Complete Guide to Peel & Stick Wallpaper Success

Complete Guide to Peel & Stick Wallpaper Success

Peel-and-stick wallpaper can be daunting for many of you. I've heard from folks across the world who struggle to find installers. But guess what? You can do it yourself, or get in touch and we will be happy to make some recommendations. Let's talk about hanging peel-and-stick wallpaper and transform that nightmare into a fun DIY project.

Prepping the Wall

Step 1: De-Texturizing

If you’re starting with a textured wall, to make it ready for peel-and-stick wallpaper,you’ll need to smooth it out. Your wallpaper won't adhere properly to a textured surface. Iif you don’t want to de-texturize, then you’re best to choose a wallpaper that uses paste, either pre-pasted paper, or non-pasted - we have all options for your convenience.

Your wall must be as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Many folks think their walls are smooth enough, but peel-and-stick wallpaper requires a perfectly flat surface if you want long lasting results. This step is more important than the skill level of the installer.

To achieve this, apply a skim coat over the textured wall. This involves spreading a thin layer of joint compound to fill in the textured surface, creating a smooth finish. It may take a couple of coats to get it just right, and after each coat, you'll need to sand the wall to ensure it's perfectly smooth. This can be a dusty process, so make sure to cover your furniture and floors, and wear a mask to protect yourself from inhaling the dust.

Ensuring a Perfect Surface

Step 2: Sealing the Wall

Next, we need to seal the wall to prevent porosity. Peel-and-stick wallpaper needs a non-porous surface, much like glass. If the wall is porous, air can escape and cause bubbles between the wall and the wallpaper.

After applying a skim coat, use a sealer to lock in the air and create a perfect surface for the wallpaper. Apply two coats of sealer for the best results. This prevents bubbles by keeping air from escaping through the wall. The sealer creates a barrier, ensuring that the adhesive on the wallpaper can properly bond to the wall without any interruptions from escaping air or moisture.

Think of it this way: when you seal the wall, you're locking in all the tiny pores that can cause problems later on. A sealed wall mimics the properties of glass, which is non-porous and ideal for wallpaper adhesion. This step is crucial and cannot be skipped if you want a flawless finish.

If you’re starting over a pre-painted wall - then happily your wall is already sealed - make sure to fill any cracks, old nail holes, or any other non-smooth areas with putty, sand them smooth, and ideally paint them to ensure a seal.  On pre-painted areas, give the wall a good wash to remove any oils, dirt and dust that may impact adhesion. Make sure to let the wall dry completely before attempting to install the wallpaper.

Hanging the Wallpaper

Step 3: Applying the Wallpaper

Once the sealer or your clean wall is dry, you’re ready to hang the wallpaper. Here are a few tools you'll need:

  • Clean microfiber cloths
  • A bucket for your ladder
  • A spray bottle of water (to help if the wallpaper gets stuck to itself)

Start by peeling back about 6 inches of the backing paper and smooth the wallpaper onto the wall using your hand or a smoothing tool. Work from the middle outwards, like the shape of a Christmas tree branch, to prevent bubbles. Keep smoothing and checking for bubbles as you go.

As you peel and stick, make sure to keep the wallpaper aligned with any patterns or designs. Misalignment can be quite noticeable, especially with intricate patterns. Take your time and double-check your work frequently to ensure everything lines up perfectly.

Dealing with Bubbles

Listen for bubbles as you smooth out the wallpaper. If you hear any, use your smoothing tool to push them out. For the second sheet, follow the same process: peel, smooth, and align.

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is thick and high-quality, so invest in a good product to ensure a beautiful final look. Cheap products will only lead to frustration. At Wallpaper Cottage, out peel and stick options are of the highest quality - sure to give a great, long lasting finish.

Tips for Success

Here are some additional tips to help ensure your peel-and-stick wallpaper project is a success:

  1. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Before you even start applying the wallpaper, measure your wall and cut the wallpaper to size, leaving a little extra at the edges. This extra can be trimmed off later for a perfect fit.
  2. Use a Level: To ensure your wallpaper is straight, use a level to draw a straight line on the wall where you’ll start. This will act as a guide and help keep everything aligned.
  3. Work in Small Sections: Don’t try to peel off too much of the backing paper at once. Working in small sections will give you more control and help prevent the wallpaper from sticking to itself.
  4. Have Patience: Take your time with this project. Rushing can lead to mistakes and misalignment. If you need to take a break, do so. It’s better to take your time and get it right.
  5. Enlist Help: If possible, get a friend to help you. Having an extra pair of hands can make the process much easier, especially when dealing with large sheets of wallpaper.

Finishing Touches

After you’ve applied all the sheets, go over the entire wall with your smoothing tool to ensure there are no remaining bubbles. Pay extra attention to the seams where the sheets meet, as these areas are prone to lifting if not properly adhered.

Once you’re satisfied with the application, trim any excess wallpaper at the edges using a sharp utility knife. Be careful and take your time to avoid tearing the wallpaper. Press with even consistency, and change blades regularly if you’re doing a big job - you want a sharp blade to optimal, clean cuts.

Final Thoughts

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a fantastic way to transform any room quickly and easily. By following these steps, you can achieve a professional-looking finish without the need for a professional installer. Remember, the key to success is in the preparation. Ensuring your wall is smooth, sealed, and properly prepped will make all the difference.

By investing a little time and effort, you can turn your peel-and-stick wallpaper project from a potential nightmare into a fun and rewarding DIY experience.

Want to put what you've learned to use?  Grab one of our premium peel and stick wallpapers today!

Check Out Our Sadie Witch Wallpaper Today!

Back to blog
1 of 3