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PROJECT 7: How To Decorate With Wallpaper Panels

Tools you'll need for these projects:

  • Small paint roller or brush
  • Smoothing tool (for wallpaper)
  • Caulking gun
  • Drill
  • Screw driver & hammer
  • Screws & finishing nails
  • Saw and mitre box
  • Foam-tipped clamps
  • Sharp utility knife

(See each individual project options for Maia's shopping lists.)



Maia's shopping list:

1. Cut Hardboard to Size

An associate at The Home Depot can cut the 1/4” hardboard to size for you.  They can also help you figure out the dimensions if you’re having trouble.

To determine the width of your wrapped panel, start with the width of your roll of wallcovering.  Allow 0.75” on each side to wrap the wallcovering around the panel.  Subtracting 1.5” (0.75” per side) from the full width of the wallcovering will give you the maximum width of the wrapped panel.  (For instance, Maia’s wallcovering was 20.5” wide, so she subtracted 1.5” and had the hardboard panel cut to 19”.)

To determine the width of the hardboard for the back of your frame box, remember you will want to allow some of the painted back to show around the edges of the wrapped panel.  Maia allowed 2.5” on each side for the painted border, then she allowed space for the sides of the box which are 0.75” thick.  Maia’s final back panel was 19” (the width of the wrapped panel) + 5” (2.5” border on each side) + 1.5” (0.75” sides on each edge), for a total of 25.5”.

Maia wanted the finished piece to be 6’ (or 72”), so she cut the back panel of the frame to this height.  To figure out the height of the wrapped panel, she took the 72” length of the back panel and subtracted 5” total for the painted border at the top and bottom, and 1.5” total for the frame at top and bottom, resulting in a height of 65.5”.

When the cutting was finished, she had one piece of hardboard for her wrapped panel that was 19”x65.5”, and one piece for the back of the box frame that was 25.5”x72”.

2. Assemble Box Frame

Lay the back panel down on a flat surface.  To make the sides of the box frame, cut two pieces of the 1”x 2” lumber to the length of the back panel, and two pieces of 1”x 2” to the width of the back panel.  Before you cut, make sure you are preparing to attach the short face of the 1”x 2” to the back panel so that you are making a deeper box.  Use the mitre box and saw to cut all corners at a 45 degree angle.

Lay the pieces of 1”x  2” around the edge of the back panel ensuring that it is flush all the way round and that the corners meet cleanly.  Use a drill and screws to fix each corner of the 1”x2” frame at a 90 degree angle.  Lift the 1”x 2” frame off the back panel and set aside.  Using the caulking gun, run a bead of glue where the frame will touch the back panel.  Lay the frame back down on the glue.  Use a damp rag to wipe away any extra glue.

Carefully flip over the frame and backboard.  Using the finishing nails, hammer through the face of the hardboard into the 1”x2” below.  (Do not hammer too close to the edge or the 1”x2” may split.)

Remove the screws from the corners, patch the holes with wood filler, and sand when dry.

3. Paint Frame

Lay the box frame hardboard-side down so that the 1”x 2” is exposed.

Using a small roller or brush, paint the 1”x 2” frame of your box using your chosen paint. (Maia used a metallic paint).

When dry, paint the back panel in your chosen accent colour.  (Maia’s is a lighter shade of purple, for a tone-on-tone effect.) You do not need to paint the centre of the back board where the wrapped panel will go. 

4. Wrap Wallcovering Panel

Position the smaller piece of hardboard flat on a worksurface that’s covered in plastic or a clean dropcloth.  If your wallcovering’s pattern has a centre, mark the centre of the hardboard and draw a horizontal line from side to side through that point.

Lay the wallcovering pattern-side down on the hardboard and mark the centre of the pattern.  (How you do this will depend on the style of your pattern.  Maia marked where the same spot in the pattern touched the edge of the paper as it repeated and then measured to find the point in between.  She repeated this on the other edge of the paper, then drew a line horizontally across the roll and found its middle.)

Flip the wallcovering right-side up and lay along the hardboard panel.  Line up the mid-point on the paper with the mid-point on the panel.  Carefully roll the paper away so that just thecentre of the panel is exposed.

Brush the glue paste on the board from the centre outward. Unroll the wallpaper carefully over the glued surface and using a smoothing tool to work all air bubbles away from the glue.  Continue this process, gluing one section at a time working out in both directions from the centre of the panel.

When finished, flip the panel and apply paste around the edges.  Fold in each edge of paper and corners (like wrapping a gift, as Maia demonstrates in the video) and secure to board.  If necessary, use painters tape to hold the paper down while the glue dries.

5. Glue The Wrapped Panel Inside Box Frame

Ensuring that the painted frame is completely dry, apply glue within the middle of the back panel.  Then, carefully lay the wrapped panel in the centre of the glued board, eyeballing that it’s centred.  You can then use a tape measure around the edges to ensure it’s perfectly centred, shifting it gently before the glue sets.

Allow glue to dry completely before leaning or hanging on a wall.


Maia's shopping list:

1. Assembling Box Frame

Lay the 2’x 4’ sheet of hardboard down and cut the 2”x 2”s following the steps provided in Project 1.  (2”x 2”s do not have a short side, so you don’t need to worry about that step.)

2. Paint Box Frame

Place box frame face-up on a work surface.  Using a small brush, paint the outside edge of the frame in the colour of your choice.  (Maia used a bold red for a dramatic punch to go with her graphic print).

3. Apply Wallpaper

How you apply the paper will depend on your pattern.  There is a lot of wallpaper on one roll.  Maia cut several sheets and experimented until she decided what she wanted in approximately the centre of her board.  If you have a pattern with a very obvious centre like Maia used in Project 1, refer to those instructions for placement.

Because Maia used a horizontal frame, she needed to use three pieces side-by-side to fill the panel.  Start with the piece you want approximately in the centre.  Apply the glue paste with a brush, carefully lay the paper ensuring no wrinkles form, and work out any air bubbles with the smoothing tool.  Flip the board over and, using a sharp utility knife, trim the excess paper around the frame.  (Note: some light-weight papers will pucker and tear when only some of the paper has been made damp by the glue.  Maia found it was best to trim each piece as we applied it so that this didn’t happen.)

Be very careful when lining up your sheets of wallcovering that you are matching the print exactly.  If it helps, apply only two or three inches of paste along the edge of the glued piece.  Line up the new paper and affix this area before gluing down the rest.  Always work outwards from the glue to release air bubbles.


Maia's shopping list:

1. Cut Hardboard to Size

Take the hardboard and the pre-made panel moulding frames to the lumber department.  Get the hardboard cut so that each piece is ¼” shorter and ¼” narrower than the frames.

2. Mount Wallpaper to Hardboards

This project is best with a large pattern that doesn’t have an obvious repeat.  Cut several sheets of wallcovering and lay them out so that you have three distinct pieces of art.  You may need to have a seam through one or two pieces to achieve this look.

Working with one board at a time, apply adhesive paste to each board with a brush, and then apply the paper, using a smoothing tool to remove any air bubbles working out from the centre.  If you are using more than one sheet of paper, refer to Project 2 for instructions on lining up patterns.  Flip board over and, using a sharp utility knife, trim around edges of board.

3. Paint Moulding Frames

Use a small brush to apply paint to frames.  Allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

4. Attach Moulding Frames to Wallpapered Boards

Lay papered boards right-side up on worksurface.

Working with one frame at a time, use a caulking gun to apply glue to back of the frame. Carefully lay the frame on the board and press evenly along all sides.  Clamp frame to board if necessary while glue dries.

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