How to hang lining paper: Pro tips for the perfect finish

Person putting up lining paper
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Are your walls in poor condition? Knowing how to hang lining paper can help transform them into smoother, better surfaces without having to do too much prep. Introducing lining paper helps hide imperfections and provides a platform that will get the best for your wallpaper.

If you know how to wallpaper then hanging lining paper isn’t too different. You need the same tools and the methods with a few subtle differences. But lining paper isn’t just used to prepare walls for wallpaper. It’s also used to provide a smooth texture free surface to paint.

Here we look at how to hang lining paper ready for both wallpapering and painting and help you decide on what grade you need.  

How to hang lining paper: the tools you’ll need 

  • Dust sheets
  • Pasting brush or roller and tray
  • Wallpaper brush
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Step ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Wallpaper scissors
  • Spirit level
  • Bucket
  • Seam roller

When hanging lining paper where do I start? 

If you are hanging lining paper like this 1200 grade lining paper from B&Q horizontally you need to mark down around 10cm from the ceiling. Now measure each roll width — typically 53cm down the wall to see what size strip you have at the bottom. If you have a skinny strip, start further up the wall.

Now get a long spirit and a pencil and mark out along the length of the wall. This willl be your start point. Alternatively, get a laser level like the Huepar Self-Leveling Laser Level from Amazon and mark with a straight edge and a pencil. 

If you are hanging lining paper vertically there are a couple of options on where to start. You can start in the middle of the wall and work outwards towards the corners. But, you will need to measure up to make sure that you are not left with any thin strips in the corner or around doors and windows. 

One way to do this is to take the roll itself and place it on the wall and mark the outside edge. Now repeat until you get to the corner. If you have a skinny strip, adjust the start point until you get evenish strips in both corners. 

Once you have worked this out you can start with the first full width drop to the left right corner rather than the middle. 

Hanging lining paper ready for wallpaper 

In principle hanging lining paper is similar to hanging wallpaper with a few subtle differences, which we will tell you here.

1. Prep the area
Before you start hanging lining paper you will need to prep the area you are working in. We are assuming that you have already prepped the walls. If not, see our section below on 'what's the best way to prepare a wall for lining paper?'. If possible empty the room you will be working in so you have full access to the walls and room for your pasting table. Alternatively, move your furniture to one side and cover the furniture and floor with dust sheets.

2. Measure the lining paper
Get a spirit level and mark a horizontal line across the wall from corner to corner. Measure how far it is from corner to corner. Now get your lining paper and cut — add an extra 100-200mm to overlap and cut into the corner. Now cut enough full length strips to cover the wall. You should need around five strips.

3. Paste the lining paper
Make sure you have your wallpaper paste already mixed and ready to go. Lay a strip on your pasting table and apply generously (but not too much that it will drip off) and evenly with a pasting brush. 

Once you have done the first part of the strip, fold over a 50 cm pasted section onto paper that has already been pasted and repeat until the whole strip is done. This creates a concertina effect that looks a bit like the top of a Viennetta ice cream.

Now repeat on the next strip of lining paper so you have two ready to go. Once you have put up the first strip, paste the third strip, then put up the second and then paste the fourth etc. This helps the paste soak into the paper and gives it time to expand and lessens the chances of the edges overlapping.

4. Put up the lining paper
Starting on the left, place the pasted strip on the wall with a little overlap in the corner and push up to the marked line. Now brush out with a wallpaper hanging brush like this Hamilton Prestige Paperhanger Wallpaper Brush found at Amazon.

Once in place pull out one of the folds and repeat the process until the complete strip is on the wall. Go back and make sure it is lined up properly. Gently push into place if needed. Then brush out so flat against the wall with no air bubbles. Now push the ends into the corner with the back of your wallpaper scissors, then gently pull off the wall, cut and brush back into place. Repeat for remaining strips. 

Which way do you hang lining paper for painting? 

Lining paper is a great choice if your walls are in good condition but are painted in a dark colour. For example, if you have dark brown walls and want to cover them with a white or light coloured paint you can forget about prepping (to a certain degree) the walls and you won’t have to apply specialist or extra coats of paint to ensure good coverage.

So if you are hanging lining paper specifically for the purpose of painting you should hang it vertically like you would any other wallpaper. Check out our wallpaper hacks guide to help you get the best finish. 

How long after hanging lining paper can you paint it? 

You should leave newly hung lining paper for at least 24 hours before you think about painting it. If the room is cold you want to think about leaving the lining paper for at least 48 hours. 

Ideally try to introduce some gentle ambient heat into the area where the lining paper is to help it dry properly. This will also help the paint dry faster so you can use the room sooner.

How many drops does a roll of lining paper do? 

The common roll size for linen paper is 10m x 53cm. This means in a typical size room with 2.4m high walls you can expect to get four drops on straight ceiling to floor drops. So you will need around three rolls per wall depending on how many fixtures — doors, windows — you have.  

If you are hanging horizontally you will get two full lengths per roll on a typical 12ft wall. Again you will need at least three rolls for each wall.

But use a wallpaper calculator to make sure.  

What grade of lining paper should I use? 

Lining paper comes in a host of grades from 800 — the thinnest — to 2000 — the thickest. Which one you use depends on the condition of the walls. If you have smooth walls with a few hairline cracks then we would recommend using the 800 or 1000 grade.

If your walls are in a poor to average condition you need to think about doing some prep before using a heavier grade lining paper such as 1700 or 2000. If unsure, go for the middle ground and use a 1400 grade. 

What's the best way to prepare a wall for lining paper? 

If you are wallpapering new plaster you will need to prep the wall in a different way to older walls. You will need to make sure that the plaster is completely dry and then ‘size’ the wall. Sizing is the process of sealing the wall with a diluted wallpaper paste or specialist wall like this Solvite Wall Sealer found on Amazon. We can promise you this will make it much easier to hang the lining paper 

If you have older walls they are unlikely to be in as good condition as newly plastered walls. Typically you will need to repair cracks in plaster to get a more even surface and finish off with a sanding to get it smooth.

If a wall has been wallpapered before, they typically won’t need sizing, but you can still size if you want to cover the filled cracks. Alternatively, paste the wall before you paste the lining paper and hang it. 

Steve Jenkins

Steve is Homebuilding & Renovating's DIY content editor, and has been a writer and editor for two decades. He is an avid DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating homes. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has strong all-round building skills, having previously worked in the industry for 10 years.