How to hang lining paper

How to hang lining paper

How do you do it?

Although hanging lining paper isn’t too difficult getting the job done to a high standard can be. There are some common mistakes people make whilst doing it – you can read about it later and hopefully avoid it. Before you start, please remember that lining paper being… paper expands when wet and shrinks when drying up. No surprises there, but a lot of people forget about it. How much does it expand? See the image below. This is 1200 grade MAV Professional Lining Paper and even on this small sample it expanded by 3mm. Although this wasn’t a very scientific experiment it demonstrates the principle. You can expect lining paper to expand by 5mm.

This is the reason why the adhesive application (and adhesive quality) must be spot on especially around the edges. The adhesive’s role is to hold the lining paper (or wallpaper for that matter) in the same place as it’s drying up on the wall and trying to shrink. If you haven’t applied enough adhesive that’s when you start getting gaps at the seams once the lining paper has dried. Now about the the quality of lining paper.  Lining paper isn’t very expensive and that’s why I find it strange that people will look for the cheapest (saving them a few quid on the job) and then be surprised it didn’t work well. Then they talk on various forums that lining paper is a bad idea trying to place the blame elsewhere.


Horizontal or vertical?

One of the most often asked question is whether you hang lining paper vertically or horizontally (cross lining). It pretty much depends on what you are planning to do once it’s up on the wall. The reason you’d hang lining paper horizontally is to avoid the joints of a wallpaper you’d be putting on top of the lining paper sitting directly above those of the lining paper.

However, lining paper is typically 55cm wide and traditional wallpapers are 53cm wide, which means there’s less chance of the joints actually meeting over. It’d take quite a few drops for this to happen. Having said this, it’s best to cross-line the wall with lining paper if you are intending to use wallpaper over it. When your intention is to paint lining paper, it doesn’t really matter which way you go. I know that some professionals do cross-line the walls regardless and fool the eye, which is looking to spot the vertical joints. I’m told that once anyone has hung lining paper they go hunting for the ‘wrongs’ of other DIYers and professionals.



1. If you have old wallpaper / lining paper on the wall it’s best practice to remove it unless you really don’t care much that it’s going to be much harder to remove two (or more) layers in a few years’ time.

2. On plastered walls fill in any bigger cracks end remove any bits that might stick out. Sand the walls down and get rid of all the dust.

3. Sizing the walls is a good idea. It simply means applying very watery adhesive (or specific products that have been designed for the job) with a roller or brush to the wall. Most adhesive labels contain instruction how to get the right strength. If you are using ready-mix adhesive you can dilute it with water. Allow it to dry.


Hanging lining paper

1. Once you’ve prepared the walls (and your tools) cut a few lengths of lining paper. Cut it slightly longer both ends. Apply paste generously. See the video below.

2. Where to start at? With lining paper it doesn’t matter all that much, but most people start either at a side of a window or on the wall, which is parallel to the open door. All depends how your room is structured. The aim is to avoid too many cuts.

3. Use a plumb line or long spirit level to draw a straight line. This is where you start with your first length – make sure it’s straight as all others will follow on from here.

4. Unfold the first half of the lining paper length and overlap the edge. Use the paper brush (or other wallpaper smoothers such as Walwizz) to smooth it out and remove any air pockets. Follow on with the second half. One very important point. Don’t try to brush the first length (or any other for that matter) with a paper brush forcefully. You’ll only stretch it unnaturally and the adhesive won’t be able to hold the paper in one place.

5. Using the paper brush make sure you push the paper right into the edges between wall/ceiling/skirting. This should created nice fold lines along which you’ll cut the extra lining paper off – use scissors or a decorating knife.


Pasting and folding lining paper

The video shows it best. Please note how much paste goes onto a single drop and how well the edges are treated. Always read the label, but typically you need to leave lining paper to soak in the adhesive for about 10 minutes. 1700 and 2000 grades require more time. If lining paper starts to bubble when you are paining it or you are getting large gaps at the seams most likely you haven’t applied enough adhesive.




  1. john vernon

    Hi what is the best type and weight of paper to use for a decorative paint finish . the walls and plaster are very good

    • If the walls and plaster are very good why put paper paint the plaster.

  2. OnWall

    A perfectly valid question. Why use lining paper if the walls are in good condition. My answer would be don’t line it. As you said, paint the plaster. See the link / image below. This was perfectly good plaster 6 months ago, but because the building works all the time and we upon the heating season things change very quickly. I’m going to wait for it to get a bit bigger and then I’ll use lining paper over it.

  3. Pete Carter

    After hanging a lining paper in the cross lining formation, should I put a coat of size over the lining paper before hanging the chosen wall covering ?

    • Hi Peter,

      There’s no need to size the lining paper before you hang another wall covering, but if you do it won’t hurt it or create problems. If it’s a very fine wallpaper that you are planning to use you could potentially paint lining paper white – some lining papers are off white – to get a perfect white backing to your wallpaper.


  4. Steven

    If I’m using 2000 grade lining paper, then how much water should I be adding to the paste mix? For instance, on pate mix packs it states:blown vinyls, embossed etc but all have different mixes. It never seems to mention lining papers.
    Also, I note what’s been said about expansion of lining paper when it’s wet with paste. So do I need to overlap it at the joints to ensure that when it dries and perhaps shrinks back that it wil be butt to the next piece instead of overlapped?

    • OnWall

      Hi Steven,

      I think you can take a measure of the embossed wall or vinyls to get the right and strong paste, which is needed for 2000 grade lining paper. What paste are you using, please? It’s best to use ready-mixed paste for the thicker lining papers.

      There are few methods of hanging lining paper and overlapping and splicing is one of them. You can butt-joint as well. Lining paper is trying to shrink when drying and the purpose and it’s the paste’s job to hold it in the same place so when you don’t have enough of it you get gaps at the seams. So you need to make sure there’s plenty of it applied especially on 2000 grade (the paper won’t fall apart). You can always use good filler though – .


  5. Steven

    Hi, and thanks for your reply re the paste required for 2000 grade lining paper. The paste I have is a product called Langlow All Purpose Wallpaper Paste. The pack contains 3 sachets and it says on the front that it is a 36 pint mix:

    Normal wallpapers & woodchip – 12 pints
    Washable & vinyl wallcoverings – 10 pints
    Novamura – 8 pints
    Embossed papers eg anaglypta – 8 pints
    Blown vinyls eg Supaglypta – 8 pints
    Heavy embossed apers eg Supadurable – 7 pints

    So from what you said earlier I assume that 8 pints per sachet would be a suitable mix for 2000 grade lining paper?

    And I should paste it and leave it for a good 10 minutes before hanging it?

    • OnWall

      Hi Steven,

      You are right in terms of the amount and I’d suggest that you leave 2000 grade lining paper for 10 minutes+ and please ensure you apply the paste generously onto the paper before you fold it and leave it.


    • Steven

      Many thanks for your help. It’s much appreciated.

  6. Dominic

    Thanks for you help and advice. I have hung paper many time, but not for some years. The walls of my new home are old and well repairs, so I am also lining them with heavy paper and was not sure how heavy a glue mix to use and how long to leave it. This was of great help.

    • Steven

      I’ve completed the job now. I used 2000 grade lining paper and I made a paste mix of 8 pints of water to one sachet of paste. I pasted it well and it seems to be just fine. There were a couple of corners here and there that I must have missed pasting or they dried before I put the paper on the wall. I bought a small tub of glue that is used for border paper and used a small paint brush to apply it where necessary and all is well.

    • OnWall

      Pleased to hear it!


    • Steven

      Yes I wondered about the ready mixed paste. But, I reckoned that I could keep the cost down by going for the self mix, so long as I could get it right, of course!

    • OnWall

      Glad to hear it. Try to go for the ready mixed wallpaper pastes when hanging heavier liners as this will take the guess work out.


  7. Hi I need to remove lining paper from a plasterboard wall as I have replaced a section of board and need to redecorate the whole wall. What’s the best way to remove the paper without damaging the plasterboard? I am afraid to make it too wet using a steamer! Thanks

    • OnWall

      Hi Jo,

      I don’t think you can damage the plasterboard that easily using a steamer unless you really overdo it. The steamer won’t really soak the the plasterboard that much if used correctly. The purpose of the steamer is to loosen the lining paper so that you can remove it with e.g. decorating knife and not to soak it so that it falls off by itself. The plasterboard will dry easily. Hope this helps.


  8. steven benton

    hi whats the best grade lining paper and size for walls what have been stripped down to bear walls to cover up cracks and defects,thanks steve

  9. I guess it depends on how bad those walls are really. If they are really lumpy then a heavier grade like 2000 would be best. But if there are cracks then you would do well to close those with a filler before you start to paper. Also if the walls is very uneven you’d do well to go with a matt emulsion finish as opposed to a vinyle finish as matt tends to show imperfections less than vinyl.
    As for sizing then it’s one size fits all really. You need to follow the instructions on the pack for “size” and it’s simply a very watery paste.

  10. steven

    thankyou so much,thankyou for the good advice

  11. Hi OnWall,

    I am papering over a textured wall paper as a temporary fix until we can afford to decorate fully ( I know it seems like a false economy)

    What gauge and paste would be best to give a flat, plaster-like surface?

    Also, which brand of paste is best and is ready mixed the better option?

    I am a complete novice to wallpapering.

    Sorry for so many questions


    • OnWall

      Hi Adam,

      I don’t think you can get a nice smooth finish if you use standard lining paper over textured wallpaper. When the lining paper is wet, it will wrap itself over the textured / raised parts of the wallpaper. This means that you might have to run two separate layers of lining paper over the wallpaper. Even then it’s not guaranteed that you’ll end up with flat surface – this will depend on how bold the texture really is. Ideally, you’d use Wallrock R300 and then Wallrock Premium on top of this to achieve the plaster-like finish.

      If you do decide to use lining paper, I’d suggest you use 1400 grade – especially you’ve not done much wallpapering – as 1700 and 2000 grades are more difficult to use (they just need a bit of experience and know-how). It’d be best if you got a sample (feel free to request one from us), wet it, and see how it works when the lining paper is quite pliable.

      Ready mixed paste is perhaps a better option (same strength across the whole tub), but any good brand will work fine. The same goes for dry flakes wallpaper paste.

      Hope this helps.


  12. Andrew Jolly

    What is the best paste to use if you are going to cover it with ‘paste the wall’ wallpaper? Won’t the paste loosen the lining paper?

    • OnWall

      Hi Andrew,

      If I understand correctly, you are going to cover existing lining paper with paste the wall wallpaper? We’d always recommend Wallrock Power Adhesive as we know it and it works very well, but there are other pastes on the market. If the lining paper is stuck to the wall properly, it won’t cause any problems as the paste gets absorbed quickly and it’s quite strong so there’s no real danger of the moisture in the adhesive paste to loosen the lining paper. Hope it helps.


  13. Hi onwall
    hope you can help me out i am lining lath and plaster walls in an old pub should i size the wall or stabilize first,walls are very bad
    thanks steve

    • OnWall

      Hi Steve,

      Yes, it’ll definitely need sizing, but I’d advise against using PVA.


  14. Paul Reddick

    Hi, how do I line around a door or window recess?

    • OnWall

      Hi Paul,

      Lining paper becomes quite pliable after you’ve pasted it with wallpaper paste so it’s quite easy to to work with. It’s very easy to cut as well. You’ll need a wallpaper hanging brush and / or wallpaper smoother. You can get both from our store at


  15. Hi,
    I have removed old wallpaper from plasterboard walls which are in good condition, but am left with large areas still covered in emulsion paint. Unable to remove as well stuck. Would lining paper be the best solution to achieving a good paint finish?

    • OnWall

      Hi Jim,

      Unless you are able to sand it down so that there’s minimal undulation lining paper might show this. When lining paper is wet it becomes very pliable and wraps itself around textures on the wall. This obviously depends on how big it is. Wallrock Fibrelines are better suited for issues like this. Request samples from and you can test it.


  16. Hi, this page and the comments are very helpful. Thank you.

    I am lining a room to paint it. What’s the best way to hide the gaps between sheets?

    I’ve been advised to fill the gaps but should I aim to butt the lining paper close with no gaps so when it shrinks there is a gap to fill, or lay the sheets a few mm apart?

    Cheers, Rob

    • Hi Rob, I’m inclined to butt the sheets as close together as possible. Because when the paper dries out it will invariably shrink slightly. I think some tend to slightly overlap in the hope that drying will cause it to butt nicely. But someone else better qualified than I will no doubt advise you shortly.

    • Hi Steve, thanks for the quick reply. I’ll try butting the sheets together. I’m happy to fill the gaps. I’d think one needs years of experience to get the overlap right but this is my first attempt at wallpapering.

    • Hold on Rob until the guy from the websire replies to you. He’s brilliant and certainly knows his stuff. I’m just a casual poster/observer here.

    • OnWall

      Hi Rob / Steve,

      I would lean towards the process of butting up each drop very tightly and then fill up any gaps that still might appear. However, the limit the amount of filling up any gaps you need to think about the step beforehand, which is pasting the lining paper with wallpaper paste. The obvious reason for the wallpaper paste is to hold it on the wall; however, its biggest task is to stop the lining paper from shrinking on the wall thus creating gaps at the seams. So, you need to:

      1) Use good wallpaper paste (preferably ready mix if you can)
      2) Use plenty of it whilst pasting the lining paper – on the video the decorator goes over the edges with extra adhesive as this is where it dries the quickest – let the lining paper ‘rest’ for long enough so that the wallpaper paste gets inside the lining paper – 1700 and 2000 grade lining paper can be left to ‘rest’ for over 10 minutes and requires extra paste on top of ‘plenty’
      3) Potentially, size the wall with diluted adhesive (I’d avoid PVA) so that you reduce the amount of the moisture which is sucked out of the wallpaper paste and into the wall – this will obviously reduce the amount / strength left in the wallpaper paste
      4) Some decorators stick extra wallpaper paste underneath lining paper at the seams after the lining paper is up

      This should hopefully reduce the amount of the filling you need to do.

      Hope it helps, but shout if you have any more questions. If you have any pictures of the results, please send it through. Be more than happy to pop them onto the blog.


  17. Hi
    decorator has just left having put lining paper over old lining paper. It’s taken 2 days. It looks so bad my husband has walked out. There are more (large) bubbles than flat bits and the edges are rolling outwards.
    The decorator says he will come back tomorrow (unlike husband) with an iron and to have faith. I feel like ripping it off whilst it’s still damp and doing it again myself. I put the previous lining paper up and that was near perfect.
    Should I have faith?

    • OnWall

      Hi Em,

      I think you should expect the decorator to finish the job or withhold payment. You shouldn’t have so many bubbles – sounds like either the paper wasn’t left long enough to soak up the wallpaper paste or there wasn’t enough paste used. Is it looking any better today?


    • Thanks Onwall,
      later the bits that looked best actually fell off the wall and the rest – which he had also covered in my lovely paint – I took off myself. Underneath the plaster wall was a mess – full of old screws and he’s patched it up with epoxy patching mortar which looks like big lumps of road. I asked decorator to collect his bits and go. I am out of pocket but at least I can start at square one and just do it myself .. in fact I used to think I wasn’t good at decorating – but having seen this I wonder if I should go on ‘my’ as well!

    • Hi Em
      I am a professional decorator and lecture to level three city and guilds standards at the local college, lining paper should never be applied over any old wall covering, especially old lining paper of any sort, all old wall covering should firstly be removed.
      there is no way of telling if the original wall coverings were applied correctly in the first place. Painting and decorating firstly before anything else relies on the preparation. I would comment that you are receiving poor advise and sack your decorator.

  18. Monty S

    EM, I would have a word with Trading Standards about the decorator. Nobody shud have to suffer poor quality work.

  19. Haydn Robinson

    i am a DIY decorator and do my own paper hanging. I have just completed a room where I lined the walls for painting. After the paper had dried out completely and I left it for two days I found slight caps along the edges. What I did was using a small artist brush I filled the gaps with the paint I intended to use let it dry and then painted over the the walls. Looks great now but I am wondering whether there will be more shrinking when the heating in the room is put back on.

    • OnWall

      Hi Haydn,

      How is it looking since you posted this message? I think wallpaper paste would’ve been a better way to solve. I suspect there might be a big more shrinkage as the lining paper is losing moisture due to the heating being turned up. If at all possible, try to ease the heating gently in if at all possible without freezing that is. If the gaps appear, use fine filler to run it in. Try to do so that you don’t have to sand it – I’m sure you know it, but I’m just saying so for someone else reading it.


  20. used 4.5 lit to a pack of solvite, hung 1700 after leaving for a good 10 mins, on a prepared, sized wall, and long vertical bubbles, that stayed in, after drying, going to have to go over, cut spliced, and will re hang?

    • OnWall

      We typically suggest using ready-mixed paste for 1700 and 2000 grade. Dry flakes wallpaper paste has very high PH, which causes all sorts of issues.


  21. Hi,

    I’m decorating my own house and prepared all the walls removing all old wallpaper etc. When i hung the new lining paper i didnt do the best job unfortunately and left gaps between each sheet. Would you recommend cutting more paper to fill the gaps or will painting over it solve the problem? Thanks. Dan

    • OnWall

      Hi Dan,

      I’d recommend using fine filler to fill in the gaps in between and then sand it down using fine sanding paper. Need to be careful when sanding it down though not to sand the lining paper too much as it’ll change the texture of the paper and show through once painted.


  22. Amanda

    I’m decorating my spare room and want to put lining paper on one wall to paint over. I wasn’t sure if I would actually need lining paper so I gave it one coat of white emulsion to see how it looked, results were not too great. The plaster was coming away from the wall in bits and there were a lot of little holes in the walls as if previous owners had pinned lots of things to it. The paint didn’t cover these, so I need to use lining paper. I am just wondering if, having painted the wall, I can put lining paper straight up? Do I need to size the wall and fill all the little holes (about 1-2mm each) or will lining paper be sufficient to cover these?

    • OnWall

      Hi Amanda,

      You can hang lining paper over emulsion painted wall, but you definitely need to fill in these little holes and any cracks you find. The wall preparation is essential before hanging any liners. Have you considered any of the Wallrock Fibreliner range? You can get different smoothness finish and these are much stronger than the traditional lining paper. If you need any samples, please let us know.


  23. Andrew

    Roughly how long should I leave lining paper to dry out before covering it with wallpaper? Is there a test to know when it is dry enough?

    • OnWall

      A minimum of 24 hours and perhaps more during autumn / winter period before you can hang wallpaper. Please don’t heat the room too much and rather let it dry naturally – as much as possible that is.


  24. Hi,

    I’m really struggling with lining paper.

    I’ve tried 3x different rooms and all three have ended in disaster.
    Way to many bubbles !

    I have no trouble at all hanging several feature walls & murals along the years… Bubble free.

    I removed the lining paper from our hall ( due to excessive bubbles ) replacing it with a vinyl ? Wallpaper… no problems.

    Yesterday I feature walled for a family member – very happy with it… Then hung lining paper ( thickish 2000 I think )… Pasted walls first, pasted lining paper, left it for a good fifteen minutes, then re pasted before hanging – did a quater of the room before taking it off.

    • OnWall

      Hi Fred,

      Are you referring to 2000 grade lining paper and what wallpaper did you use? Dry flakes or ready-mixed? Bubbles appear when there’s not enough paste applied (it’s one of the reasons). With 1700 and 2000 grade, one needs to apply more wallpaper paste than logic would dictate and ready-mixed paste is perhaps best in these cases.


  25. Tracey

    My walls were already papered and just needed them painted, the decorator put a undercoat of silk emulsion then the next day put my bright orange matt over it, it turned out lovely but the following day the undercoat came visible. I was told this was due to putting matt over silk. He had no choice but to strip the wallpaper and on the same night put lining paper up..I could see bubbles on the outer corners which he said would shrink and go flat. They did not so he sliced into the paper and applied more adhesive which just made a crease! After that he put the first coat on and 30 min after applied the’s a mess
    How long should you leave between coats even if it’s touch dry within 30 min

    • OnWall

      Not a specialist with paints, but 30 minutes seems to be far too short especially if the lining paper hasn’t dried fully. Hope you get it sorted though.


  26. Veronica

    I am about to decorate my lounge, that has currently got wallpaper on dry lining walls (1980’s house). I am wondering what type of lining paper to use, i.e. 1000 strength/thickness or higher.
    Thanks, veronica

    • OnWall

      Hi Veronica,

      1000 should be sufficient to smooth out the walls nicely. However, please make sure the walls don’t have any sharp rising points that would show through the lining paper and the wallpaper and fill in any cracks that may exist.


  27. Sandra

    I have stripped my living room walls and the paper I’ve taken off has left the backing in place. Is it ok to put the new wallpaper over the backing of the previous paper? If so, do I match the paper to the backing (edges) or should I offset the new wallpaper to completely cover the joins of the backing paper? Thank you in advance for any help/advice.

    • OnWall

      My first choice would be to remove the backing paper completely. You can’t be sure how well it’s stuck to the wall and when it’s going to let go in place… with your wallpaper on top of it.


  28. Hi, I currently have a decorator in and he is lining hallway, stairs and landing with wallrock lining paper before painting the area, however I have to say that I am currently not happy with the preparation and the gaps and bubbles which are clearly visible throughout. He has also lined into the corners but the paper is by no means flush into the corner. I have mentioned this to him and he said that he will cut down the seam and repaste, the bubbles are visible on wall corners. He has just begun to paint over the walls in the colour which I have chosen but you can clearly see where an old socket has been taken out ie it has not been filled in properly before lining. He is also attempting to wallrock line an archway which is covered in bubbles and breaks in the paper

  29. Hi, I currently have a decorator in and he is lining hallway, stairs and landing with wallrock lining paper before painting the area, however I have to say that I am currently not happy with the preparation and the gaps and bubbles which are clearly visible throughout. He has also lined into the corners but the paper is by no means flush into the corner. I have mentioned this to him and he said that he will cut down the seam and repaste, the bubbles are visible on wall corners. He has just begun to paint over the walls in the colour which I have chosen but you can clearly see where an old socket has been taken out ie it has not been filled in properly before lining. He is also attempting to wallrock line an archway which is covered in bubbles and breaks in the paper. Is this normal or is something not right here sorry new to lining paper but imagined a flawless finish. Any advice would be grreat thanks.

    • OnWall

      I presume you’ve sorted it out by now, but this doesn’t sound normal at all. Bubbles on Wallrock Fibreliner happen very, very rarely… or was it a standard lining paper? By the sound of it, the preparation wasn’t done correctly. Typically, the prep is where most of the time and effort should go.


  30. Hi thanks for very helpful information. I’ve thoroughly removed all wallpaper and properly prepared the walls including, filling, sanding and sizing. I have 1200 lining paper quality and am ‘ready to go’ next weekend. My question is this – the first drop has the complication of a sloping section (sloped ceiling) about 8″ long, leading to a short vertical before it reaches the horizontal coving. How am I best tackling this? I’m guessing I measure the distance from the coving to the bottom of the incline (inc a few spare inches), and start the smoothing at that point, then make a cut so that I can smooth up to the coving, then deal with the slope? Or is there a better way?

    • OnWall

      Yes, measure the longest distance of the drop + a few spare inches. The lining paper will become pliable and easy to cut along once on the wall. With all of the prep you’ve done, I’d suggest that you size the wall to ensure even absorption of the paste. Otherwise you are running the risk of bubbles forming. Hope it goes well.


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