How To Hang Unpasted Wallpaper For Beginners

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How To Hang Unpasted Wallpaper For Beginners!

Wallpaper installation wasn’t ever on my bucket list. Detailed projects that need to be perfect? Above my paygrade! I prefer to hire out.

But. But, but, but. 

Turns out, with a good wallpaper for your first time, you will actually find this easy. You CAN do totally install wallpaper by yourself without screwing it up! Read this entire guide with Chrissy Marie.

The before and after transformation of our bedroom with our McGee and Co wallpaper is amazing! Our bedroom came alive!

a before and after with black floral wallpaper hanging in a bedroom

Time consuming? Yes, a half wall took me half a day start to finish. Difficult, make you hate yourself and everyone around you? Not at all.

A Tutorial: How To Hang Unpasted Wallpaper For People Who Hate Difficult Things. Hi, Me.

I’ll be sharing how to hang this unpasted wallpaper and why it was easy for me – this is especially true if you have a small wall, like a feature wall! If you are considering a similar project (especially if you have unpasted wallpaper – but either one works!) – you are going to LOVE this post! 

I did this on my own, with no help. You should probably not do that. But we have 4 wild kids, so my husband had important things to do like making snacks and keeping them alive.

black and white floral wallpaper installed in a bedroom
unpasted wallpaper in a black and white bedroom

I was so excited to see Studio McGee’s wallpaper line! They were kind enough to partner with me on this project. All opinions and design decisions are my own. 

I picked out the Juno wallpaper in black and white for our bedroom wallpaper from Studio Mcgee’s wallpaper line – it is floral black and white wallpaper; pretty without being romantic. For florals, I found this wallpaper to be just a bit… dare I say, masculine?

I liked that it is matte, light and airy with a crisp white background (not creamy), and washable. Winner winner, put the wallpaper up before dinner! 

Keep in mind, some material makes wallpaper tricky to install (ahem, the grasscloth Wallpaper in our old dining room). For your first time pick easy material – don’t pick fabric, unless you hate yourself. Choose a simple washable pattern, so you can wipe it down if things get messy. Something like mine!

Juno wallpaper from Studio McGee on a wall

The wall does have two windows I had to cut around, but no light switches and smooth nontextured walls. Wallpaper installation was new to me… but looking at the flat, half wall… how hard could it be?

Why Is Unpasted Wallpaper? What Does Non Pasted Wallpaper Mean?

  • Non pasted, or unpasted wallpaper, does not have adhesive on the back, and requires you to apply adhesive yourself to the paper (or wall in some cases), in order for the wallpaper to stick. My Studio McGee Wallpaper was unpasted – meaning, I was applying the paste myself!
  • Prepasted wallpapers come with a cured adhesive already applied to the backing. The adhesive is activated by getting it wet (dunking it in warm water). 

Check the label on your wallpaper and find out what kind you have! If it says unpasted, my how to hang unpasted wallpaper tutorial is exactly what you need.

a hand holding up a bucked of Roman pro 543 wallpaper adhesive

And One Last Thing – What Is Booking?

Some wallpapers expand up to 1/4 of an inch after the adhesive is applied. If you put the wallpaper on the wall before it expands, it will bubble and wrinkle. “Booking” just means folding the paper onto itself after the adhesive is applied for several minutes. The back of the paper with glue lies folded over onto itself loosely, like a book. This allows the paper to expand! Ta-da!

Not all wallpapers require you to book. Mine did not!

a big mirror and bed

Supplies, Including Roman 543 Adhesive

You need a different type of adhesive if you are working with vinyl paper – check your wallpaper’s label!

  1. Roman 543 Adhesive – exactly what I used and it’s great 
  2. Paste brush 
  3. Brand new razor blade (do not reuse an older blade)
  4. Putty knife to smooth or a roller (I prefer putty knife)
  5. Level
  6. Tape Measure
  7. Sharp scissors


  1. wallpaper seam repair (I used this on a few small pieces of the edges that peeled back up because they were missing the adhesive)
  2. wallpaper primer (helps the wallpaper stick and helps with removal, I did not use)
a hand holding up a bucked of Roman wallpaper seam repair for unpasted wallpaper

Steps For Unpasted Wallpaper Installation

1. Prep Work!

  • Start with clean walls (water and regular soap work). Fill nail / tack holes with this fast drying spackle and lightly sand until smooth.
  • You need a flat surface to lay the wallpaper down for cutting each panel.
  • Lay down a drop cloth or an old sheet to protect your floors in case some of the adhesive falls. Don’t be like me and skip this!
  • Some people like to prime the wall first, as it helps the wallpaper stick and apparently helps with removal later on. I didn’t bother. It is optional.

a flatly of the 7 tools needed for when hanging wallpaper installation

2. Cutting The First Piece

Find the center of your wall. Use a level and draw a straight plumb line (plumb means straight!) down the center of the wall. This is where your first roll will go- along the line!

(Walls aren’t straight, so don’t use a corner to butt your first piece against. It’s likely crooked.)

3. Cut Your Unpasted Wallpaper

I measured the height of the wall first, and then added 4 inches past where I wanted the panel of paper to end for a little excess, and made a straight cut using our sharpest scissors.

Serena and lily harbour cane nightstands  and unpasted wallpaper

4. The Paste: How To Apply Roman Wallpaper Adhesive

Lay the wallpaper print side down on your table. Start with your brush dipped in the Roman Wallpaper adhesive, and brush from the center of the back of your wallpaper out. Don’t get glue on the table; this will get messy quickly. Cover the entire paper with adhesive.

After a few tries, I found it SO MUCH EASIER to put the glue directly onto the wall instead of the paper. This made things go about 100 times easier, and faster too! 

You can NOT do this if your paper requires booking- but no fear! You will put the adhesive onto the back of the paper and let it sit for a few minutes, allowing the paper to expand. See “What Is Booking?”, above.

5. Slap that baby up on the wall!

a woman showing how to hang unpasted wallpaper

Line your wallpaper up against the straight line you drew on the wall, leaving about 2 inches of paper past the ceiling. Using the putty knife, press gently to crease it into the seam where your wall and ceiling join.

Move down the wall, pressing the paper into the wall with the putty knife, making sure your wallpaper stays along the level along the line as you go! It helps to put the putty knife in the center and smooth towards the edges to release any wrinkles.

Don’t freak out if you get a wrinkle; it’s forgiving! All I did was gently lift up the wallpaper as far as you need to go, and then slowly put it back down, smoothing again from the center outward. 

My wallpaper is washable, so I wiped up any excess paste with a clean, dry rag.

Tips: Cutting Around Ceiling And Edges

After a panel is up on the wall, just hold the putty knife against the ceiling/edge/baseboard, and then run your brand new razor blade along the edge to cut off the excess wallpaper. This is how I did the windows too. Just go gently.

a woman showing how to hang wallpaper in a bedroom

6. Repeat!

Match up the patterns! Sounds difficult, but it isn’t really. All I did was hold the wallpaper roll up to the first strip on the wall to find the match, and cut it again with 4 inches of excess. I slapped the paste up on the wall, and went to town.

Tip: After I put up a few rolls, I saw one or two places where tiny little edges of the paper had opened off the wall because it was missing paste. I gently moved the seam repair glue tip inside the paper, squeezed, and smoothed the paper out. Use sparingly.

Honestly, I was totally impressed with myself. I am not a DIY girl by any means, I get hot, flustered and tend to rush things…. which isn’t a good combination for installing wallpaper. This was not that difficult though!

Really, just pick a good simple paper for your first time, follow the directions here, and anyone can do this!

Now just step back and admire your gorgeous wallpaper job!black and white floral wallpaper on a bedroom wall black and white floral wallpaper in a bedroom

Shop The Room:

The one question that remains is how is it that I could get the wallpaper up in a half days work, but those frames on the wall are still empty? 😉

I hope you found this tutorial on how to hang unpasted wallpaper helpful!

You Might Also Like:

Our Bedroom Before The Wallpaper

a door opening into a neutral bedroom

Our Playroom

game table with a puzzle on it as part of playroom decor

Picking The Right Pillows For A Grey Couch

2 throw pillows on a sofa in the corner of a living room

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