How I Learned to Wallpaper

By Mike Gregory


This is like a dark secret for me on DFUK, but I’m a professional decorator who never had any formal training in applying wallpaper. Strange really because I spend half of my working life wallpapering now. I got a job with a decorator when I was 18 (now 38). The guy I worked for avoided wallpaper at all costs. Not because he couldn’t hang it, but he absolutely hated the stuff!! On the rare occasion he did hang wallpaper, I generally stayed out of his way. I might have done a little bit of pasting or cleaning up, but he generally needed to be left alone so he could concentrate.


He was a very good painter and we worked together on and off for 10 years before I went on my own. I didn’t do a formal apprenticeship, but by the end of my time with my old boss, I was very competent in just about every other aspect of the trade.


I wanted to go self-employed. I got myself an onsite assessment (formal qualification in decorating), and set up on my own. Frustratingly enough, wallpaper was coming back into fashion at the same time. I needed to learn how to wallpaper to a professional standard, and I needed to learn quick!!


How I learned to Wallpaper


I’d just like to point out, that if I was in the same position now, things would be a lot easier. The PaintTech Academy run a range of one- or two-day wallpapering courses which cover everything from beginner, intermediate, specialist and printed murals.


There was nothing to help 10 years ago. I spent a load of time on YouTube, which probably did more harm than good. Loads of conflicting information, some good, some not so good. I was on a Facebook group called Brothers of the Brush, but the guys on there were no help at all.


I ended up working for another local decorator for FREE!! Quite a lot of work too, but he showed me everything and it gave me chance to practice whilst under the supervision of a professional decorator. It wasn’t easy because those weeks working for free came at the same time as I was trying to go self-employed. Setting up a decorating business isn’t easy at the best of times.


Moral of the story, go to college!!! Failing that, check PaintTech out. Whatever you do, bite the bullet and do whatever it takes to learn how to wallpaper.

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