How to Add Fixing Wallpaper Bubbles to Your List of Skills
Our homes are the one place that we can make uniquely our own. We tailor our furniture, color schemes, and decor to our personalities.
Why not do the same with our walls?
Most people move into a home and promptly fill up each room. The walls get ignored — aside from hanging shelves and pictures.
For homeowners, this is because they have so much else to do when they first buy a house. But for renters, it’s usually because they think they have no other options. Painting is a time-consuming, expensive, and permanent change. It’s also frequently stipulated in the lease as an expressly forbidden option.
Luckily, for renters who want to make a temporary change or owners who are ready to personalize their walls, wallpaper is the answer.
Many types of wallpaper today are removable. They go up quickly and come down even easier. Other kinds are permanent, so you can hang your wall coverings knowing they’ll be there for as long as you want them.
Yet, the idea of hanging any type of wallpaper as a DIY project is often intimidating to people. The many options available can be overwhelming, for one thing. Then, making sure the final product is free of air bubbles, and flawless turns the task into a daunting undertaking!
Hanging wallpaper is so much easier today than its reputation implies. When you know the basics to get you started — it’s a quick and painless process!
With these tips, anyone can become a DIY wallpaper pro. Once you go through the steps and hang your first strips, the rest is a breeze.
1. Removable or Permanent Wallpaper? The Choice is (Possibly) Yours
If you’re renting and your only option is to go with removable wallpaper, then your single other decision is what style you prefer.
But, if you first must face the task of deciding on permanent vs. removable wall coverings, don’t jump into your answer. You should know a few pieces of relevant background information before you make a decision.
What is “Traditional” or “Removable,” Anyway?
First, let’s define the term “traditional wallpaper.” By “traditional,” it refers to non-woven wallpaper that requires an adhesive element to stick to a surface. This is usually a type of wallpaper paste that the paper soaks in, before adhering to the wall to dry.
Because of the makeup of natural and synthetic materials, removing the wallpaper comes with no shortage of difficulty. However, the paste ensures it stays as long as you want it to, even with gentle cleaning.
Even though you can remove traditional wallpaper, there’s a big difference between it and “removable” options. We label one “removable,” and the other not because of the ease of removing them.
Traditional wallpaper comes down — but not usually in one piece. It tears off painfully, and you can’t reapply it. High-quality removable wallpaper comes down easily without leaving damage behind.
This type of wall covering is also called “reusable,” “peel-and-stick,” or “self-adhesive.” The panels require no soaking, no messy paste, and no major fussing. You just peel off the backing and carefully adhere to the chosen adhesive wall. When you want to change your room’s style, peel the self-adhesive wallpaper off, and replace it!
Understanding what each type of wallpaper is can guide you to your decision. Experts caution that although removable wallpaper sounds like a winner, you have to be careful to apply the adhesive right the first time. The sticky backing is temperamental.
With traditional paper, the wallpaper paste doesn’t dry right away, letting you pull the panel off and readjust as necessary. Even if the glue dries before you’re satisfied, you can always add more and try again.
If you opt for a bold pink wallpaper, take your statement to the next level with one of The Best Pink Sofas for Your Home!
2. An Ounce of Prevention: Be Aware of These Common Mistakes
When it comes to hanging wallpaper, the task gets a bad rep because of the same few mistakes. Being aware of these mistakes before you start can ease you into a smooth hanging job with zero air bubbles.
Don’t go into the task blindly. Learn from those who have been in your shoes and messed up, so you don’t have to!
Skip out on these amateur mistakes if you can:
- Measure accurately. Rolls aren’t going to come in your room’s perfect dimensions, so make sure you estimate erring on the side of “too much.”
- Order extra to compensate for mistakes. It’s easy to cut strips of paper at the wrong angle or mess up when you’re trying to glue the paper to the wall. Don’t assume you’ll have every step perfectly done, no matter how much of an expert you become!
- Don’t toss your scraps. Keep anything longer than a foot in case you need to make repairs down the road. Babies and pets especially love to pull the nearly invisible creases between panels, and when they do, it can become a big eyesore.
- Pay attention to the pattern you chose and how it separates between panels. Some are solid and easy to match. Others, like abstract wallpapers, need staggering to keep separated patterns straight. (Staggered will also require buying more paper because a lot will go to waste.)
- Check for end-matching patterns before you cut your paper. You may have to start hanging in a hidden area, such as over the door, to avoid ending your paper in an unmatching pattern.
- Make sure you order enough the first time. Printed patterns come from what’s called a “dye lot.” If you run out and have to request more, the colors could be from a different dye lot, and the shades might be slightly different.
Now that you’re not going to make those amateurish mistakes — go ahead! Buy your favorite print, some wallpaper paste, and get ready to do some hanging!
If you’ve decided on the self-adhesive path, you might enjoy reading The Best Rainbow Wallpaper for Your Home [+ Additional Decor]
3. DIY Wallpaper Hanging Instructions
Hanging both types of wallpaper requires a bit of prep work to get you started. Your walls need to be clean and ready for their new coverings, so begin there.
- Remove any outlet coverings, light switches, or other fixtures in the way.
- Fill any cracks or holes you see with a compound paste.
- Sand the rough parts down until they’re smooth.
- A coat of primer called “wall-size” is optional, but it can help the paste or adhesive stick better and prevent wallpaper bubbles later.
- Next, get a good feel for the size of the room and the walls.
- Spread your wallpaper roll across the floor along the perimeter of each wall, working away from the door frame.
- Use a pencil to mark where each edge of the wall ends and cut your rolls at those marks.
Now, the next steps depend on whether you went the traditional or peel-and-stick wallpaper route.
Traditional Wallpaper Hanging Steps
One step at a time, you will get your new wallpaper up and looking great!
- First, cut each strip until you have a sheet that is about four inches higher than your wall’s height. Lay it on a flat table, face down, and use a paint roller to apply the paste.
- Then, book the paper, or fold it backward until the top and bottom end meet. Let the wallpaper paste soak in according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Use a tape measure to align the first strip of wallpaper, making sure it is perfectly straight from the sides, top, and bottom of the wall. Unfold the booked paper and let it fall, smooth the paper flush to the surface, and leave a slight overlap along each edge.
- Tuck the overlap against the edge and use a paper trimmer to remove it. Repeat these steps until you finish.
Remember to watch for those mistakes mentioned earlier, so you don’t end up with misaligned patterns. By the time you get three or four panels up, you’ll be in a groove and ready to re-paper the whole house!
Related: Plaster Vs. Drywall [Which One Is Right For You?]
Peel and Stick Wallpaper Steps
Hanging removable wallpaper is a little less messy but a bit trickier.
- First, line the sections of paper up to a vertical edge along the ceiling. Push the vinyl wallpaper against the edge in small, two to four-inch sections and peel the backing slowly. If you pull too much away from the backing at a time, you could end up with the paper sticking to itself.
- Press the paper firmly to the surface. Continue the journey down the wall until the roll has covered the length.
- Tuck the wallpaper against the edge and use a paper trimmer to slice it. Then smooth the paper one final time. Because peel and stick paper matches each strip, you might find it easier to use this kind of coverage when you have patterns.
- Repeat until done! When you have awkward edges, use the scraps that you had leftover to cover them. Try to avoid overlap. Self-adhesive wallpaper doesn’t stick to the top of its neighbor like traditional wallpaper. So even if it sticks immediately, it might peel away over time.
The trick with peel-and-stick wallpaper is to go slowly and take it a few inches at a time. This prevents sticky situations, air bubbles, and creases.
Interested in trying another awesome do-it-yourself home decor project? Read: Using Stained Glass Paint as Your Next DIY Project
4. How to Avoid Air Bubbles and Other Problems
No matter how careful you are, there might be some issues with your wallpaper’s final appearance. They might not show up immediately, but you should keep your eye out for air bubbles and other annoyances.
Wallpaper problems stem from one of a few basic reasons, such as:
- A wall’s surface that wasn’t entirely smooth or prepped correctly
- Too much adhesive on the wall or debris on the glue
- Use of the wrong type of wallpaper paste or adhesive
- Air was stuck between the wall and the paper when it dried.
It’s okay! It happens.
But since you worked so hard to hang the wallpaper, you’ve got to fix those imperfections.
5. Steps to Fixing Wallpaper Bubbles
Unless you intentionally chose bubble wallpaper*, you likely would rather do without the air bubbles in your final product! Just like you mastered hanging the paper, you’ll quickly get a feel for fixing those wallpaper bubbles.
- First, you’ll need to gather supplies. Head to your hardware store or check your toolbox for a utility knife, regular glue, and a roller. You’ll also need a syringe (like what you’d use for dispensing a baby’s medication) and a damp sponge.
- Then, take the utility knife and slice a small horizontal slit to pop the bubble. Make this as tiny as possible to keep it hidden. Push against the bubble to release the air.
- Pour a little glue into the syringe. Less than one teaspoon should be enough. Squeeze the paste into the tiny slit, then use a roller to re-adhere the paper to the wall. Take the damp sponge and use it wipe off any glue that made it out of the slit.
- That simple, you have fixed those annoying wallpaper bubbles, and you have a flawless room!
*Yes, it exists! This bubbles wallpaper might be the best way to hide air bubbles without having to re-do your hanging! Check out this fun, colorful bubble print, too.
Related reading: How to Make a DIY Neon Sign
Hanging wallpaper yourself isn’t as intimidating as it sounds if you do your research ahead of time. Knowing what you’re getting into and how to avoid making wallpaper bubbles or other mistakes makes for a simple process!
Now you know how to make a smart decision about which type of high-quality paper to use. Whether you go with traditional or self-adhesive, you can fix those wallpaper bubbles and other annoying mistakes if they show up.
You’ve got the DIY know-how to be a wallpaper-hanging master!