Saturday, 18 February 2017


Here is how I wallpaper a room - in minutest detail......

 Bit of a note first.... MDF is thirsty wood.... I always coat all the surfaces with some ordinary household matt emulsion at the building stage to help seal it a little so that when I come to paint or wallpaper the project wood doesn't just 'suck off' the paint or glue.  If you haven't done this, you will need to prime the wood in some way before papering - watered down PVA is one way to do it -  otherwise the glue will soak into the wood and the paper can come away from the walls.

cut paper

Measure the height of the room and, if you are going to add a coving and a skirting, measure the width of those and work out how much paper you want to go behind them to give you a neat edge and how much of the wall you want left exposed for gluing the trim to securely.  If you use a fairly standard coving and skirting you are basically going to leave roughly half an inch of wood below and half an inch above your paper.  In this case my strip was - ten inch room height, less one inch (the two half inches), so I cut three pieces of paper into nine inch (tall) strips.

Preferably cut the paper with a knife using a steel rule as a guide; this will give you sharper and straighter edges than scissors do.  Now you are ready to start papering.   Always start at the back of the room.
cut oversize
[Try to imagine the chimney breast has not been papered!]  Cut a piece a bit wider than the area you are about to cover, in this case it is an alcove area.
fold one edge

Make a really sharp fold one quarter of an inch wide along one edge.  I actually mark the reverse side of the paper in a couple of places in pencil, put metal ruler along the marks and very, very, lightly score with my knife - this cuts some of the fibres in the paper and lets you make a really sharp crease when you fold the edge over.

trying the cut piece

Put the folded edge right into the corner, letting the little flap overlap onto the side wall.  Run your fingernails or tool of choice along the other edge.  If, as in this case you are joining to a chimney breast you would now add a little quarter of an inch flap to this side too.  Basically you want all the walls that face you to have little overlaps on to the side walls - these will be covered with the side wall (and chimney breast) papers and this will cover any nasty gaps in the dolls house walls.  I promise you there is no visible bump in the paper when its finished.  
Paste and stick the paper back in place.

unfasten the hinge

Because I like to put my main house doors on before decorating the inside I have to remove the hinge for papering or painting.  You want to avoid doing this too often (it should really only be necessary this once) as MDF is not a great wood for holding screws and they are very tiny.  You can always put the teeniest bit of superglue on the screw when you put it back in, but that's probably overkill.

The alternative, of course, is to work round the hinges.
border adhesive

I am using my usual border adhesive, fairly generously.  You can spread it with a brush or plastic glue spreader - or tool of choice.  I use my fingers - I can be sure it goes to (indeed, over) the edges of the paper and that it is a regular depth and I can feel any little bit of rubbish that may have escaped on to it.  Mystery where the bits come from!

dobbing cloth

Put the wallpaper in place, making absolutely sure you are running perfectly down the edges where the walls join and work your way away from there until it is all down.  Dab it down gently all over with a balled up soft cloth.  The action is called pouncing - I have no idea why

door solution

If you are papering a wall with a door already in place or just a door opening the aperture will need to be cut out first.  I have papered over the aperture (no door in place) waited for the paper to dry and then cut out the paper out from the space with a knife.  This works OK and is probably the only way to deal with a curved archway for instance.

However if you already have a door set in place you can run one strip of paper right along the wall having cut out the shape of the doorway first.  I have tried that only once..... expletive, expletive.....Now.....if I have a door to circumnavigate, I cut the paper the length of the wall.  I then I measure the length needed across the top of the door from its back edge to the front edge of the wall and cut off this strip.  Out of that I cut space for the door and the frame, measuring carefully.  I stick this upside-down, L-shaped piece in place.
can't see the join

The remaining rectangle is then just fitted in place.  If you have measured well, it will butt neatly up to the over-door paper and snug equally neatly into the back corner, covering the little flap of paper from the other wall.

all done

In this photo you can see that all the tops and bottoms finish all over the place, there is even a small gap above the door: this absolutely not a problem, the trims will cover all of these just fine.

One papered room drying out and waiting for its trims.



  1. Hello Marilyn,
    Once again your explanations are clear and your photos are very helpful. I use almost exactly the same technique.
    Big hug

    1. Thanks Giac, Like all explanations they seem fine when I write them but I confess they are not so great if I read them them again a long time later. I did do a wallpapering YouTube video which shows it happening so that might be easier to follow. Not that you need it obviously. marilyn

  2. Hi Em!
    I think that your wallpapering results are FAB! Striped paper is one of those patterns which have to be applied Perfectly especially in miniature because being off even by a little can break the illusion, especially towards the back of the room; so BEAUTIFULLY DONE, you!

    and you are RIGHT about NOT trying to cut one continuous piece of wallpaper with the door opening removed- it is iffy at the best of times in trying to get it on the walls without the paper wrinkling badly, so Your way of cutting an L-shape to fit around it first, is a VERY GOOD one-
    far less headaches in the end! :D


    1. I confess to being a bit worried about drunken stripes so I was very happy when it turned out OK. The walls must be pretty vertical too it seems. The cut by the door does work just fine as the match is only a couple of inches long at the most once the door trim and ceiling trims are in place and it should match perfectly any way because you are continuing the wall with the same piece that you sliced through for the doorway shape. I quickly tired of trying to wrap round doors successfully. M