Of course, this assumes you’re working under the following conditions:
- You’re installing on a tiny wall.
- With no corners.
- And no lightswitches.
- And your wall is PRECISELY two wallpaper widths wide, so you don’t even have to cut it.
- And your husband does most of the work for you.
So, obviously I’m in no position to make overarching statements, when the closet is my only experience wallpapering anything, but this was the one DIY job in a million that actually went easier than expected, so you might have to forgive my sudden, disproportionate wallpaper swagger.
If you haven’t been following along, we just redid my closet. This is what that back wall looked like before and after the wallpaper installation:
I want to marry it and have its babies.
That’s the Anthropologie Peony Wallpaper, btw.
By all accounts, that wall should not have turned out as well as it did. I’d been begging Andy for a few days to help me install the wallpaper, and finally one day the time had come! This conversation happened:
Andy: Are you ready to install the wallpaper tonight?
Me: YES! NOW! LET’S DO IT!
Andy: Do we have all the tools you need to install it? Everything prepped and ready?
Me: *Silent pause.* Tools?
Andy: You did all the research and you know how to install it, right?
Me: Oh. Uhhhh. Yes? I mean, I kinda know. I googled it once, so I have a pretty good understanding– No, I have no idea.
I couldn’t believe he still just started installing it with me, seemingly unconcerned that we had no idea what we were doing. This wallpaper came with a one-pager of instructions, which I didn’t even know existed until we were halfway done with the first wallpaper strip. (It was rolled up in the middle of the wallpaper roll, so it didn’t surface until later in the project.)
Here’s how it all went down. Our wallpaper is pre-pasted with something called SureStrip, which is supposed to make it easier to remove later too.
Step 1: Cut the first wallpaper strip
We measured the height of the wall and added four inches, then unrolled the wallpaper and cut it to that length with a pair of scissors.
Step 2: Soak it
We loosely rolled up the wallpaper with the pattern on the inside and submerged it in warm water for about a minute. It gets really slippery and gooey as the paste “activates” or whatever it does.
Then you fold the wallpaper strip over on itself. With some kinds of wallpaper, you’re supposed to let it set like that for a few minutes, but not with this kind. Just makes for easy transport back to the wall where you’re installing.
BRILLIANT BUSINESS IDEA! A calendar with photos of good-looking men happily installing floral wallpaper for you. *Swooning.* Somebody get on that.
Step 3: Slap it up on the wall.
Seriously. That’s what we did.
Then we just started smoothing it out with one of these (affiliate link) because it’s what we found scrounging in our garage. I hear you can use a sponge or other things, but you’re just trying to smooth it out and get all the bubbles out, so you have my permission to use whatever you can find nearby that’ll do the job.
We used the same little plastic spreaders to press the wallpaper into the corners and crease it at the ceiling and baseboards.
Step 4: Add next strip, repeat
This is where things got kind of dumb, I admit it. We measured the wall and it was 43 inches wide. We measured the wallpaper and each strip was 20.5 inches wide. So we would obviously need more than two strips to go the full width of the wall, right?
I don’t know how it happened – maybe the wallpaper stretched on the wall or something? – but it ended up taking exactly two strips to cover the wall, in some magical moment of inexplicable DIY awesomeness. (Andy and I both measured the wallpaper AND the wall, separately, and came to the same conclusions. It’s just a Christmas miracle.)
Anyway, so we only needed two strips. To cut the second strip, we had to match the patterns, so we held the wallpaper roll up to the first strip on the wall and cut it a little longer than we’d need. We wet it like the previous strip and hung it up, trying to match the patterns at the seam.
The wallpaper is actually pretty forgiving while it’s still wet. You can slide it and move it until it matches up perfectly at the seam. In this pic, the wallpaper on the left had been smoothed out and we were still matching seams with the one on the right and smoothing out the bubbles:
Step 5: Trim Edges
The easiest way we found to do this was to hold the little plastic spreader up against the ceiling or baseboard or edge, and run it alongside a razor blade to cut off the excess wallpaper.
I couldn’t believe how smooth and even the edges turned out!
For the record: This does not happen.
DIY projects do not go better than you expected. New projects you’ve never tried before do not happen in two hours with no instructions and no hiccups. This is not normal.
But I’ll take it!
Seriously: two hours, guys. The whole rest of that day (and for days since), I kept having to go back into the closet to look at the wallpaper some more, and pet it softly.
Have you ever installed wallpaper? Ever had a project go so smoothly and easily you think you it must be some kind of April Fools joke, but you’re totally okay with it?