How to Hang Grasscloth Wallpaper

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Grasscloth wallpaper fell out of favor in the early 1980s, but it is once again becoming popular. Made of woven reeds, grasscloth wallpaper can be tricky to apply, but good prep work is important. Once you have removed any old wallpaper, light switches, outlet plates, scrubbed the walls with TSP and applied a wall-protecting primer, you will be ready to begin.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rags
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Wallpaper paste (high-moisture potato or wheat starch is best)
  • Paint tray
  • Roller
  • High-quality sharp scissors
  • Straight edge
  • Staple gun and small staples, optional
  • Lay the wallpaper on the floor. No two panels of grasscloth will match, so do not concern yourself with this. Turn some panels upside down and rearrange them until you have a general look that you can live with. Carefully roll the panels back up and set them aside in the order you will use them.

  • Roll the wallpaper paste onto the wall. Use a fair amount, the rice paper backing on the grasscloth wallpaper will soak it up quickly.

  • Carefully line the first panel up at the ceiling, and gently smooth it down over the wall. If you need to, hold it in place with one or two small staples.

  • Repeat with the second panel. Seams in grasscloth wallpaper are harder to hide than other wallpapers. Line them up the best you can. Hold them with staples if you need to. Do not aim for machine perfection.

  • Cut panels, if you need to, with a straight edge and sharp scissors.

  • Bend grasscloth around corners by spraying the panel with water and letting it soften. This is not always successful; you might have to cut the panels to fit.

  • Go back and remove any staples you may have used once all the grasscloth wallpaper has been hung and the paste has dried for 2 to 3 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clear strips attached at the outside corners of your walls will keep grasscloth wallpaper from fraying as people brush against it over time.
  • Never skip the application of primer. That's what the wallpaper paste adheres to. Do not cut grasscloth with a razor or box cutter; you will get a ragged edge.

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