Tricky Spots

Tackling the Tricky Spots

Don't be intimidated by what you perceive to be those tricky spots on your wall. It's easy to maneuver around those electric outlets, cupboards, fixtures, archways and more with a few easy steps. Here is where the problem areas are, and how you can work around them like a pro.


Inside Corners

New house or old, you'll rarely find a perfectly straight inside corner. DON'T try to wrap a while strip of wallpaper around the corner. Instead:

Measure the distance from the edge of the last strip hung to the corner at the top, bottom and middle, and them add ½" to your widest measurement

Cut this width from your next strip

Hang the first portion of the strip. It will overlap ½" onto the new wall at the widest part, but may not overlap the entire length of the strip

Make a diagonal clip in the corner of the ceiling and baseboard overlaps

Measure the width of the other pieceDrop a plumb line at this distance on the new wallHang the remaining piece, aligning it with the new plumb line. Allow the other side to overlap in the corner

Note: If using vinyl wallcovering, secure the overlap with vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive.

Tip: It is more important that the wallcovering be aligned with the plumb line than to have a perfect match in the corner. This mismatch will be minimized by illusion anyway.

Outside Corners

Hanging around an Outside Corner

With outside corners, you can usually wrap the wallcovering right around the edge, unless the walls are badly out of line. Snip the 2" excess at ceiling and baseboard, so the wallcovering will turn the corner smooth out as usual.

Tip: Because a straight corner is highly unlikely, there probably will be a slight pattern drop or slant at the ceiling edge. It will be less noticeable if you measure the length of the walls before hanging and start on the longer wall.

Ending on an Outside Corner

Trim the wallcovering ¼" from the edge with your razor knife to avoid fraying and peeling along the edge. The simplest way to do this is to wrap it around the corner, trim it with a razor and straight edge and then pull off the excess. Be sure to wash the paste off the wall immediately.

Electric Switches and Outlets

Remove all plates before beginning the project. Hang the strip in the usual manner, right over the opening. Take your razor blade and make and "X" - shaped cut over the opening and up to each corner. Then trim away the excess along each edge.

Safety Tip: Always turn off the electricity when working around outlets.

Getting Around Cupboards

When you're papering kitchens and baths encountering cupboards is inevitable. You can get around them quite effortlessly with these simple instructions.

Strip that Goes Along Cupboard:

  1. Measure from the last strip hung to the cupboard at the top, middle and bottom of
    the cupboard. Take the widest measurement and add 1" to it.

2. With a pencil and straight edge, rule this measurement on the backside of the new
    strip,starting from the matching side of the strip. Carefully cut the strip in two,
    using scissors or a sharp razor knife and straight edge.

3. Work with the side of the strip that goes over to the cupboard first. Wet if prepasted
    or paste if unpasted. Match this strip to the strip already on the wall and smooth
    down. It will overlap onto the cupboard. Clip the overlap corners and trim away
    excess on the cupboard only.

Remaining half of the Strip:

  1. Measure the distance from the ceiling to the top of the cupboard, and cut this portion
    1" longer (Plus whatever you have overlapping on the ceiling from trimming), from
    the remaining side of the strip.

    Tip: The best way to do this is to hold the piece up, matching it, then cut it slightly
    longer (1") than where the match hits the top of the cupboard

2. Do the same thing underneath the cupboard, working with the bottom part of
    the strip.

    Tip: DON'T try to save paper by using the middle of the strip at the bottom. The key
    to this method is that where you cut the pieces vertically, you're creating your own
    perfect butt seam.

3. Wet or paste the remaining two pieces, match and hang. They should fit perfectly
    with the first half and the seam you created will virtually disappear.

4. Trim away the overlaps

5. Wash paste off cupboard

6. Continue to hang over the top and under the bottom of the cupboards, with short
    pieces that match.

This gives you a basic understanding of the steps and will allow you to tackle most situations.

Plumbing Fixtures and Radiators

If you're handy enough, or have a handy man around, objects like the tank on the toilet can be removed. Then you merely have to cut a slit over to the pipe from the closest edge, and cut a hole. When the object cannot be removed, gently slip the wallcovering down behind the fixture and smooth it down with a yardstick covered with a soft cloth to eliminate damaging the wallcovering.


Tip: Always hang a ceiling before hanging the walls

When papering the ceiling, it's easier to hang shorter strips (width-wise in the room), but consider the whole room when deciding which direction to go.

To Paper the Ceiling:

  1. Make a guideline on the ceiling (like on walls) by subtracting ½" from the width of
    the wallcovering (20½" width, measure 20").

2. Measure this distance out from both ends of the ceiling and mark with thumb tacks.

3. Attach a chalked string and snap a plumb line.

4. Cut your strips 4" longer than needed for a 2" overlap at each end.

5. Follow the pasting or wetting instructions included in the roll.

6. Align the first strip with the plumb line (it will overlap ½" on the adjoining wall.
    Have someone hold the rest of the strip for you as you smooth it down

7. Continue hanging adjacent matching strips.

Note: If you are hanging the ceiling only, trim the excess with a sharp razor knife and broad knife. If you're going to cover the sidewalls, trim it so there is a ¼" overlap on to the sidewalls.

Rectangular Archways

Measuring and Starting:

With your yardstick in hand and the width of the wallcovering in your head, you can plan the strips so they "fall" into position, making it easy to wrap the arch. The width of the arch and the width of the wallcovering will determine where you start measuring - from the left to right or from the middle of the arch out in each direction.

Tip: When a rectangular arch is involved, plan that wall first. After planning where the arch strips fall, measure backward to your starting corner.

Arch Strip "A"
This strip should fall so that enough of the right hand side overlaps the arch to cover it. A horizontal cut will be made precisely at the top edge of the arch over the wall. Then the wallcovering below that cut will drop around the left hand vertical side of the arch.

Arch Strip "B"
These strips will be short headers. Cut these long enough to wrap around the underside of the arch.

Arch Strip "C"
This strip should be wide enough to wrap around the arch after the horizontal cut is made precisely at the top edge of the arch.

After hanging these strips, you'll still need to fill in the area on the underside of the arch at the extreme left and right. Cut matching pieces. Tuck the "top ends" under the wallcovering on the face of the arch, where the horizontal cuts were made, and smooth the piece onto the underside of the arch, filling the space.

Tip: Brush a compatible paint color along the underside of the arch before you hang. This will hide the seam if the paper experiences shrinkage.

Note: If you are not wallpapering the wall on the other side of the arch, trim it ¼" shy of the edge to prevent fraying. If you are wallpaper the wall on the other side, wrap all pieces around to that wall slightly and trim to a ½" overlap.

Curved Archways

This is similar to rectangular archway hanging, except that when hanging paper on a curved archway, a separate piece must be used to cover the inside of the arch.

Measuring and Starting:

Tip: With a curved arch, plan ahead so that you end up with about 2" at the edge of the doorway to wrap to the inside. It's fine if there is more, but you don't want to be caught with less.

Hang the strips around and above the arch in the usual manner, letting the excess hang freely in the doorway.

Cut any excess away leaving 2" to wrap to the inside.

In the curved area, make small wedge-shaped clips snipping close to the edge. Wrap the wallcovering to the inside of the arch, and smooth down
Covering the Archway

To cover the archway, cut two pieces ½" less than the width of the arch and long enough to cover from the middle of the arch down the sides.

Figure the pattern match from the bottom up. Then hang the strips from the center down the sides, with the edge of the wallcovering in ¼" from the edge of the archway.

If vinyl, use vinyl to vinyl adhesive on the overlap.

Note: If you do not want to cover the inside of the arch, use a very sharp razor blade and straight edge (a curved ruler would be perfect) to trim away ¼" from the arch edge on the wall. Remove the excess and wash off the paste.

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