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Paintable Wallpaper Instructions

Billy McCarley

Paintable wallpaper can be applied to most walls. It comes with raised patterns or a smooth surface and is a bit thicker than regular papers so it can hold wet paint. Installing paintable wallpaper is a moderately easy task. Depending on the size of the project, you can complete it in a few hours.

The paint is applied after the wallpaper has dried.


Wallpaper comes in two types. Pre-pasted paper has dried glue on the back. To activate the glue, you must wet the back of the paper. The other type of wallpaper has no glue on it, and you must apply wallpaper paste to it with a brush.


Gather the tools necessary for do-it-yourself wallpaper. You will need a water tub the width of the wallpaper so you can dip the pre-pasted wallpaper into water. This won't be necessary for wallpaper that is not pre-pasted. You will need a sharp razor knife, a straight edge for holding and pressing edges, a seam roller for flattening seams between the paper, a squeegee for rubbing out air bubbles, a large sponge, a work surface large enough for laying out the wallpaper, a tape measure and a pair of scissors.


Applying the wallpaper can be done in several steps. Clean the wall. Measure the paper and cut the ceiling-to-floor length, remembering to leave 2 inches for trimming at ceiling and baseboard. Run the paper through water or apply the paste to the back, fold the paper end-to-end and allow to set for five minutes. Apply the paper to the wall, starting at the top. Smooth it flat with the straight edge or squeegee. Work out any bubbles with the squeegee and trim the ends to fit neatly. When you've butted the next piece against the first one, use the seam roller along its length. Use a large sponge to clean up any oozing paste.


Let the wallpaper dry for at least 24 hours. When it is ready to be painted, apply a latex interior primer to begin with. Follow the drying instructions on the can of primer. Use a medium nap roller when applying the primer and paint; it will help the paint penetrate a raised pattern. Use a fine-bristled trim brush to cut in around the edges of the wallpaper. Apply a latex interior paint with the same medium nap roller and re-apply as necessary.