My bathroom is cute, but I thought it was missing some pattern. So to add personality to my rainbow bathroom, I choose to wallpaper the ceiling! I figured adding more color would be good, plus I wanted to try out this trend (a wallpaper ceiling is a big look right now). This is a project I did all on my own so I thought I’d share some tips on how to paper a ceiling by yourself.
Here’s my bathroom when I started. Isn’t the rainbow tub so cute?! I love this space, but I always craved more pattern in here. So I figured I might as well wallpaper the ceiling!
how to paper a ceiling by yourself
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog). Thank you!
- Wallpaper- Chelsea by Sanderson
- Wallpaper Paste
- Wallpaper Smoother
- Delicate Painters Tape
- Sharp Utility Knife
- Joint Knife (for trimming the installed wallpaper)
For this project, I needed two rolls of wallpaper ($188) plus $20 in wallpaper paste. I had everything else on hand. So this was about a $210 project for me.
Start by measuring the ceiling. Figure out the length the wallpaper needs to be cut. Make sure to add 12 extra for trimming on each end.
Cut the first piece of wallpaper to the correct length.
Line up a second piece of wallpaper next to the first piece. Cut off one end so the pattern repeats correctly.
Then cut it so the length is the same. This way you have two pieces that are the correct length and the pattern matches up.
Repeat until there are enough pieces for the ceiling. I needed 3.
Label the backs with a pencil. I numbered the pieces 1, 2, or 3 so I could easily make sure they’ll be installed in the right order.
Next, tape the first panel of wallpaper on the ceiling with painter’s tape. Start on one side of the wall and work to the other side of the wall. Tape it up loosely so you can fit a roller or a paint brush under the loops of wallpaper and reach the ceiling to apply the wallpaper paste.
Note, I wish I would have bought delicate painter’s tape for this project. If I wasn’t super careful, the regular painter’s tape pulled the pattern off the wallpaper.
Once the paste is brushed onto the ceiling, remove the tape and lay the wallpaper flat against the ceiling.
Use a wallpaper smoothing tool to make sure the wallpaper doesn’t have bubbles and is laying flush with the ceiling. Have the wallpaper come down onto the wall. Why? If the wall isn’t straight, then there’s extra wallpaper to ensure the whole ceiling is covered.
You wouldn’t want to line the wallpaper up with the wall and then have the wall not be straight which would leave a gap of the ceiling showing.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT step!!! Once the wallpaper is pasted to the ceiling and is smoothed- MAKE SURE to tape it to the wall on three sides. If you don’t add the tape, the wallpaper might fall down. This is what happened to me. When I was putting up the second piece, the first piece completely fell down.
It was so frustrating! I added SO much paste to try to get it to stick again. But it just wouldn’t work and was a major fail. So I had to start all the way over and cut a new piece and glue that one up.
I figured out that wet wallpaper is heavier and so getting it to stick is much trickier once its fallen. Plus, since I applied so much paste I just couldn’t get the painter’s tape to stick again. And since I didn’t have any help, my arms would get too tired to hold it up and get it to stick. My ceiling is very textured so that probably contributed to the paste not sticking.
I 100% cried about this 2 hour mistake. So avoid that by putting the painter’s tape back up on the edges to help keep it in place.
And now, continue across the wall. On the subsequent pieces, it’s important to make sure to match up the pattern and double check that there’s no gap between pieces of wallpaper.
Also make sure to go over the seams with a wet rag or seam to clean up any left over wallpaper paste. If it dries, it’ll look shiny and will be distracting when the ceiling is done.
On the middle pieces of wallpaper, once the wallpaper is up, add tape to the two ends.
Since I had difficulty with the first piece of wallpaper sticking, I decided to let the wallpaper dry overnight before trimming the wallpaper. I didn’t want to have any more fall down again by moving the wet paper!
The other benefit to letting the wallpaper dry overnight is that I find dry wallpaper cuts MUCH smoother. Wet wallpaper has a tendency to tear when cut.
Plus, my arms were SO tired from reaching over my head for this project. This gave them a chance to rest.
Finally, it’s time to trim the wallpaper. For this, I took a joint knife and put it against the wallpaper. Then I used a sharp utility knife to trim off the excess wallpaper. Make sure the utility knife has a fresh blade so that it cuts the wallpaper as smoothly as possibly!
The joint knife creates a straight edge to cut against so the wallpaper costs in a perfect line. Move the joint knife with the knife as you move down the wall.
Sometimes when trimming the wallpaper, the wallpaper won’t be stuck in a corner or on a seam. In that case, just apply some extra wallpaper paste and smooth it to the wall.
is it easy to paper a ceiling by yourself?
I would say this is an advanced level of DIY. If you’ve never wallpapered, I wouldn’t try a ceiling first. I’ve wallpapered MANY walls- probably 20 in the last two years and it was still difficult for me. If you follow the instructions, it’s doable. Having a second helper would make it less tricky too. But I still wouldn’t call it easy easy.
can you wallpaper a bathroom ceiling?
Yes. In a bathroom without a shower, it’ll work best. If there’s a shower, when the shower is on, a ventilator fan must be ran at the same time. I’d also suggest to not wallpaper above the actual shower area to be safest. Ceilings without texture and being is a less humid region will do better.
Can you use peel and stick wallpaper on a ceiling?
I actually think it’d be easier to use peel and stick wallpaper on a ceiling! That way you don’t have to worry about the wallpaper falling while you work with it. Plus, if you ever get tired of the wallpaper ceiling look, it’ll be much easier to remove.
can you wallpaper a textured ceiling?
Yes- my ceiling is very textured and the wallpaper still worked. If the ceiling was more smooth, it would’ve worked better (I think the texture is why the first piece fell down). I have a whole blog post that shows different types of texture and what works with wallpaper here.
And here’s how my wallpapered ceiling turned out! So cute, right?! I love how the floral adds a beautiful pattern and interest to the ceiling.
I love how the colors in the wallpaper pull the room together. It adds some extra sweetness and whimsey to the room which is so fun!
Would you wallpaper your ceiling?
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