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How to paper a ceiling

Posted by Adrian
September 16th, 2010

Graphic of a ceiling being papered

How to paper a ceiling

Papering a ceiling can be a daunting thought for many people. I recently had to paper a ceiling with lining paper. The client required the existing paper to be removed, which was an Anaglypta.

After removing the paper, filling the cracks and giving the entire ceiling a good rub down I then re-papered it with 1400 gauge lining paper leaving a smooth flat surface in preparation for painting.

So how do you paper a ceiling?

If you have someone to help you it is an easier job but you can do it yourself.
Firstly you need to work out how many rolls of paper you need, to do this use our ceiling wallpaper calculator.

Next ensure the ceiling is prepared properly, do this by filling any cracks and holes, rubbing the ceiling down and ensuring any stains are blocked out first.

Next, measure the length of the room, for example the ceiling I did was just under 3.7 metres. I then cut the paper allowing enough for trimming at both ends, so in my case I cut the paper at 3.7 metres.

When you have cut the paper you need to mark a straight line or guide marks on the ceiling to follow to get the paper on straight. Measure the width of the paper, lining paper is 56cm wide. Allow for trimming and mark the ceiling from the wall with a pencil, I marked at 54cm allowing 2cm for trimming the edge.
If you have someone who can help you the best way is to mark the ceiling at each end and then use a chalk line to mark the ceiling.

Once you have done your guide marks on the ceiling you need to prepare the ladders or scaffolding etc that you will be using. Now you can paste the paper, make sure it is well pasted and you cover all the edges; fold the paper in a concertina style, allow the paper to soak until supple, for lining paper I allow 10 minutes.

When the paper is ready take the first concertina and put the edge against your guide marks or chalk line allow for trimming and the end also, hold the rest of the paper in one hand and brush out any bubbles. Then unfold the next concertina and smooth out, do this until you get to the end, you can then check the paper is on your marks, if not you should be able to slide the paper a bit until it is.

Next trim both of the ends and the edge.

If you have someone to help you get them to hold the concertinaed paper whilst you smooth out the bubbles and align the edge.

Once the first sheet is in place you can paste the next sheet and put this up, do this by again allowing enough for trimming and the end, butt the edge of the paper with the previous sheet and continue to the end. Carry on doing this until you have finished your ceiling, you then need to allow 24 hours for the paste to dry before painting.

You will no doubt have some sort of light fitting on your ceiling, when you get to this you will need to cut around it. Cut around in small sections removing the paper as you go. Ensure the electric supply is turned off before removing any part of a light fitting.

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Posted in Decorating Tips | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “How to paper a ceiling”

  1. Shishir Mehta Says:

    Excellent, well detailed with diagrams and written contents, very easy to understand even for a lay man like myself.Thank You

    Date posted : May 26th, 2016 at 1:08 pm
  2. Lester Says:

    Great. If you have an oblong room and the window on the long side, do you start at the non window side or the window side? And do you use fewer long strips (ie the length of the room) or more shorter strips across the room? Or doesn’t it matter? Thanks

    Date posted : June 4th, 2016 at 6:29 pm
  3. Adrian Says:


    You normally, if you can, work away from the light.

    When I paper ceilings I do which ever is easiest for me, depending on the lenght of the room I will go with shorter strips as it is easier for one person. If there are more than one person you can do long lengths. it is really personal preference.

    Date posted : June 5th, 2016 at 2:16 pm

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