Do it yourself!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How To Hang Wallpaper Borders

Wallpaper borders come in many different widths and patterns, and are used for many different purposes. They can be used along with a companion paper underneath or on a painted wall. Here are a few examples of how they can be used:

Pre-glued vs. Adhesive

Whatever they are used for, there are a couple of different ways to get them to stay on your walls. About 20 years ago manufacturers began making pre-pasted papers that only had to be soaked in water to activate the glue. A dismal failure if you ask me, but there are many wall paper hangers that use this method with success. For me it was just a slimy mess that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. The slimy glue will run down the walls and many times won’t wash off. It almost never adheres to another paper underneath, even when primed and many times won’t even stick to a painted wall. I use shurstick adhesives almost exclusively and almost always Shur-Stik 111. It is a clay based adhesive (non-clear) that can be thinned down to whatever strength that is needed to fit just about any purpose from 54” vinyl to the thinnest papers. Only with stringcloths or rare papers that don’t have a vinyl coating is a clear adhesive needed, as this type of adhesive will not stain the surface.

For borders I usually use either Shur-Stik 111 or Shur-Stik’s vinyl over vinyl which will stick to just about anything. On a wall painted with flat wall paint the 111 works fine. If it is painted with semi gloss or high gloss paint the vinyl over vinyl is probably needed. Requiring a little more work; a primer or sizing can also be applied to the wall where the border is going to go, which works, but isn’t nearly as effective.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Measure for how much border you’ll need.  Most borders come in 5 yd. lengths which usually means that it will take 4 of them to go around an average room.
  2. Find a piece of plywood about 8 feet long,  few inches wider than the border,  and make sure it has a good straight edge.
    It’s best to use two sawhorses to lay the board across, but laying on top of a long table will suffice.
  3. After you determine which glue to use pour it into a 5 gallon bucket and mix it to the desired thickness. It may need just a little bit of water but usually can be used full strength.
  4. Roll the paper out across the length of the board,  pattern side down.
  5. Using a paint roller with a short nap cover, apply the glue to the exposed backside
  6. Fold the glued paper lengthwise, then pull it across the table to expose and glue the remainder of the unglued roll.
  7. Let it set 4-5 minutes so that the paper can expand.  *note: applying paper to wall before it expands will cause air bubbles to appear underneath.
  8. Starting in the least visible corner of the room, begin applying the border using a 6” broad knife to smooth it out as you go.  *note: When putting the border at the ceiling it’s usually best to start and end in the corner behind the door.  When used in the middle of the wall a laser can be used for a level line around the room.
  9. Follow with a sponge and clean water to clean up any paste.
  10. After the first piece is up, match the next one where the first one left off and put it up. Go back to the overlapping match and using a razor blade or knife cut through both pieces, removing the bottom piece and the excess top piece and you will be left with a perfect match.


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