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The wallpaper situation: this is not normal.

Whoever said wallpaper is hard to install lied.

BOOM! Yeah, I said it.

Of course, this assumes you’re working under the following conditions:

  1. You’re installing on a tiny wall.
  2. With no corners.
  3. And no lightswitches.
  4. And your wall is PRECISELY two wallpaper widths wide, so you don’t even have to cut it.
  5. 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:
Unpainted_back_wallCloset with wallpaper
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.
How to cut and install wallpaper

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.
Rolling up wallpaper strip to install

I realize these are the same pajama pants I wore in this post as well. I don’t want you to think all I wear are these pajama pants. I have other pairs too.

Submerging wallpaper in water to install it
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.
Installing Anthropologie Wallpaper
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.
How to install wallpaper
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.
Smoothing out wallpaper bubbles
We used the same little plastic spreaders to press the wallpaper into the corners and crease it at the ceiling and baseboards.
How to wallpaper corners

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?

Wrong.

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.
Hanging strips of wallpaper
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:
Wallpaper Seam

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.
how to trim wallpaper edges
I couldn’t believe how smooth and even the edges turned out!
Wallpaper Edge
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.
Gorgeous DIY girly-glam closet makeover on a tiny budget! Check it out!
But I’ll take it!
DIY crystal chandelier
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.



I had no idea it was this easy to install wallpaper!!



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?



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Comments

  1. I just love that paper so so much.
    I used to have to install wallpaper at my job in Germany for a while to learn how to. Everyday for several month and I HATED IT. It does get difficult at times 😉

  2. Sarah says:

    Wow you make it sounds so easy! My only experience with wallpaper is watching my Dad install it in 1982. It seems like the technology is still about the same. I don’t know it I’m brave enough to attempt it but it looks so good in you closet!

  3. So amazing when projects turn out that way! I used a paste-the-wall type in the powder room and it was pretty easy too. The corners got weird, trying to mash it all in there and smooth it down. But still way easier than I thought :)

  4. jlengelsma says:

    I am in LOVE with your closet. I would go to pet the wallpaper as well. I have been obsessed with that wallpaper for a couple of years now. I need a girl baby…. and a fatter wallet… then I’ll buy it. AWESOME job on all the details in the closet. I am planning a built in closet right now too, so thanks for the reminder about maxi dresses! Can’t wait for the chandy tutorial. You are the bees knees.

  5. cassie says:

    i haven’t even met it in person, but i want to marry it and have it’s babies, too. or maybe just be your sister wife to it.

  6. Heather says:

    I seriously need to find somewhere to put this wallpaper. My husband would die if I tried…but it’s sooooooo pprreeettyyy.

  7. cindi says:

    Yes, I’ve wallpapered many walls, I don’t remember any Christmas miracles, there could have been some, I just don’t remember!

  8. Amy says:

    I have installed wall paper many many times, so I can totally vouch for you because it Was a Total Christmas Miracle!! But you both deserve it!

  9. So so so gorgeous!

  10. Bliss says:

    Hmmmm….wheels spinning. You’ve got Mr. March. I’m afraid however I can’t contribute a Mr. April. Brawn is a wallpaper hanger from way back and he has since sworn off the stuff, probably because he also had to get good at removing it – back in the day when we actually made our own paste.

  11. Alicia M says:

    Congrats on your amazing wallpaper! I just had a DIY go really right too! I made these DIY “Polaroid” coasters and the blog post I found them in made it sound REALLY hard, but I did it quickly and easily! And they look fabulous!!! They are a gift to my mother-in-law for her birthday, and they are just 4×4 ceramic tiles with photos mod podged on, sprayed with a clear finish and small felt circles on the bottom. Super easy! (Post here: http://www.darkroomanddearly.com/2012/04/diy-homemade-polaroid-coasters.html and here: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/11/diy-polaroid-photo-coasters.html?utm_source=getresponse&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=onegoodthing&utm_content=%5B%5Brssitem_title%5D%5D)

  12. Kelley says:

    Great job – love the write up :)

  13. Kelly Davis says:

    You make it sound so easy but I would still be hesitant. I think that would end in a DIY fail for me!

    http://growingpainsbykellydavis.blogspot.com

  14. Diana Walters says:

    I’ll have to content myself with oohing and aaahing from the stadium seating while watching the amazing Mr. March and Mrs. Pj’s working their Christmas miracle….because no way, no how is even one strip of wallpaper going up in my house. Period. Evah. So sayeth she who has spent more painful hours and ruined to many manicures to count removing the hideous stuff. I firmly believe wallpaper is of the devil. Even if it is fabulous and gorgeous. It is evil. Jes sayin….

  15. Martina says:

    I really, really enjoyed reading this post. You made me smile a few times. I live in Germany and we are really used to putting wallpaper up on our german walls. 😉 Ok, well not every german girl can put up wallpaper perfectly, but my dd showed me so early how to do this. I think I could do this in my futuer home all by myselfe. I hope I can do 😉

    You did such a great job and if you would ask me to I would move into your closet and spend my whole live there.

    It is amazing.

  16. That sounds like such a breeze. You sometimes hear horror stories. So glad it all worked out so easily :) It’s stunning!!!

  17. omg you got so lucky. If it were me doing it would be a weekend long event with lots of mistakes and crabby husband 😉

    it looks wonderful!!

  18. Branalyn says:

    Perhaps wallpaper technology has just advanced that much, but I remember lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth when, as a child, I was forced to help my mom and grandma hang wallpaper. And some even had the pre-pasted backs. And sometimes it was just a boarder or seething simple like that. But congrats on your easy install!

    • Kelly says:

      Oh yes! I distinctly remember helping my parents install a border in my room as a kid that had bears riding on bicycles. It was also the height of my decorating style.

  19. Erin says:

    I have never hung wallpaper….only removed it. (For the record, I wouldn’t remove the wallpaper YOU chose. Just wallpaper that has cowboy hats on it.) yay for smooth DIY!

  20. The wallpaper is gorgeous and you wrote the whole post so nicely that you made me want go install wallpaper myself :)
    Thank you for sharing.

  21. Monica says:

    I love it!! I need a closet like yours now! So pretty!! Congrats on a job well done!

  22. Ashley says:

    I am in love with this wallpaper! Great job!!!

  23. It looks SO good! I really want to install wallpaper somewhere in our house but we have textured walls that we’d need to skim coat first. Womp, womp.

  24. Linda says:

    The closet is absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Hahahha. Andy.

  26. Tana Ryan says:

    That closet makes me sigh. And stare.

  27. Tana Ryan says:

    And the wall hanging, “put on love”, is the most creative, beautiful, appropriate wall hanging ever.

  28. Shelley says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Sooo want to find a place to use this wallpaper in my home. You didn’t happen to mention how many bottles of wine were consumed during this magic moment ; )

  29. erin p. says:

    love it! what are your plans for the leftover wallpaper?

  30. I can’t even take how fabulous that is!!! LOVE!!!

    XO
    Krista

  31. I love, love, LOVE your closet! The idea of installing wallpaper terrifies me.

  32. Well, send Andy over to do mine. I will pay! I have two more wallpaper projects coming up and I am getting cold feet! I love that paper btw! So swoony!

  33. So super duper obsessed with this ridiculously amazing wallpaper!!

  34. Ooooooh, how awesome that you didn’t have to cut it! The only experience I have installing wallpaper is when we designed a new bedroom for a little girl undergoing cancer treatment. And I wasn’t even the one who did the wallpaper, I’d just wander through the room and be like, “Wow, that looks really slippery!” which I’m sure was totally helpful. It looked awesome at the end, though! (And the little girl loved it.)

  35. Fabulous! It looks so good. And we’ve got a wall to wallpaper…umm, sometime…I’m going to hold you personally responsible if ours isn’t as easy as yours was 😉

  36. I’m jealous. I am dying to get wallpaper up in my kitchen but the glue and the exact measuring and cutting and the rolling of a sticky-glued back.. it has me cowed. So it sounds like maybe you are a pro at this now and you should come visit my kitchen… :)

  37. recklace says:

    my mother always said the only time she ever truly feared divorce was during a particularly heinous wallpaper incident. they’ve been married 34 years.

  38. Zara Burrell says:

    I love your closet! I am redoing our closet now, but took the easy way out and went with Elfa from the Container Store. I love it, but I am dying to see your chandelier tutorial as I am trying to come up with an option to jazz the space up a bit! Can not wait to see how you made yours…it is G-orgeous!

  39. Liz says:

    Just saw your wallpaper on this celebrity decorators quiz. Thought you’d get a kick out of it!

    http://www.casasugar.com/Celebrity-Decorators-Quiz-34450049

  40. Man, now I want to break my “no wallpaper ever” promise to Nate. This looks SO good! I also love how your conversations with Andy are basically the same as what I have with Nate. “Do you know what you’re doing?” “No.” “Are you going to research it?” “No, that’s what you’re for.”

  41. That wallpaper is gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to have focal wall with wallpaper but I’ve just been to scared to try it. You’ve given me hope! :)

  42. yvonne says:

    OMG that convo sound like me and my husband. Me wanting to do everything on the house and him pretty much doing it for me. LOVE the wallpaper. Im thinking of putting wallpaper up too but getting the easier kind that peel and stick lol

  43. Jessica says:

    PET IT SOFTLY. That killed me softly.

  44. I would SO buy that calendar. haha!

    I’m really glad to hear that wallpapering went so well. We’re going to be wall papering a small part of our vintage camper. I’m SO excited!

  45. Seriously love the wallpaper! It looks amazing!

  46. Pinned! I’ll be needing this later!

  47. shay says:

    Love your wallpaper. I have the same wallpaper hanging in my kitchen :) Everyday it makes me smile.

  48. Canary says:

    So pretty!! Where is the mini chandelier thingy from??

  49. Kim says:

    Your wallpaper is beautiful! You lucked out with the width, for sure. Even when you have corners, windows, etc., it’s still not that hard to hang wallpaper. It just takes patience (which I lack, mostly). Anyway, great job, you two! :-)
    Blessings,
    Kim

  50. ellie says:

    yay! so pretty :) and I don’t think it’s difficult either – and I stink at diy. sometimes the paper is more difficult to work with – so maybe this was really good wallpaper?! beautiful closet and mine looks very similar so I think I’m copying you!! thanks!

    xo ellie

  51. Susan says:

    I subsidized my income while going to college and raising 3 kids on my own by hanging wallpaper. Now, I did have an edge in that I am good at math and I had been sewing and quilting for a long time. Matching, measuring, and cutting to size came naturally. But, and this is key, I found that hanging wallpaper is really easy. Trust me. I also found that I got a lot of referrals from satisfied customers because, unlike the male paperhangers, I cleaned up after myself. I called myself The Paper Lady and charged by the roll. Prepasted wallpaper almost hangs itself. I even did one powder room in a mylar printed paper that was applied to both the walls and the ceiling. I have 7 rolls of wallpaper even as we speak, just waiting for me to finish painting the ceilings in my bathroom and powder room. FYI, I don’t recommend papering first and painting after. ;-(

  52. Isaac says:

    I know this is a long shot, but if you have any of that paper leftover that you would be willing to sell please let us know! My wife and I just wallpapered our new nursery and we are short literally one 7′ long panel. Sucks to but a whole new roll for such a small area!

  53. Holly says:

    I just found your website and absolutely love this post!! My husband and I just found out we’re having a baby girl in August and I’m swooning over this wallpaper. Hubby says it’s too expensive to buy so this mama is going to have to find some kind of alternative. I wish they just sold small sections of this and I would just frame it on her nursery wall! Beautiful closet you’re one lucky lady :)

  54. Amanda says:

    Where did you get the lighting for that room? I’d love to put it in my craft room! :)

  55. LOL Christmas miracles exist ! When I put up my wallpapers I was left with one roll more. It was sooooo strange. I couldn’t believe it.I measured the walls twice. Finally my conclusion was the same. There are miracles ! Greetings!

  56. Ally says:

    Valuable for information.. Is there any further reading you would recommend on this?

    Ally
    How to Install Wallpaper

  57. Vocalwalls says:

    thanks for the tip. I’ll try my best

  58. Harry Cole says:

    Watch, How to install wallpaper in right way.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfScopH0Zuw

  59. Beth says:

    I just googled installing anthropologie wallpaper and this came up! I’m installing the same wallpaper in my office! I’m excited!! Thanks for the tips!!!

  60. Karlee McGlone says:

    This post was awesome and so helpful!! We just bought a new home–naturally, I bought wo anthro wallpapers with the sure strip for different rooms in our home and this is a helpful guide to follow! Question: you really dig the ENTIRE sheet in the tub of water? That makes me nervous!! Will it rip? I thought you would spray it with water. Fingers crossed my DIY madness goes as smoothly (and beautifully!) as yours!!

    Thanks!

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