Wall Work

Happy belated V-day all you sweethearts out there! This past weekend Yuri and I got to do some wallpapering! Unfortunately not in our house…yet. Slow poke is still working. Rather, we did a wallpaper job for friends of Yuri and got PAID for it! My favorite kind of work. They have a very nice casa off the Main Line in PA, but the wallpaper in their office was over 25 years old, peeling and needed a change.

Before old wallpaper

So several weeks ago they asked us to apply the wallpaper for them because they know we’re handy like that :-). Although I’ve applied wallpaper numerous times in the past, it had been a while since the last time, but it’s almost like riding a bike, you never forget. There were a couple of challenges with this particular new wallpaper they selected. For one, it was not pre-pasted, so we had to purchase two containers of glue. If anyone has ever applied wallpaper glue, get ready to be really sticky!! Also it was a grass-cloth hemp paper. If you’ve seen or experienced hemp paper you know the stuff is like laying fabric on the wall. It frays if not cut properly with a REALLY sharp knife.

What fraying looks like!

Cost is another factor with most bolt prices range from $100 to $550, with the average from $200 to $250. Accidents are costly! If you accidentally get glue on the face, it’s just like getting glue on fabric. It’ll stick and it’s very hard to wash off. You may have to resort to picking the glue beads off…carefully. On the plus side, it’s really thick, so it’s a great cover-up for messy, dinged walls. It’s also very unique! They can come in solid colors or patterns. I prefer the patterned grasscloth paper because you can’t see the panels as well as you do with solid colors.

Solid Color Grass-cloth:

Plaza Towers Condo Renovation modern-bedroom


Turquoise Bed with trundle traditional-kids


Contemporary Bedroom contemporary-bedroom


Printed Grass-cloth:

Pretty stuff! So here’s a little breakdown on how we applied the wallpaper. Of course we started with the tedious task of peeling the old stuff off. We used hot water spray and scrapers. On a scale of 1 to 10 in difficulty, it was a 7. What do you expect from 25 year old paper? Another thing is, they were plaster walls, so it was a bit easier to take off. If they were drywall…O BOY! Drywall and old paper don’t mix.¬† After peeling, we spackled any holes/imperfections in the wall, let that dry overnight then Yuri went back the next day after work, sanded and spackled again any places that were missed then sanded again. We cleaned the walls with a damp rag/sponge then applied Zinsser Clear Wall Size wallpaper ready primer with a paintbrush for edges and a roller for wall coverage. It helps prepare surfaces for wallpaper and borders with adhesion. We let this dry overnight then came back for the wallpaper application.

These are the tools we used:

  • Paste
  • Level
  • Utility knife
  • Plastic smoother
  • Brush
  • Measure tape
  • Putty knife
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel (damp) for messes
  • Step stool
  • Pencil
  • Pandora (Gotta work with music!)

How to apply:

  1. Measure the height of your wall space.
  2. I always start my first piece in the middle, so mark the center of the wall and use a level to draw your line edge. The first piece is the most important!
  3. Cut panel according to wall height. Be sure to give 2 extra inches at the top and bottom for placement. Nothing worse than cutting your panel too short.
  4. Apply a semi-thin coat of glue/paste with a brush or roller.
  5. Take your pasted panel and line up to the leveled line you drew on the wall.
  6.  Smooth out paper with plastic smoother. Get ALL air bubbles out! Take your time.
  7. Cut with your SHARP utility knife the top and bottom.
  8. Recheck for bubbles again.
  9. Stand back and marvel your work!
  10. Repeat until complete.
Yuri was the gluer….


…and I was the applier.

In between a little play break with our clients’ dog Bean! What a good doggie!


After a long 9 hour day, we completed their office. They loved the results which makes me happy! A lesson my Contractor should learn. Happy clients = REFERRALS!

Now I’m pumped to lay some paper in our own house! I’ve decided to paper two rooms. Ina’s room and the girls bathroom. They will be half wallpaper on the top and shiplap/beadboard on the bottom. The fun part is picking what design to use!

2 Comment

  1. Hey Cousin! You and Yuri did a very nice job on that!! My house was wallpapered from the top to the bottom. It must have been there since the 1970s, because it was almost impossible to take down…lol; I ended up painting over most of it, because my frustration levels were rising…haha

    I cannot wait to see what the wallpapering will look like in your house! Look forward to more updates. Love ya!!

    1. Wallpaper can be a blessing or a curse. They now have removable wallpaper that takes down so much easier than that 70’s stuff!

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