A Quick Guide To DIY Wallpaper Installation

wallpaper wall

Wallpaper is not that big in South Africa, so when I first moved to England and saw it installed everywhere, I fell in love! Back home, however, supply and demand cause wallpaper to be super expensive, with most of the designs being imported. But on a recent trip to Builders Warehouse, I found a very cool geo pattern that I knew would transform our playroom! Installing wallpaper is actually very easy, you just have to have a bit of patience, and make sure that you measure carefully. Here’s our step-by-step guide to DIY wallpaper installation!

Click the video below to see how we did it in less than 1 minute! 😉


You will need:

  • Wallpaper (see below calculation for the quantity)
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Large brush
  • Cloth
  • Craft knife
  • You will also need:
  • Bucket and spoon
  • Large flat surface to prepare the paper

Wallpaper quantity calculation:

Take the width of the wall, and divide it by the width of the wallpaper. Round up to get the number of drops.

For the length of each drop, take the height of the wall and add the pattern repeat onto it. This will be the length of each drop.

Now, take the length of the roll of wallpaper and divide it by the length that you got in the previous calculation – round down the answer! This will give you the number of drops per roll.

Now go back to the number of drops that you need and divide that by the drops per roll to get the number of rolls.


My wall is 3650mm width x 2800mm height. My wallpaper is 540mm wide x 10m long, with a pattern repeat of 460mm.

2550 ÷ 540 = 4.7, so I will need 5 drops.

2800mm (height) + 460mm (pattern repeat) = 3260mm length per drop.

10m (roll length) ÷ 3260mm (length per drop) = 3.06, so I can get 3 drops out of each roll.  

5 drops needed ÷ 3 drops per roll = 1.66, so 2 rolls


Prepare the wall surface by removing any nails and brushing to remove dust.



cut wallpaper

Cut the wallpaper to size, according to your calculations above.



spirit level

Use a measuring tape and spirit level to create a line 500mm away from the wall or edge. Walls are not necessarily straight, so you always start with the second drop, never with the first!



wallpaper paste

Prepare the wallpaper paste according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then use the large brush to apply the paste to the back of the cut wallpaper drops, making sure that you get all the edges of the paper as well.

PRO TIP: fold the paper over on itself as you go. It won’t get stuck, promise! Fold the right edge all the way to the middle, and then fold the left edge all the way to the middle. Fold the sides toward the middle two more times, and then fold the 2 heaps with their backs against each other. This will make it really easy to just grab the top edge of the paper when you’re ready to install!

Let the paper soak for a while – this will help to prevent air bubbles from forming. Then paste 2 or 3 more drops before you start to install.



wallpaper installation

To install the paper, take the whole folded stack and climb onto your ladder (get someone to stabilise the ladder for you!). Once you’re in place, grab the top edge of the paper and let the rest drop. Then press the paper against the wall in line with the pencil line you drew in step 3. Give yourself some excess at the top; this will make lining up the next drop easier. Once this drop is in place, you can install the drop to the edge in the same manner.



lining up wallpaper pattern

Keep installing the subsequent drops, taking care to line up patterns and keeping everything straight.


wallpaper trim

Trip the top, bottom and sides with a craft knife. Be careful not to tear the paper – it is easier to do when the paper is not so wet!

wallpaper wipe down

Wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth.

Happy Wallpapering!


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