For a modern, chic look in your bedroom, dining room or living room, learn how to hang cloth wallpaper instead of painting your walls or hanging ordinary wallpaper. Though crafted for durability, cloth wallpaper (also known as linen wallpaper or fabric wallpaper) retains the casual texture of canvas, on which embroidery or prints look more relaxed and appealing than fake imitations on ordinary wallpaper. Unlike Marouflage, which is the process of hanging canvas on a wall to paint a mural that can later be removed, hanging linen wallpaper is more like hanging ordinary wallpaper with a few unique exceptions. Learn all you need to know about how to hang cloth wallpaper, and check out the links to different linen wallpaper designs to inspire your home decorating.
Here’s What You’ll Need to Hang Cloth Wallpaper
Thick floor covering
Sharp utility knife
Long metal ruler
Soft paint brush
Follow These Steps to Hang Cloth Wallpaper
#1. Determine How Much Linen Wallpaper You’ll Need
Unlike ordinary wallpaper, cloth wallpaper requires you to buy about 10% more of the product to allow for edge trimming. As you hang cloth wallpaper you’ll want the strips to meet flawlessly without fraying. You’ll need to trim each edge for that purpose. Therefore, multiply the width and the height of the walls in the room you wish to decorate with fabric wallpaper, then add 10% to the total or buy another roll of cloth wallpaper if that’s easier.
#2. Prepare the Room for Hanging Cloth Wallpaper
Because linen wallpaper is softer than ordinary wallpaper, you’ll have to take special care not to accidentally fold or crease the wallpaper fabric as you hang it. To that end, remove furniture from the area directly around the walls, to leave sufficient room for your to hang the cloth wallpaper without having to fold it to get around obstacles. It’s a good idea to have at least one more person to help you with the actually fabric wallpaper hanging. It’s also helpful to spread a thick cover over the floor (such as flattened cardboard boxes), to provide you with sufficient space to spread the linen wallpaper and smear glue over it, as well as trim it with a utility knife without damaging the floor.
#3. Prepare Your First Cloth Wallpaper Piece for Hanging
Unroll your linen wallpaper facedown over the floor covering, Measure the length of the wall with your measuring tape, then cut the first strip of fabric wallpaper to that length using a sharp utility knife. It’s wise to first test how sharp the knife is by cutting one waste strip of linen wallpaper. For hanging cloth wallpaper the knife must be sharp enough to make cuts without fraying the fabric. If you have floor base molding, it’s a good idea to remove it, then proceed with hanging your cloth wallpaper. This way, if your wall length measurement or the wallpaper cutting is a bit uneven, you can hide your mistake with the floor molding when you finish wallpapering the room.
#4. A Trick for Perfect, Fray-proof Seams
Frayed seams are the biggest challenge when hanging cloth wallpaper. Although the fabric wallpaper comes cut by the factory, the edges are likely going to appear somewhat frayed already. Even if this doesn’t seem like much, once two frayed edges meet on your wall, you’re likely to end up with an ugly, messy seam. Imagine a whole room full of such seams. The cure is simple. Before hanging cloth wallpaper, use your utility knife to trim the edges on both sides. It’s easiest to do this directly after spreading the fabric wallpaper facedown, but before smearing the glue on it. To make sure the new edge is straight, use a long metal ruler to keep your knife in place (avoid a wooden ruler as splinters might fray the fabric wallpaper).
#5. How to Spread Glue When Hanging Cloth Wallpaper
The type of glue you use plays an important role in hanging cloth wallpaper. Select only non-staining, pre-mixed vinyl glue. It’s a good idea to buy the glue from the same provider who sells you the linen wallpaper, and select the specially recommended glue. Ordinary wallpaper glue may seep through the fabric and stain the wallpaper irrevocably. Use a soft paint brush to smear the glue on the back of the linen wallpaper, working in straight lines. The most common mistake in hanging cloth wallpaper is over-saturation of the backing, which results in staining of the fabric wallpaper. In this case, less is more. And if you doubt yourself, simply use a waste piece of fabric wallpaper to test how much glue you can smear on the backing without staining the front.
#6. Hang the Cloth Wallpaper
Hold two width corners of the linen wallpaper and have your friend hold the other two. Raise the glue covered fabric wallpaper off the floor, keeping the strip taut between you to avoid folding it accidentally. Climb the step ladder until you can press your wallpaper corners to the wall corners. Your friend should keep stretching the fabric wallpaper then bring it into a straight line below you until the linen wallpaper sticks to the wall.
#7. Smooth the Cloth Wallpaper Strip
Smooth the freshly hung cloth wallpaper with a soft cloth. Be very careful when you reach the edge not to accidentally pickup glue that squeezed out. The glue will immediately stain the linen wallpaper and spoil it. You can use a smooth rolling pin to work in straight up and down lines along the fabric wallpaper to smooth it fully.
#8. A Trick for Protecting Edges
Now that you’re ready to hang the next cloth wallpaper strip, you risk staining the edge of the first one. Take painter’s tape and stick it over the fabric wallpaper all along the edge but flush with it. This will protect the edge without interfering with sticking the next cloth wallpaper strip directly beside the first.
#9. Where to Find Cloth Wallpaper
Phillip Jeffries offers an excellent website for viewing sample cloth wallpaper. With over 20 patterns and styles of fabric wallpapers to choose from, you’re sure to find something to inspire your decorating side. The hanging instructions I used for my experience with hanging cloth wallpaper originated with Phillip Jeffries and proved to be excellent. You can read more about selecting or hanging cloth wallpaper on Wallpaper Weekly.
#10. Cloth Wallpaper Decorating Styles
Because of its earthy texture, fabric wallpaper compliments natural decorating styles, such as Asian or modern eclectic. An Asian bedroom, such as the one I discussed in my Asian Bedroom article on Simplicity, Harmony and Low Elevation, presents an ideal subject for hanging cloth wallpaper. In viewing the sample cloth wallpapers at Phillip Jeffries, take the opportunity to soak in the rooms in which the wallpaper is featured. You’ll also find that the embroidery and prints on fabric wallpapers typically feature nature motifs or chic modern patterns.
Inventive Home Improvement: “The Art of Choosing, Hanging Linen Wallpaper“