How to Wallpaper a Ceiling

Summary: Advice on how to wallpaper your ceiling from professional decorators. Wallpapering ceilings tips and tricks with video.

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Wallpapering the ceiling is very much the same as wallpapering the walls except of course its a little trickier! The most important thing before you even start to hang paper on the ceiling is to make sure you have a good, flat, strong platform from which to work. The platform will ideally be just high enough for you to reach the ceiling comfortably. You should not be bent over when working on the ceiling but able to look up normally at the job with enough flex in your elbows to be comfortable and not having to stretch to reach.

Professional artexers and decorators find that old milk crates are just the right height to work comfortably on the ceiling so something that height, with a short scaffold board on top (do not overhang the edge of the crate with the board as this will tip up when weight is put on it) will allow you to walk up and down to unlap the paper while you apply it to the ceiling. You may be able to borrow crates like this from your local supermarket or corner shop and it is a lot less expensive than steps.

Plan of ceilingSee our project on wallpapering to learn how to paste and fold the paper as the technique is exactly the same for walls as it is for ceilings. To start papering a ceiling you must set out your start point just as you would on a wall. The plan to the left is a ceiling which is out of square, as most of them are, but we have perhaps exaggerated it a little! From the plan you can see that if you hung the first piece of paper from point B to point C, following the wall, all of the paper would be at an angle to the two long walls and the job would look awful. Its important to get the paper joints running at 90 degrees to the long walls. To do this you first have to work out where the widest part of the room is. Then you measure the width of the wallpaper from point B along the long wall, to point A and mark this on the wall with a pencil.

Now, measure from this point to the corner at the other end of the room marked D. make a note of this measurement and measure the same distance from point E down the other long wall towards point C. Mark this distance on the wall and it should correspond with the other point A on our plan. The two points marked A should now be opposite each other. Take a look at our project on using a chalk line and "ping" a line between these two points A. This line will allow you to hang your first piece of paper (1) square to the long walls. A chalk line and chalk can be bought from our tool store to the right of this page. The paper should be cut a little longer than the distance between the walls and cut into the corners when it is pasted up. A neat, time saving trick on marking the paper is in the next paragraph.

The paper should be folded as shown in the wallpapering project and applied to the ceiling using a soft brush. Also shown in the other project.

Next comes piece of wallpaper (2). This piece is full width at one end and tapers down to a narrower end. Use the brush to push the paper into the corner of wall - ceiling and then run the back of your scissors gently along this corner. You will notice that, because the paper is wet, the scissors form a light indent in the paper. When the paper is pulled away from the wall a little this indent is the line to cut along. The paper can then be brushed back into the corner. This is also how you can mark and cut the paper at each end of a strip.

Continue to lay the paper to the end of the room and employ the same method with the thin strip number (7) as you did with the angled cut for number (2).

Cut paper for ceiling roseWhen a light fitting is encountered, mark the centre of the fitting on the wallpaper and push through that point with the sharp point of the scissors. Then cut out from this point to the outer edge of the fitting. The leaves of the cut will push out as you push the paper over the fitting and they can be trimmed of with a knife later. Make sure you do this part in the day light as it is not a good idea to have the light on while hanging paper over it. If you read this project in conjunction with our other wallpapering projects you should have no problems completing most types of paper hanging jobs.

Why not take a look at our video section on "suspended ceilings" to watch a three part video on tackling this task. Our video section on wallpapering also has some excellent videos on tackling this popular diy job.


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