Office Papers, Part 2: Peel and Stick Wallpaper.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Oh so, peel and stick wallpaper?  Yeah, it's a thing.  And it's a DIY boon for renters, amiright?!  You can decorate your walls finally, toss up a cool fun pattern, change your apartment's look then come time to move, peel it off and no damage done!

For sure, super clever.  Technology is amazing!

How do I feel about peel and stick wallpaper?  Eh, I'm on the fence.

In my first office papers post, I showed you how to use cornstarch and any paper (or you could use fabric) to temporarily stick stuff to a wall.  And yes, it's still up too!  Love it.

So after I put up the big huge wall mural from Photowall, Mike whined to me, ugh he whiiiined.  Whined repeatedly, "Iiii want a wall!!"  

"Babe, where's my wall? "...."When am I gonna get a wall?"....."How about a big gigantic Star Wars thing on that wall for me?".............

Goodness.  I love that man but the whining, holy unnecessary.  Yes, holy.

Sure, I don't do much decor that's geared specifically towards him.  It's more of a general do that is meant to benefit us both, for both to enjoy.  Trust me, he is well cared for here.  The baked goods alone...he's the luckiest man around.

But the whining.  ha ha....aahhhhh.

So I got something just for him.  Especially him.  Only him.  Something that would make him super duper extra special giddy happy:  Star Wars wallpaper.*  (Omg Mike, do not click that link.)

And into his office it shall go.  Or wait, how do I Yoda....Shall go, to his office it will be.  No?

office wall before
Obligatory before.  Pardon his mess.
Now, not to embarrass my lovely husband (further) but as we're already aware, he is an extremely big fan of Star Wars.  Cuckoo for cocoa puffs Star Wars fan, my dearest is.

So here's my experience in a nutshell for you:

Pros of peel and stick wallpaper:

  • No mess
  • Relatively easy to put up
  • Easy removal (I think, we'll find out)
  • No wall damage
  • Great for renters (and serial re-doer like me)
  • Easy to trim
  • Not wet, gooey nor floppy
  • eta:  Major bonus -- many can be used in bathrooms!

Cons of peel and stick wallpaper:

  • Smells/off-gases
  • Takes just as long as regular wallpaper to install
  • Sticks to itself, easy to damage or ruin
  • Bubbles, the adhesive isn't as grippy as pasted paper
  • Bubbles, peels away from the wall after installation
  • Easy to accidentally slice up while trimming as the material is incredibly thin
  • Tears easily
  • No sliding it around like regular wallpaper; peel up to shift
  • Not a high-quality material
  • The waste factor after peeling it off and throwing it away, not very environmentally friendly


One of the major issues I had with this particular paper was the pattern repeat.  (What's a pattern repeat?)  It was huge.  Like absurdly, major eye roll, stupid, this is bad bad bad large pattern repeat.  The waste ended up being half of my order somehow bad.

draw plumb line to start for a guide
To start, draw a plumb line the width of the wallpaper roll on the wall so you have a guide to align to.
So friendly advice, with any wallpaper really, keep the pattern repeat to a minimum.  Or, purchase a heck lot extra to ensure you have enough.  Or, get creative with cutting and pasting smaller segments but really?, don't rely on that as a solution.  Though I had to, it was scary.

Only a part pile of the waste.  It was a lot of waste.  So frustrating.
So as the name implies, you peel the backing off and stick it on the wall.  It's a sticker.  Simple as that.  It's probably easier to do this with a helper so they can aid in making sure the stuff doesn't stick to everything but the wall, but of course, you can do it solo.

wallpaper smoother at baseboard
Use a wallpaper smoother or a straight edge tucked tightly into the top of the baseboard, then trim on the side you're discarding, not on the good side of the wall.  Trust me.
Once it goes up, it's up, there's no shifting or smushing option available like wet pasted wallpaper, so there's a bunch of stick, peel, re-stick, re-peel, re-stick, re-peel, stick happenin'.

First panel up and outlet cover back on.  Oh, yes, take covers off, trim around switches and outlets.  Don't stick metallic objects in live outlets and switches though, turn off the power at the breaker box.

The particular paper I purchased was plastic, not paper, so it kind of stretched weirdly too.


Key tools to have on hand?  


How to get that paper on the wall?

  1. patch, clean, dust, and smooth the wall first as necessary (very important for best adhesion)
  2. unroll the roll
  3. leave it whole or trim off a piece slightly longer than the wall
  4. peel the backing off about 12" or so down the top of the piece
  5. align it on the wall and stick it down checking for level*
  6. peel the backing off while smoothing down and outwards as you go
  7. trim using a very very sharp blade and a non-slip straight edge, replace blades every few cuts
  8. find the pattern repeat for the next piece and repeat steps 2-8


I was totally getting gassed out of the room, pew, the peel and stick paper was way stinky.  Eventually the stink does clear up but man, it is powerful for two to three days.  If you put this up, be sure to do it when you can open windows.  

the after look
After!  I was so done with wallpaper in general at this point.
Mike was away while this was occurring, he had no idea his sweetheart back home was treating him to a jolly Star Wars peel and stick adventure.  Upon return...

B:  Babe, have you been in your office yet?

M:  No.  Why?  (a sly smirk began to unfurl across his face)

B:  Ohhh.  No reeeeason.

M: (heads right upstairs)  Oh!  Oh, aw babe!  Babe, thanks.

B:  No more whining, right?

M:  (stinky-eye glare)

Star Wars peel and stick wallpaper close up

He was in there recently so I meandered by...."hey babe, you liking your Star Wars wall?"  "Yeah babe I am.  I found two mistakes though...."  

Cute babe, cute.  Mr. Impossible.  Either that or he's giving me a hard time for his personal amusement.  Likely the latter.

So does this peel n' stick whoo-ha solve a long-running design dilemma?  Absolutely it does.  

Would I use this stuff again?  Only if it was a seriously serious must-have pattern.  Besides, given my product trick for easy regular wallpaper removal, why not get the real stuff if you can?  

view of Star Wars toys and wallpaper

Given peel and stick wallpaper a whirl?  Lemme know what you think!

*The Star Wars wallpaper, cork-backed straight edges, Exacto/craft knives, replacement blades, wallpaper smoothers, wallpaper kits, and levels are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

2 comments

  1. I really wanted to try peel-and-stick, but I read it doesn't go up on textured walls well. I have the standard, modern construction, blown-on texture. Not like popcorn, but not smooth either.

    I didn't want to spend the money to find it looked crappy on the texture, nor did I want to pursue either of the prep suggestions (a special additional wallpaper that you apply first to negate the texture, or skim coat the wall prior to hanging wallpaper).

    I'm squinting at your photos, and it seems in the 4th photo (with the baseboard), you may have similar texture. For either peel-and-stick or glue-on wallpaper, do you think textured walls would be such a problem?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to make you squint! Our walls were poorly painted by the flipper, so that's what you're seeing. It's not texture per se, but paint that was rolled improperly. If you've got the same issue rather than texture, you should be fine. I didn't take my own advice and completely smooth the wall, as you can see.

      But otherwise, yeah, unfortunately, I'm very sorry, blown-on or any textured walls and paper aren't friends. It won't stick well, stick smoothly, and you'd see texture bumps through the very very thin material that is peel and stick. See if you can find a store that offers samples or ask around friends to see if they have any leftover bits that you can do a test with. So sorry your walls are a source of frustration!

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