How to Wallpaper

Written on 28th September 2020

Learning how to wallpaper might seem daunting, but with the right tools and our handy step-by-step guide, you’ll be pasting and plumb lining like a pro in no time. We’ve asked our professional painters and decorators to share their top wallpapering tips and trade secrets for getting a great finish with our handcrafted Farrow & Ball wallpaper.

In this guide, we’ll take you through:

What you’ll need:

  • Your chosen Farrow & Ball wallpaper
  • Farrow & Ball Wallpaper Paste
  • Lining paper (1200 or 1400 grade)
  • Wallpaper brush
  • Wallpaper smoothing tool
  • Plumb line
  • Scissors or a sharp craft knife
  • A hard pencil (2H works well)
  • Platform or stepladder
  • Pasting table
  • Sponge
  • Bucket of clean water


Trying to wallpaper straight over old wall coverings simply won’t give you the finish you want, so make sure you remove any old paper before you start.

If your walls are newly plastered, make sure they’re completely dry, then lightly sand to remove any nibs or surface imperfections.


On newly plastered walls, or walls that have been extensively filled or patch plastered, lining paper is key to getting a good finish.

To adhere your lining paper to the wall, you’ll need to mix up some ‘size’ or use a ready-mixed product like Glue Size. If you’re using Farrow & Ball Wallpaper Paste, use one tube of powered paste to seven tubes of water to make your size.

Apply the mixture liberally to the wall and allow to dry for a minimum of one hour, or longer if the temperature is below 10˚C. This will help seal the porous plaster surface and promote slip.

Next, hang a good-quality lining paper – a heavyweight 1200 or 1400 grade paper is the best bet. Paste a length of your paper with the same mix of paste mentioned in Step 1, and fold to stop it evaporating. Allow the paste to soak in for 5–10 minutes, then hang your lining paper.

For the best finish, we suggest ‘cross lining’ (hanging your lining paper horizontally)

Unfold the first fold of your lining paper and line up the edges with your starting point – if cross lining, you may find it easiest to start in the top corner where the wall meets the ceiling. Then, use a wallpaper smoother to smooth down the paper, working from the centre out to the edges to remove any creases or bubbles where the paper might not be sitting flat.

If your lining paper overlaps the corner onto the next wall, use a 2H pencil
to crease the paper into the corner and create a line, which you can then cut along
with scissors or a craft knife to get a crisp edge.

Paste, fold, and hang your next length of lining paper, butting the edge right up against the edge of the previous length. Then, after you’ve finished smoothing the piece as before, gently slide the piece down so that the edges are about 1mm apart. If the lining paper expands once your wallpaper is hung on top of it, this will stop the join in the lining paper becoming visible.

When you’ve finished, allow your lining paper to dry thoroughly for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.



Where to Start Hanging Wallpaper

Often, it’s best to start hanging wallpaper as near as possible to the natural source of light and then work away from it as you go. If you find yourself needing to overlap a joint due to uneven walls or ceilings, this method minimises the risk of any overlapped edges being noticeable when viewed from across the room, as they’re less likely to cast a shadow.

For an immaculate finish on dark-coloured wallpaper, you may also want to try one of our favourite trade tips: colouring the edges of your rolls with a similar-coloured oil pastel. That way, if your wallpaper does shrink back, any exposed edges will be less noticeable.

Drawing a Plumb Line

To ensure your wallpaper is hung straight, we recommend drawing a ‘plumb line’ to line up your first piece. Using a ‘plumb bob’ or weight attached to a piece of string, this is a reliable method favoured by professional painters and decorators, although a spirit level can also be used in a pinch.

Once you’ve decided where to start hanging, measure – from your starting point, and as close as possible to the coving or ceiling – the width of one piece of wallpaper. Mark it lightly in pencil and attach your plumb line at the mark using a pin. With the weight at the bottom, the string will hang perfectly vertical.

Make light pencil marks all the way down the string, You should then be left with a straight line from ceiling to floor, against which to line up your first piece of wallpaper. We recommend repeating as needed throughout the wallpapering process, to account for wonky walls and ceilings.



Cut your first length of paper, paste it, and allow it to soak for the length of time recommended on the tube before hanging.

Hang the top fold of your wallpaper against the plumbed line you drew earlier. Using your wallpaper brush, brush out from the centre of the paper to each edge, working your way down from the top of the wall to the bottom.

Once you’re happy that the paper is evenly smoothed down, use the outer edge of your scissors or your 2H pencil to make a crease in the paper along the groove where the wall meets the ceiling or coving. Peel the paper back slightly, cut along the crease you have just made, and then brush the cut edge of the paper back onto the wall.

Return to the bottom of the wall and tap your wallpaper brush gently into the top edge of the skirting board to create a crease. Peel back the paper and cut along the crease with your scissors or blade, then brush the cut edge back onto the wall just as you did at the top.

Return to the bottom of the wall and tap your wallpaper brush gently into the top edge of the skirting board to create a crease. Peel back the paper and cut along the crease with your scissors or blade, then brush the cut edge back onto the wall just as you did at the top.

Dip your sponge into the clean water and gently wipe the length of wallpaper you’ve just applied, making sure to remove any wallpaper paste from the surface.

Cut your next piece of wallpaper, allowing for the pattern repeat, and paste and soak it as before. Hang the piece with the edge butted up against the edge of your previously hung piece, but not overlapping, taking care to match the pattern.


Because of the unique way our handcrafted wallpaper is made, using our own water based paint rather than inks, it can be subject to something we call ‘Paste Attack’. If wallpaper paste is left on the wallpaper surface to dry, it could damage it, ruining all your hard work. So, it’s very important not to skip the step of sponging down, or at least be very careful when pasting!

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