House Flips

DIY Wallpaper Wall

Allow me to introduce two of our friends, Phil & Christie Matta (and their adorable little girl, Emery).
These friends go way back, guys. After a long journey and a couple of moving escapades, they finally landed back in North Carolina… and this time, they are here to stay! Phil and Christie purchased their first home and are jumping head-first into all the projects that come along with home ownership. The other day, they called to tell me about their idea – A DIY Wallpaper Accent Wall!! I was like whaaaa?!?! I mean, first project as a homeowner (other than paint) and they choose wallpaper?!? Wallpaper installation is no joke… and I was super intimidated. But since they dominate at pretty much everything… I figured it would be a win.
They graciously allowed me to hop on over to their house (since its literally one street down from my street! <enter-high-five-emoji-here> ) and assist/take pictures/gawk at their mad skills. I documented the process as we learned along the way.
Phil dabbles in photography and was able to take a photograph from the top of the 30Rock building while in NYC the other week on a business trip. He sent his picture over to a Swedish company called Photowall,
where they blew up his picture and made it wallpaper. It was sent to him in panels, as shown here:
The panels were numbered in the order they should be hung, from left to right and edge to edge. So this is how we did it:

Step-by-Step Guide to DIY Wallpaper Installation

1. Gather the Supplies


  • Wallpaper paste (which Photowall provides as a dry packet you have to mix with water)
  • Large Bucket (Lowes)
  • Wide Wallpaper Brush (Lowes)
  • Trim Guide (Lowes)
  • Sponge (Lowes)

Not shown is some sort of tool Christie uses in the kitchen, called a dough cutter (She’s a pastry chef…..Its good to be friends with a pastry chef.)

2. Make a Guiding Line and Apply Paste

One key to doing this job well is to start out well. Make sure the first panel is perfectly aligned. Using a measuring tool and a pencil, lightly make vertical markings on your wall, outlining the width of the panel. You will follow these lines as a guide while you hang your first panel.
Then apply the wallpaper paste being sure to not have any dry spots and only applying enough to cover the surface area of one panel of wallpaper. It should be applied liberally and evenly – but not so much that the wallpaper goop is running down the wall.

3. Hang the Panel from the Top to Bottom.

Carefully aligning it with your vertical markings…
line up

4. Remove the Bubbles

Once it is stuck to the walls, starting from the middle of the panel, gently push out any bubble, mainly towards the right edge, but whichever side makes sense. We used a sponge first, then Christie’s rubber kitchen tool.
improvise with special tool
Its okay if some of the wallpaper goop seeps out. In fact, we found it was necessary for good adhesion for the next panel. Then start on your next panel, and if it gets on the wallpaper itself – no worries – it wipes off.

5. Press the Seams

When you have your next panel up, make sure the panels are lined up and pushed edge to edge, without overlapping. After you have all the bubbles out, you take the seam roller along the length of the panel and press the two edges together to seal them. Each panel will be easier than the last, and you will learn the right amount of paste to apply.

6. Trim it Out

If you come across an outlet. cut around it, like so…
cut around outlets
After your last panel goes up, trim the bottom (where it touches the molding) and top edge of your wall, using a utility knife

6. Admire your Work

admire work
This whole process took about 3 hours. After all that hard work, Phil made us some Manahattans to have in Manhattan – Cheers!
have manhattans in manhattan
The skyline view of NYC fits perfectly with their style. They seem to be attracted to mid-century modern designs and value functional and industrial decor… and I love it! Can’t wait to see their house completed! I am grateful to have been invited to join in the process. It may have inspired me to do a wallpaper of some sort in one of our flips… we just have to see.
Until Next Time…

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