If you’ve been wanting to learn how to hang wallpaper you better stick around (no pun intended). This was my first time hanging wallpaper and while I’m no expert, I can relate to my DIY sisters out there who are afraid of messing up. So, let me give you the step-by-step my friend. I got you!

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My memories of wallpaper date back to my childhood in Puerto Rico. I have the image of my mom scraping our cement walls to get the wallpaper off so that she could paint (sea la madre…). Fast forward to the 1990’s. I was married and we’d bought our first home. Remember the old flower wallpaper borders? Guilty. I had them installed all around my house. I feel bad for the people who bought the house from us 10 years later. They’re probably still scraping.

Now, here I am, years later, looking for easy to hang wallpaper to start the cycle all over again. Styles really do come back. Tell that to the denim overalls hanging in my closet. But, I have to admit, styles get better with time. Wallpaper has come a long way. So many patterns, colors, textures, and styles it will make your head spin, especially if you struggle with making decisions. One thing is certain, you can make your DIY experience easier by applying removable peel and stick wallpaper.


Here is something about me you may not know. I enjoy home projects, a lot, for about 3-4 years until I get tired of the look and want to change it. It’s not my best quality if you ask my husband. But it works well when you have a DIY blog. Duane would like me to leave it all well enough alone, but Janice gonna do what Janice gonna do, especially now that the kids are gone, the nest is empty, and my idle time seems to have doubled (I’m bored and I haven’t even retired yet!)

Three years ago, I put up this wood plank treatment around the fireplace. I liked it, got many compliments on it, but inevitably, I got tired of the look and got the wallpaper itch. This wall was the perfect space to start small. Thus, I began my search for easy to hang wallpaper. I wanted to be able to hang the wallpaper without glue or anything that would ruin the wall or I would be scraping 10 years from now (or 3…).

Peel and Stick Wallpaper

I began to read about sticky back wallpaper. Yes, sticky like the contact paper we used to cover our books in grade school if you’re as old as me. I could get behind that. Contact paper on walls that is also removable!? Alright, alright.

I have to warn you though, not everyone on the Internet likes the sticky back wallpaper (shocker, I know). Pre-pasted wallpaper seems to be more popular these days, and initially, that is what I wanted to try. In fact, I ordered 3 rolls but didn’t like the pattern as much in person, so I returned them. Then I casually went to Lowes to buy some primer for the wall I’d just torn apart (again). I meandered to the wallpaper aisle. That’s when I saw the sticky wallpaper I used. Sadly, it’s not for sale online. Here is a similar one, though! The subtle pattern was perfect for that wall, and it didn’t compete with the hardwood floors. Having an almost solid pattern is also very forgiving because you don’t have to pair each piece perfectly when you put up each strip. Plus they had the 3 rolls that I needed. Sold!

All in all, this was pretty easy to install wallpaper and very forgiving for a beginner!

How to Hang Wallpaper-Materials Needed

Peel and Stick Wallpaper
Wallpaper Smoothing Tool
Tape Measure
Utility Knife

Step 1: Figure out how much wallpaper you will need

To figure out how many rolls of wallpaper you’ll need, measure width and height of your wall (s) and multiply the two numbers. This will give you the number of square feet. For example, my wall is 7 feet wide by 8 feet tall; 7 x 8= 56 square feet. Be sure to read the fine print on the wallpaper you select. It should tell you how many square feet it covers. Because the wallpaper I bought covers 25 square feet I bought 3 rolls. You should always plan to get about 10% extra.

Besides calculating how much wallpaper you need, the wall space should be clean, smooth, and dry. If you remove old wallpaper or any other treatment, you may have a little prep to do before you start. In my case, I had to fill in nail holes, sand, and apply a coat of primer. Having paint or primer as a base will make it easier to remove the wallpaper when the time comes.

Step 2: Measure the width of the wall paper

Once your space is ready, measure the width of the wallpaper and mark your starting place on the wall.

Step 3: Mark the starting place on the wall.

Some manufacturers recommend you begin in the middle of the wall and work your way out while others recommend you start in the corner. Make sure you take a look at your wallpaper instructions, as it may give you some tips on this. I honestly don’t think it matters that much unless your wallpaper has an elaborate pattern. Also, if the width of your wall calls for a super narrow strip (less than 6 inches) at the end of the wall, it may be best to start hanging the wallpaper in the center and work your way out. Because neither of these was the case for me I opted to start in the corner.

I first marked the width of the wallpaper on the wall. Then, using a long Level I drew a long vertical line from the top to the bottom of the wall. Be extra sure that the line is straight (the longer the level the better!). Getting your first strip straight on means that the rest of them will be too.

Step 4: Cut the first strip

Cut the first strip the same as the height of your wall, plus a few extra inches. I cut mine with a Utility Knife and out a piece of cardboard underneath to protect my rug. I don’t really think a straight edge is necessary since you’ll have the extra paper on top and bottom, but it made me feel good to start with a clean, straight edge.

Step 5: Peel off a small section

Peel a small section (about 12-18 inches). Do not remove the entire backing at once. This will create a giant mess (trust me)and the paper will start sticking to itself.

Peel backing in small sections, not all at once

Step 6: Begin to hang wallpaper to the wall

Apply the wallpaper to the wall beginning with the top portion making sure that you keep the paper straight along the line that you drew on the wall.

Make sure you smooth it out really well as you go from top to bottom. You can do this with a wallpaper smoothing tool or a large putty knife would possibly work. In my case, I’m using a kitchen scraping tool because it did the job!

Work your way down, smoothing, smoothing, and smoothing, and making sure the strip is straight on the wall. If you mess up simply pull off the wallpaper gently and re-adjust. It will still stick.
Step 7: Cut excess and continue with the next strips

Once the paper is on, cut off the excess from the top and the bottom with a Utility Knife.

Continue hanging strips of wallpaper making sure you match the pattern (if applicable) and that you are keeping the paper straight. Having the level handy as you go will help you keep track of this.

If you run across a bubble after you’ve cut the excess off, pop it with a straight pin and flatten it out. At any point in the process, you can peel off the paper to readjust or smooth out problem areas.

You would still use the utility knife to cut the top, bottom, and sides. If you end your project on an outside corner, use a straight edge when you cut the excess off.

And that is it, my friends! DIY removable wallpaper is totally doable without ruining your walls! I hope you a pretty good idea about how to install wallpaper and that you give it a try!

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Check out the video summarizing the process!


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Janice| Sawdust Sisters

Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to "dare to try". Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.

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