How to Install Self-Adhesive Wallpaper in a Snap!

Learn the tricks to applying self-adhesive wallpaper.  From purchasing to applying this article has you covered answering all your burning questions.

For years using wallpaper to decorate a room was very intimidating to me.  The thought of putting up wet, sticky, gigantic sheets of paper scared me enough to avoid it like the plague.  Not only did it look difficult to apply but the thought of removing it later was equally as daunting.

old-school wallpaper
A disaster waiting to happen!

But… then I started seeing beautiful rooms on Pinterest with gorgeous wallpaper and it made me want to give it a try. 

Researching various methods of installation, lead me to the perfect solution… self-adhesive wallpaper!

No need to deal with wet, slimy paper.  Remove the paper backing and slap it on the wall.  Sounds easy right?

Through trial and error, I’ve learned a couple of tricks to make it easy-peasy to spruce up your space.

Here are the steps you can use to install peel n’ stick wallpaper:

Step 1:  Measure & Purchase

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Use a tape measure and write down the dimensions of your walls.  Most rolls of wallpaper are 3 ft 5 in x 8 ft.  Buy extra If you select wallpaper with a pattern to allow for pattern match up.

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Here’s the wallpaper I used for this project:

NuWallpaper Teal Floating Trellis Peel & Stick Wallpaper

Step 2:  Prep and Clean

Remove any objects on the wall including plug-in covers.

Use warm water to clean your walls.  If using chemicals or soap, make sure all residue is removed to assure wallpaper will adhere to the surface.  Walls need to be completely dry before installing wallpaper.

CAUTION:  Self-adhesive wallpaper isn’t made for highly textured walls, brick, unpainted Sheetrock, or outdoor surfaces.  Allow four weeks for newly painted surfaces to fully cure. 

Step 3:  Gather Supplies

You will need the following supplies for this project:

supplies for installing wallpaper

Step 4:  Find your starting point

Draw a straight vertical line using your level, 20 inches from the left side of your wall (verify the width of your wallpaper for exact inches).  If hanging a feature wall, start in the middle to assure symmetry of design.

measuring for wallpaper

Step 5:  Peel n’ Stick

Peel back 12 inches of backing.  Adhere self-adhesive wallpaper starting from the top of the wall allowing a bit of excess to overlap the ceiling.  Align the right side of the strip of wallpaper to your pencil mark and press.

self-adhesive wallpaper

Use your plastic scraper or roller to remove air pockets and define crease between wall and ceiling. 

Working from top to bottom, pull the backing away as you evenly press the paper to the wall.  Stop every 12 inches and use a plastic smoother to push out any air bubbles from the center outwards. 

Apply the next strip the same way.  Slightly overlap (1/32 in) and match the pattern to the first strip of self-adhesive wallpaper. 

Corners can be a bit tricky when you’re dealing with a long sheet of wallpaper.  Try cutting into the corner rather than wrapping from one wall to the next.  You can see how I did this below.

self-adhesive wallpaper

Step 6:  Trim Excess

Using a ruler and sharp utility knife remove excess wallpaper from the ceiling and adjoining walls.  Remove any excess wallpaper covering up plug-ins.

self-adhesive wallpaper

If needed, cut paper to allow it to go around fixtures in the wall.  For instance, in my bathroom, I first removed the excess wallpaper from the bottom, to make it easier to work with.  Next, I cut a vertical strip so I could cut around the water valve for the toilet.  Finally, I smoothed the self-adhesive wallpaper around the fixture.

What once was a plain, boring wall now is a design feature in my bathroom.  I love how the wallpaper turned out.  Now I need to convince my husband to build shelves for the wall!

self-adhesive wallpaper

Wallpaper will no longer scare me away.  With self-adhesive wallpaper, you’re not dealing with a water/glue mixture, it’s repositionable and easy to remove.  And it’s not only for walls! 

For starters I can see using this on the backs of bookcases, lining drawers, or using on the fronts of dresser drawers.  Have I got your creative juices flowing yet?  Are you ready to try self-adhesive wallpaper?  If yes, what’s your first project going to be?

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