How to Apply a Wallpaper Border

A wallpaper border is an easy way to add style, design and color to any room. It’s much easier to apply than a full sheet of wallpaper and you can choose to install it at the top of the room’s edge, by the ceiling, with or without a chair rail at chair rail height, or about three-quarters of the way up the wall. This allows you add some design exactly where you want it.

Measuring for a Wallpaper Border
Measuring a room for a wallpaper border is quite simple – just measure the perimeter of the room. However, plan on a little extra to account for overlapping the border in the corners and for the “pattern repeat”. The pattern repeat is the distance between the repetition of the pattern and when you finish one roll and start another, you may have to cut off several inches from the new roll to match the pattern where the old roll left off. Generally, purchasing one extra roll is ideal and you should make sure that each roll came from the same dye lot; this will assure a perfect match in color and intensity of the design.

Making sure the Border Adheres to the Wall
Most wallpaper borders come pre-pasted; however, if you are installing a border on top of other wallpaper, this adhesive will not do the job. You will need to apply special vinyl-to-vinyl wallpaper border adhesive to the back of the border to get it to adhere properly to a wallpapered wall. To make the job easier, cover a table with a tarp or old table cloth and lay the border, design side down on the table so that you can apply the adhesive to the back. Use a wallpaper brush to evenly coat the border then “book it”, or fold it gently in on itself with the adhesive sides together. Don’t worry, it won’t stick together this way.

If you are going to apply a pre-pasted border to a painted wall, you won’t need to apply extra adhesive. Just soak the border in a wallpaper trough or bathtub, letting it rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Book it as described above and you’re ready to hang the border.

Hanging the Border
Since you’ll be dealing with a long strip of wet paper, it’s useful to have a helper for this part of the job; but if you’ll be working alone, scaffolding is a smart way to stay safe if you are applying the border just below the ceiling. If you are installing the border lower on the wall, use a chair rail as a guide or lightly draw a level guide line with a pencil. Start at an inconspicuous place, such as behind a door, and apply the border to the wall, unrolling the booking and smoothing it out on the wall as you go. Keep the border straight and level, pressing out any wrinkles or bubbles with a damp sponge. When you reach a corner, press the paper firmly into the corner and run it around to the adjacent wall. Then cut the paper off so that only about ½-inch remains beyond the corner. Overlap your next piece over that ½-inch section, matching the pattern from the corner. Use a sharp razor to keep your cuts clean and neat. Continue in this fashion all the way around the room.

Writer/Designer, Angela Glancy, writes for AmericanArtisanArt.com and has many ideas for bringing the beauty of butterfly wall hangings and tropical fish wall sculptures to your interiors.

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