomes more difficult. My father was a painter/paper hanger so I inherited enough of the proper tools and his instructions to help me succeed to a certain degree: a legitimate table, brushes, scissors, straight edge, roller, sponges and some razor blades. Razor blades are quickly consumed, one might do a sheet, maybe two sheets, so don’t be stingy on blades, they dull quickly.

Here’s a tip to help speed along the process. Paste several strips at a time, fold them, pasted side together, and put them aside in a plastic bag. No need to paste and hang one at a time. Those strips in the bag will stay moist for a long time, until you’re ready to use one.

Interestingly, the different layers of wallpaper can tell a story about a family’s growth and changing tastes. In a child’s room, the paper might go from whimsical to serious in a span of a few years as the youngster matures. While an adult might leave wallpaper behind completely as painted walls become the new norm.

One more suggestion, learn to ‘double cut’. Sometimes, you might want to use an extra piece of paper (scrap piece) to fit in a spot. Lay that piece over one that’s already in place, lining up the pattern as you do it. Then cut through both pieces, peel off the trimmed section of the top piece and, Eureka, the new seam will be perfect and you’ve economized a piece that was going to be scrapped.

Some frustration is bound to set in, so do remember to be patient. Sure, I made mistakes, but was always able to correct them. No one else would find them. Unless the ‘honey’ in ‘honey-do’ does a final inspection. In that case, remember this for the next redecorating chore.,.

…painting is more forgiving!

Steve (04/25/23)

To DIYers everywhere..,

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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

16 thoughts on “The Right Stuff: Wallpapering Tools”

    1. All our ‘after the job was done’ spats we had are behind us since we switched to ‘just paint the damn walls’ approach. But I actually enjoyed the process, not the prep, though. Thanks, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Steve! Still enjoying your musings 🙂 This one reminds me of REMOVING all the wallpaper in our house 8 years ago so we could sell it. That part was not fun. But I’m happy that wallpaper is coming back and can’t wait to get going on this house.
    It is so beautiful when finished, especially when done right!
    Again, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Linda, you made my day with your comment. And, yes, they are muses. And do I have a deal for you. Before I donate my papering brushes to Goodwill ( nobody else wants them) would you like them? I’m assuming that you’re doing the wallpapering yourselves. Or maybe you’re not. Let me know and I’ll deliver them to the store. In either case, keep reading my muses and commenting. It’s good for my ego😉


      1. Lol, yes you can assume I am doing the wallpaper myself (Dave abhors wallpapering AND painting, so am happy to oblige. His specialty is prepping.)

        And yes, I would love to have your wallpapering tools if they are still available! Thank you for the offer and also for the tips 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Great, Linda. This will also help me satisfy my wife and her constant reminders, “.we need to start decluttering”. I think I wrote a story about ‘decluttering’. I’ll get the brushes to the store. I’ll try tomorrow otherwise the week after next. Thanks, again. Have a great weekend.


      1. Hi Steve, I’ve never seen any wallpaper here. We do have pressed ceilings in some older houses and parquet floors but no wall paper. I’ve never seen it in a paint or hardware store either. I am attempting to draw a leopard. It is a labour of love.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never attempted wallpapering. My late husband enjoyed it, I think, though the truth was that at every home we bought the wallpaper looked so awful we stripped it off; revealing plaster work so dreadful the walls needed wallpapering to cover them up. When we moved to our current house all the walls were just painted and relatively smooth so my husband declared he was never wallpapering again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I stopped wallpapering at our last house and, like you, just have painted walls. I’ve repainted them all and am hoping my wife doesn’t get in the redecorating mood. I don’t think she will😁

      Liked by 1 person

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