How to Wallpaper Stair Risers

Monday, October 13, 2014

I've been blogging here at blogspot since 2010 and somehow blogger did some fancy maths and figured out what my "most popular" posts have been. They are over there in the sidebar. It says that my post titled Wallpapered Stair Risers that I wrote in 2012 is the second most popular post. Which makes me feel SO GUILTY! You guys, that post doesn't even tell how to wallpaper stair risers! I didn't even wallpaper my stair risers until last week. Two years later. That post is a big fat lie!

I eventually did get around to doing it though and I am super loving the results! It took me forever (obviously) to settle on a wallpaper pattern, plus I was unsure how the wallpaper would hold up to foot traffic on the stairs. The varathane that we used on our painted kitchen floor has held up so well that I finally felt confident enough to go for it.  

And to make up for my decorating deception, unintentional though it was, I am going to show step by step how I did it. Buckle up, this is going to be SO EXCITING!

Begin with cleaning your stairs really well to get off all the dust and, in our case, dog hair. I used a mixture of simple green and water in a spray bottle. I really like simple green for cleaning before any furniture redo because it is a fantastic degreaser.

 My house is old and there were slight variations in the size of my risers so as annoying as this step is, it's pretty important.

 Wallpaper is meant to be hung in strips, but most stair risers are wider than a roll of wallpaper so choose one with a pattern that you like when it is horizontal.

In this photo "work surface" is a euphemism for the top of my stairs. It is a pain crawling up and down the stairs so many times and I didn't want to run back and forth to the table too, so I just taped down some paper bags on the landing at the top of my stairs and did all my glue application there. 
My wallpaper came pre-pasted, which means you're supposed to dip it in water to activate the paste. That sounded awfully messy so I was happy when I found this adhesive that said you could use it on pre-pasted paper instead of the water method.
Next, smooth the strip onto the riser.

There were a couple of strips that I put on and realized I had measured completely wrong, like I was measuring using only my sense of smell...the paste is damp long enough that I just peeled the strip back and used my scissors to trim it right there.

I let the risers dry overnight to make sure the paste was completely set, then I brushed on two coats of my beloved varathane using an old paint brush.
It dries pretty quickly but we still avoided using the stairs for 8 hours just to be sure.

 And there you have it. Here are the before and after. I love the way this tiny detail makes going up the stairs so much prettier. If you have any questions about how this went down please ask; I owe you.

I linked up at Miss Mustard Seed

4 Responses to “How to Wallpaper Stair Risers”

  1. I love everything you do!!
    Great job!

    1. I love everything YOU do! Can't wait to see your Jenny Lind bed :-)

  2. You are amazingly talented!! This looks fabulous! It adds so much light and brings such character to the space. Love it!!

    1. Thanks Becca. I'm super happy with how it came out too.


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