How to Decorate a Wall Using Paper

Danita Fausek

Wall finishes are changing constantly. From faux paint finishes to wallpaper, new techniques are evolving as quickly as interior design styles change. A fun way to get that unique finish for your room is to use paper instead of wallpaper. The paper can be brown wrapping paper, newsprint, sewing patterns, book pages or drawings. Whatever you are interested in can become a personal style that is all about you. Using some basic wallpapering techniques, it is easy to cover any wall in the paper of your choice.

Create your own wall finish by using paper on your walls
  1. Prepare your paper. No matter the type of paper you will be using to cover your walls, take time to get a large amount ready to use in advance of applying it to your walls. For example, if you are going to use book pages, cut or tear the pages out of the book that you wish to use. Having more than one copy of the book is wise so that you can use both sides of the pages. If you are going to use patterns, unfold the pages and flatten them. Rolls of brown paper should be torn into manageable sizes, no larger than a pie plate. Stack them and set aside.

  2. Mix the Elmer's glue and water in equal parts. (Other white, or PVC-type, glues may be substituted.) For every cup of glue you should use a cup of water. Place the glue and water into a plastic bucket and stir well.

  3. Apply the glue onto the paper using hands covered with plastic gloves. Using hands rather than a brush for this step will give a more textured look to the finished wall. Fold the paper in half, glue sides together, and put aside. Glue a number of sheets to work with before placing them on the wall.

  4. Unfold the paper carefully. Place on the wall starting at a straight edge. Lightly smooth the paper onto the wall, being careful not to tear it. Continue applying the paper to the wall, finishing the edges first, then filling in the center sections. Overlap the paper slightly as you are placing it on the wall. Allow to dry for at least 12 hours.

  5. Apply a sealing coat of the glue over the top of the paper once it has completely dried, again, using hands covered by latex gloves. Once again, using your hands rather than a brush gives a more interesting look to the wall. Allow to dry at least 24 hours.