OK, I’ve been a decorator for the best part of 20 years and about 30% of my work is installing wallpaper. During my time in the trade, I’ve used a variety of brands of tools. In this blog I’m going to go into what I think are the best wallpapering tools on the market. It will also give you an idea of what tools you need for wallpapering. I hope you find it useful.
The best Wallpapering Scissors
This is an easy one, the best wallpapering scissors on the market are the Axus Sheers. They’re imported from Japan, available in 2 sizes, have a flat edge and are razor sharp all the way to the tip. The best thing about them is they’re chunky, meaning they’re easy to get hold of and maneuver. They’re a joy to use. You can pick Axus wallpaper sheers up online by clicking here, or from almost any trade decorating centre. Some decorators prefer Fiskars Amplify which are designed for cutting fabric, but I really don’t get on with them. They’re a little bit too light for me, and difficult to control. Stick to the Axus and you won’t go wrong.
The Best Trimming Knife
The best trimming knifes I have used are Olfa, again made by Axus. These are also imported from Japan and come in two sizes. The black blades are the best and stay razor sharp for a number of cuts. Once the blade does start to go blunt, you just snap the end and start again. Just buy one knife and as many replacement blades as you need. Easy to use, sharp and it comes with a soft grip handle. You even get a little fin on the back to open tins of paint with. You can’t ask for anything else really. You can pick an Olfa knife up online by clicking here, or from most decorating centres.
The Best Wallpaper Hanging Brush
The best hanging brush I’ve used and is available to buy is made by Hamilton. It has springy natural bristles which are compacted and held in rings under a wooden handle. I like it because the brush applies just the right amount of pressure on the paper and it is in perfect balance. Some of the hanging brushes available aren’t springy enough, or the handle is too chunky for the size of the bristles and can catch the paper. Hamilton wallpaper hanging brushes are available online or any Crown Decorating Centre. Click here to see online prices.
My absolute favourite hanging brush on the planet is owned by a mate of mine who has had it for decades. The bristles are worn right down so there isn’t a lot of flex in it at all. Unfortunately, they’re not manufactured like that and getting him to part with his would be a miracle.
A specialist wallpaper installer might tell you there are different types of seam roller for different papers, however this is way too specialist for this blog. For me, you just need a sturdy wooden roller which is free running with a comfortable handle. I’ve had plastic rollers in the past and they don’t do the same job. This is one of those items where you don’t need to be overly fussy if I’m honest, however my favorite has got to be the Axus Decor. It does everything you need it to and it’s a quality bit of kit for under a tenner. You can buy Hamilton Perfection seam rollers online by clicking here, or most decorating Centres.
The Best Straight Edge
I’m not going to go too far into this, but people don’t really use a “straight edge” to keep wallpaper plumb anymore. We use a laser level because it’s just better. I use a Stanley Cubix, but I’ve only ever used a Stanley Cubix so I couldn’t tell you if it’s the best or not. You just point it at the wall you’re working on and you get the perfect straight line to paper against to without marking the wall. Dead easy and worth every penny!! You do need to be careful when transporting them though. I generally keep all my wallpapering tools in a bag, but the laser level doesn’t like to be knocked around too much so I need to keep it separate. Click here to see online prices.
The Best Vinyl Smoother for Wallpaper
A vinyl smoother just needs to be the perfect size, perfect thickness (so you can use it as a guide when trimming with a knife) and easy to hold. Generally, they are very cheap items which mark easily when using a knife. I go through one every 2 or 3 papering jobs before I throw it out and buy another. I use the Zinsser or the Coral mainly, but anything that looks like the one in the picture below is fine. This one was in crown, but you can pick them up online too. Click here to see online prices.
The Best All-Round Wallpaper Paste
Some wallpaper manufacturers recommend using their own brand of paste. If they do, then you should, simply because their guarantee won’t be valid unless you follow their instructions to the letter. That said, I use Beeline paste for 90% of my wallpapering. There are different grades, each with different qualities, but within the range there is a paste for every job. Beeline is the market leader for professional decorators. Again, it is available in Crown or Dulux Decorating Centre, as well as many other stockists. Click here to see online prices.
A paste machine applies an even layer of wallpaper paste to the correct side of the paper in a minimal amount of time. If you are a professional decorator, then you absolutely should have a paste machine. You’ll make your money back on time saved in no time. I own a Beeline Paste Master and use it for any lining paper paintable paper, but it’s a little bit messy for finish paper (some decorators will disagree with that). The best paste machine on the market is a Tapofix, but it’ll cost you big money. Well worth the investment. I’m lucky enough to be able to borrow one from a friend of mine whenever I need to.
The above blog is a genuine account of the best wallpapering tools on the market. Having good tools will make your life easier when papering. If you want to brush up on your hanging skills, then you may want to check out the Dulux Academy, who run a series of reasonably priced 1- and 2-day courses at various locations across the country.
Best Wallpapering Tools on the Market – by Mike Gregory