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    How to paper a ceiling

    Summary: Learn how to wallpaper a ceiling, hang paper and paper around ceiling obstacles.

    To hide any hairline cracks in the ceiling you can paper the ceiling before painting. Papering a ceiling can seem daunting to the inexperienced due to the difficult height and angles at which you have to work. This is a misconception as the technique required is almost exactly the same as that for papering a wall. However, recruiting someone to help you with this task will make it a lot easier, particularly when hanging the paper.


    To start with you will need to prepare a work platform from which you will be able to reach the ceiling without over stretching.

    Decorating platforms designed for this specific purpose can be purchased, but an effective alternative can be produced by simply placing a scaffold plank at the required height across two stepladders positioned at either end of the plank.

    Remove as much furniture from the room as possible to make it easier to move the work platform around. Dustsheets should also be spread over any furniture that remains and over the floor covering.


    Hanging the paper

    A good tip is to start papering from the wall where the main window is situated and work away from the light, so that you can see what you are doing more clearly. However, if the distance is shorter the other way, then it will be easier to paper in that direction.

    • Firstly, apply size to the ceiling, which will provide good slip and helps the paste bond to the ceiling's surface.
    • Measure the length of the ceiling and, adding a few centimetres to allow for trimming at the ends, cut your first piece of paper.
    • Apply paste to the paper in the same way as you would when wallpapering and then fold it in a concertina fashion.
    • Climb onto the platform with your helper. As your helper positions the ceiling paper in line with the wall, you will be free to brush it into place using a paperhanger's brush.
    • Unfold the first concertina fold, positioning the edge of the paper in line with the adjacent wall, and with the end of the paper overlapping the wall.
    • Use the paperhanger's brush to smooth the paper onto the ceiling brushing from the centre outwards, making sure the paper is tight into the wall and free of creases and bubbles.
    • Gradually work backwards along the scaffold plank, continuing to brush the paper into place whilst your helper unfolds it as you go.
    • Having successfully stuck the first piece of paper to the ceiling, take a pencil and mark a line on the paper where the ceiling and wall come together. Then carefully ease the paper away from the wall and cut along the pencil line with scissors. Repeat at the other end of the room.
    • Continue with the next piece of paper keeping the edge butt-joined against the edge of the first piece of paper.   
    • When you reach the last strip, you will be fortunate if the area left is exactly the same width as the roll of paper. It is more likely to be smaller. Therefore cut the final piece a little wider than required so it overlaps onto the adjacent wall. This will eliminate the possibility of having a gap between the edge of the paper and the wall caused by the room not being perfectly square.  
    • When the final strip has been stuck to the ceiling you will be able to trim the overlapping piece along the edge in the same way as you trim the ends.

    As your helper positions the ceiling paper in line with the wall, you will be free to brush it into place using a paperhanger's brush.

    Mark a line on the paper where the ceiling and wall meet, ease the paper away from the wall and cut along the pencil line with scissors.

    Papering around ceiling obstacles

    The advantage of papering a ceiling over papering a wall is that there are no doors, windows or radiators to work around. However there can be obstacles such as light fittings and decorative plaster centrepieces on a ceiling. These obstacles require you to carefully cut the paper to achieve a neat finish. 

    • On encountering a pendant light, turn off the electricity at the mains before unscrewing the rose cover.
    • With a sharp pair of scissors make a cut on the edge of the paper at the point nearest to the ceiling rose.
    • From your initial cut make a series of triangular flaps that will allow you to pass the fitting through resulting hole.
    • Then use a paperhanger's brush to tap the paper around the ceiling rose and continue beyond the light fitting to the end of the ceiling.
    • Finally, return to the ceiling rose and cut the flaps of paper around it with a sharp knife, brushing the edge neatly against the rose.
    • Screw the rose cover back in place and turn on the electricity at the mains.

    Cut the flaps you have made around the ceiling rose with a sharp knife and brush the edge neatly against the rose.

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    Tools Needed
    • Paperhanger's brush
    • Pasting brush
    • Craft knife
    • Wallpaper scissors
    • Seam roller
    • Work platform
    • Dust sheets
    Materials Needed
    • Ceiling size
    • Wallpaper paste
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