Bookshelf Update - a Complete Rookie's 1st Wallpaper Project

by Thea
3 Materials
3 Hours

Actually this can’t even be considered a wallpapering project, its more like wallstickers with wallpaper glue.

We unexpectedly got a new teenage family member, a foster daughter. We were planning to renovate the upstairs part of the house sometime this year but her arrival meant that our energy and financial priorities have shifted for a while. We scrambled to convert the study into a bedroom. Its a perfectly functional bedroom but as you can see from the bookcase, horribly bland. And we want pretty! Even if only for the interim until we get around to renovating.

Since I wasn't up to the task of painting, I thought I would try wallpaper. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread I realized this morning, with the paper already cut, when I finally watched a couple of tutorials. Wallpapering is fiddly and messy. Fortunately I inadvertently came up with a design that is dead easy to do. I assure you, it was pure luck.

I took off the glass shelves.If I ever had to do do this again I would mark each glass shelf because they are not necessarily all the same size and forcing them back is dangerous.

I measured the height and width of the cavities. This gives me the maximum width of the design but even if you fudge something and have to cut the paper narower, the design will still work, provided that you treat both sides and all pieces the same way.

I then washed the surfaces, particularly the ones where the wallpaper would be stuck.

I lightly drew the height and width onto the back of the wallpaper and cut out a piece for each cavity. My wallpaper did not like my eraser so use a soft pencil and go gently.

I calculated the midpoint of the width (or basically the radius of a circle that would fit into the space) and measured that from the top of the paper down and made a horizontal line. I then found the midpoint of the horizontal line (in essence the midpoint of the circle)

My protactor was too small for drawing the arch, so I used a pencil, string and pin. Place the pin on the centre mark and extrend the pencil and string vertically to the top of the paper.

Note the left side was not yet trimmed here

Then draw and arch to the left and then to the right. For some reason I found this easier that drawing it all at once. Keep the pencil completely vertical otherwise it will drift and the arch will not be precise.

I then cut out four templates, one for each cavity.

Once cut, I tested it for size in the actual cavity using tack.

Then came the part that I was fearing the most. The gluing. I made up the paste according to the instructions. I'm not sure about other people but I still managed to get lumps. I tried to get rid of them with my kitchen handheld mixer but I can't say that I succeeded.

I applied an even layer to the back of the paper with a small roller. I worked from the middle outwards and tried to apply things evenly. I picked off the lumps with my fingers.

Now this next part is where the beauty of this arched design can be seen. It is so easy to stick! No need for box cutters to trim or rollers to overlap with. Simply place the top of the arch at the top of the cavity and shift the paper around until it fits neatly. I used a soft steel brush to wipe from the centre outward in all directions to get rid of bubbles and to make sure everything was stuck down.

Putting back the shelves was the only thing left to do. I think the green provides a much needed pop of colour but the design is interesting but quiet enough to not clash with all the things a teenage girl would want to display.

Suggested materials:
  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Steel brush
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4 of 29 comments
  • Ella Ella on Sep 04, 2022

    Thea, it looks mid-century, which I grew up with & love, very artsy & sophisticated . I am sure any young lady would love the look. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thea Thea on Sep 05, 2022

      Interesting, I’ve never seen the design in old mid mod pics but it would make sense since the oval/ atom featured so strongly then.🤔

  • Wishy washy maybe Wishy washy maybe on Sep 12, 2022

    Good Job ! FYI if you let the wallpaper past sit overnight the lumps will go away...but who can wait when inspired!

    • Thea Thea on Sep 13, 2022

      Oh wow, what a great tip, definitely going to try it!