We added a wallpaper accent wall in my son’s bedroom with comic book wallpaper. It turned out pretty fantastic, but there were a few issues along the way. Find out what we did and get my tips for hanging wallpaper so that you can learn from my mistakes.
Wallpaper might have been a big deal in the 80s, but it’s kind of making a comeback. Adding a single wallpaper accent wall and leaving the rest of the room painted really looks cool.
My son’s bedroom has a fairly generic “geek” theme. Our family loves a wide range of geeky things – Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, etc. My son has collected an assortment of artwork from comic cons and other places, so he really wanted his room to be a bit of everything.
When I showed him this comic book wallpaper from Art.com, I knew it would be perfect. It’s more like a giant poster than wallpaper. They call it a mural and it measures 62-inches wide by 91.5-inches tall. It comes in two pieces – a top half and a bottom half.
The first one we ordered arrived damaged, but their customer service was excellent and they quickly sent out a new one at no charge and let us keep the first one. This worked out fantastically because we were able to salvage some of it and cover the whole wall instead of just part of it.
Tips for creating a wallpaper accent wall
1. Paint first.
Since we were putting the wallpaper only on one wall, it made sense to paint the other three walls first. I also painted the baseboards, ceiling, and trim around the door. I haven’t tried it, but I suspect that trying to put painter’s tape over wallpaper is a bad idea.
2. Read the instructions a lot.
There is more than one kind of wallpaper and they aren’t put up the same way. If you have the classic woven kind, you’ll probably need to put the wallpaper paste on the paper; if you have the paper kind, you’ll need to put it on the wall.
When in doubt, watch a few videos online. We found one on the wallpaper manufacturer’s website that was helpful.
3. Work on the right day.
Weather is an important part of hanging wallpaper. It can’t be too humid (rainy) or too hot or cold.
4. Let the paper rest.
Start by unrolling the wallpaper and laying it out flat. We put a few books on top of the corners. A relaxed piece of paper will be easier to hang than one that keeps trying to roll back up.
5. Prepare the wall.
Make sure the wall is clean and dry by going over it with a cloth first. Our wall was also textured. While it didn’t affect the paper too much, you can see some texture in a few places. If your wall is heavily textured, you might want to smooth it first.
6. Plan, plan, plan.
The “measure twice, cut once” adage is important here. It is tricky to go around corners and doors, so make sure everything lines up before you cut.
7. Cut the paper smaller if possible.
Our wallpaper was a comic book print, so cutting it smaller wouldn’t have worked. Can you imagine trying to line up those edges?
But there’s a reason that traditional wallpaper is skinny. It’s much easier to get smooth than a wide piece (which is what we had).
8. Use more paste.
We started by rolling on a thin layer of paste with a paint roller and it didn’t hold well. It took a pretty thick coat of paste and Hubby still had to come back and touch up a few corners and edges to get a good hold.
9. Paper over outlets.
Cutting around outlets and light switches sounds like it would be tedious, but this was probably the easiest part. For this outlet, we just put the paper right over it. After the wall was done, Hubby just came back with a razor blade and cut the inside out. Once we put the plate back up, you couldn’t tell whether the edges were neat or not.
10. Know that wallpaper stretches.
I don’t know about the woven kind, but this paper wallpaper stretched once it was wet with paste. It shrank a little as it dried, which was helpful with the wrinkles. If you stretch it too much though, it will probably pull away from the edges.
11. Smooth from the center out.
Instead of trying to work from one side to the other, it’s helpful to smooth from the center out. This moves the air bubbles to the edges instead of just pushing them around under the paper.
12. Use a straight edge.
Instead of cutting and then pasting, we pasted the paper on the wall and then smoothed it to the edge. Hubby used a paint straight edge and a razor blade to cut the paper exactly at the edge of the wall, ceiling, and baseboards.
13. Expect some wrinkles.
We hadn’t hung wallpaper before so we didn’t really know what to expect. Because the paper pieces were so large, it was impossible to smooth them across the wall 100 percent without wrinkles. Once it dried they weren’t too noticeable, but our work isn’t flawless.
14. Think outside the box.
If you’re looking at my wallpaper accent wall and thinking it’s awesome but expensive, I’ve got a few suggestions. First, remember that I only paid for one set and I used cash back through Ebates to make it cheaper. Second, consider using something else.
Based on the texture of my wallpaper, I would say that you can use a lot of other materials and get the same results. Posters, heavy gift wrap, and any thick paper will probably do the job. I wouldn’t recommend anything too thin. I think actual comic book pages would probably not work as well.
I’m happy with how our wallpaper accent wall turned out and more importantly, so is my son. His bedroom looks pretty awesome and he has declared it “done.” Altogether, this project took about six hours and cost roughly $50.