How to Apply Paintable Wallpaper

Tanya Soraya Ruys

Paintable wallpaper is an elegant way to add texture to your walls. It comes in a wide spectrum of patterns and designs that can mimic carved wood, plaster reliefs and even fabric. The versatility of paintable wallpaper makes it easy to match any decor. It can be painted over several times if you desire a color change.

Paintable wallpaper with raised patterns to create a dimensional look.

Paintable wallpaper is hung in a manner similar to regular wallpaper. A few steps can help you get started.

  1. Choose a starting point in an area where the final seam will not be noticeable. Try an inconspicuous corner or behind a door. Use a carpenter's level and a pencil to make a vertical line at the top, middle and bottom of the wall. Make sure the bubble in the level is centered. This will ensure the wallpaper hangs straight down.

  2. Use a steel tape measure to find the length of the wall from top to bottom. Add 6 inches to the measurement. This is the length of your first wallpaper strip. Unroll the wallpaper and measure it. Use a steel straight edge and a razor knife to cut the strip.

  3. With a paint brush or roller, apply a clay-based wallpaper adhesive to the back of the strip. Fold it together loosely like an accordion, paste side to paste side. This keeps the adhesive moist. Wait ten minutes to allow the paste to activate.

  4. Line up the strip with the lines on the wall. Place the strip so that it overlaps about three inches at the ceiling and baseboard. Take care not to stretch the wallpaper. Use a wallpaper brush from top to bottom to gently smooth the strip in place and remove air bubbles.

  5. Use a straight edge and a razor knife to cut off the excess paper at the top and bottom. Hold the straight edge firmly in the joint between the ceiling or baseboard and cut.

  6. Carefully wipe off the excess adhesive with a dry rag. Take care not to flatten the raised wallpaper pattern.

  7. Repeat the process with another strip of wallpaper. Carefully match up the pattern, and don't overlap the strips. Do this until you have covered the entire area. Allow the wallpaper 24 hours to dry.

  8. Apply paintable spackle lightly with your fingers to the seams if needed. Do not use a seam roller. Allow spackle to dry. Your surface is now ready to be covered with a topcoat or finish of your choice.


Paintable wallpaper will not stick to oily surfaces. Make sure your walls are primed with a latex-based acrylic primer before you hang your wallpaper.