Try this easy Homemade Wallpaper Paste recipe with step by step instructions and pictures to make it easy for you!
Homemade Wallpaper Paste
I was working on redecorating and organizing my laundry room. I found this old wallpaper boarder that I had. I just LOVED it but when I went to put it up I realized I had no wallpaper paste.
This project had been on my mind for 9 months and I just wanted to get it done! I need an organized laundry room! I remembered someone saying they had made homemade wallpaper paste. So sure enough I found a recipe and made some of my own. It was so simple and CHEAP! It just cost me a few pennies.
Homemade Wallpaper Paste Recipe
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp alum*
3 cups of water
Combine flour and sugar. Slowly add 1 cup of cold water and beat out any lumps. Put mixture in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat. When stiff, remove from heat and add alum. Store in an airtight container. It should keep several weeks. If the paste hardens, soften by mixing in small amounts of warm water as needed.
*Alum is a pickling spice found in the spice section of your store. It’s a preservative.
To hang wallpaper:
Cover the surface you will be using with plastic or white paper. You don’t want to use newspaper as the ink will bleed. Spread the paste onto the back of the wallpaper.
Then “book” the wallpaper by folding pasted sides together.
Then let it sit for about 5 minutes to let the paste set.
Then hang. That’s it! Isn’t it pretty! It’s a fluke that it just happened to match my chocolate brown walls in my laundry room and I just LOVE it!! Now laundry is a pleasure (almost) to do!
One more tip. I’ve had this wallpaper for over 15 years. I used some of it in one house but not all so it’s been stored in a box all this time. When I took it out some of the edges had creased and left a line. What I did to fix it was just take crayon and maker and fill in the spots. You can see in the picture above that it just went away!
I hope you will make your own wallpaper paste now! It’s so simple and for a few pennies you can make it yourself! Even if you have to buy the alum it’s still much cheaper than $8 for a big tub of it from the store! Tawra
This is amazing. We have some beautiful wallpaper in our bathroom but some of the sections are coming loose at the seams. I have been using glue stick to hold them down but it breaks down over time and the pieces stick up again. I didn’t buy the container of wallpaper paste because it seemed pricey for 3 little seams. I can’t wait to make some of this and finally get these fixed. The paper has been up for about 20 years but has held it’s looks and color quite well and we still love it. It has sailing ships but just line drawings in dark blue over a cream background. It is a special waterproof wallpaper for a kitchen or bath. Thanks for this great tip and just in time for the holiday weekend chores.
Another easy way to fix a seam (if you have enough paper) is to overlap the two pieces you are putting together line it up so the pattern matches and use a very clean sharp utility knife with a straight edge. Run the knife through twice, take the cut pieces away and press the newly cut edges together.
This is great! I have recently started to build dollhouses and collected up some old wallpaper to use on them and realized that these rolls had no glue on the back. I didn’t want to go out and spend the money for a tub of glue when all I needed was a half cup at most at a time for the houses. Thank you for this recipe! Now I’m back in business.
It looks so pretty. I have wallpaper borders in all of my bedrooms. When I placed it there about 5 years ago, I was fortunate to find some paste at the recycle center for free. When later I had to repaint the walls, I didn’t remove it and if I painted a little over the paper I wiped it away with wet rag. It was much easier to paint than the other rooms that didn’t have wallpaper. Because in those rooms I had to be careful not to paint the ceiling and it’s hard to paint a straight line in the corner of wall and the ceiling.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been saving a certain cow border for 8 years, waiting till we bought a house. Bought a house this month and when I went to put up the border; it was literally peeling off the wall! So disappointed and nearly in tears, ran to Google and found your post. Cow border is up and sticking beautifully. Thank you so much! My kitchen is a dream come true! :)
Hope this will work for all ready hanging wall paper that is old and coming loose??
add 8 drops of teatree oil as a antifungal
I have several projects, cause you cant have one you know. I find my paper and boarders at thrift shops, so most of it is old, Some has started pealing. That’s in my bathroom, found Nebr. Border, for our throne room. Snowstorm here, sounds like a good time for this.Cant hardly wait to try this, Thanks Cindy S
Another dollhouse one here!
Thank you for bring back a memory that I had forgotten from my childhood. I had been slowly papering a room in my house. I was using a commercial paste and each strip was a struggle. I had run out of paste and didn’t want to drive to town. I remembered my mom use to make her own paste. I found your recipe and made it. I added a little red food coloring so I could see it on the paper. With the first sheet that went up, just the smell brought back memories of helping mom. It went up smoothly and no more struggles. I will never buy paste again!
I make little catch boxes for people. Nothing too complicated, just a wooden box you can buy anywhere and a little paint and ribbon. Recently bought a roll of gorgeous rosebud liner like for drawers, but it was non adhesive. would this work on that?
It should but I’ve never tried it. Tawra
Is alum necessary if you use the paste right away?
There are recipes that say you don’t need to add it if you are using it right away. There is one thing though and that is mildew loves wet flour so it will start growing right away so you do need to use it as soon as possible.
I am thrilled to see this recipe. I bought wallpaper and the paste and my hubby and I put it on a Christmas time in my other house. We finally were able to get there for Easter and the paper had fallen off the walls! I went all over town to 3 different hardware stores and none of them had ‘old-fashioned’ wallpaper paste. I was so disappointed. I did finally purchase a pkg of the dry granules and it was supposed to be 1 gal cold water to 1 1/2 oz of granules. How do you measure oz, when I only had measuring spoons, and it was an 8oz pkg? Rhetorical…anyway. I was able to get the sheets backup-they were only on the lower half of the walls because it was wainscoating-like wallpaper. It went up ok, but seamed a bit thin. When I go back in a couple of weeks, if it is back off the walls, I am going to make your recipe and put it back up to stay. Thank you.
Oh Shirley I feel your pain. To work so hard on fixing something up and then to have it totally mess up. It is so frustrating. I remember after wallpapering most of our house I wanted to do my daughter’s ceiling. It was like one of those scenes from Money Pit. After a couple of weeks of hard work and at the end of each day my being wrapped in sticky wallpaper from head to toe that was one of the few jobs we had to hire out to have done. Now many years later and much experience I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to DIY projects it isn’t so much we can’t do them but do we have the patience to do them. :) :)
PS I know it was a rhetorical question but for those of you who need to know 2 Tbsp. equals 1 oz. : ) : )
Here’s another cheap…actually FREE way to make wallpaper paste.
You know the peanuts you get as packing for products ordered online? Some of them are made of cellulose and melt when water contact them. I used to have fun when the kids were little by wetting one end and sticking them on their noses or making crafts with them.
If you get the “melting” kind of packing peanuts that are more earth friendly save them!
When you need wallpaper paste grab them and place in bowl or bucket.
Slowly add lukewarm water and allow them to dissolve, mixing with a spoon until smooth.
Then just slather the paste onto whatever it is you’d like to paste and voila, free pasting and you’re saving the earth as well! ;-)
I used this recently on some wallpaper that was going on a fairly rough surface that I wanted to by sure held well. Although the paper was pre-pasted I added the “peanut paste” and that paper is going nowhere!
I’m missing something. What good are just three cups of paste? Is this just meant for ingredient ratio? Or is there a reason not to mix larger quantities?
Yes you are. This is just enough paste for a wall paper border that is shown in the post. Of course if you need more then you can make more. There is no way we can know the quantity that each individual needs for their own personal use. It will vary depending on the size room, how many walls you are doing etc. This is a guide.
What are the reasons to add sugar?
I have no idea! :-)
How thick should the paste come out? I made a batch and it is REALLY thick, like I don’t think a paintbrush could be submerged in it like in your pictures. You said it should cook “stiff” but also it looks liquid in the photos. What is the ideal consistency?
If it is too thick just add some warm water a little at a time. It should be about the consistency of sour cream or yogurt. The main thing about the consistency is that it needs to be thick enough so it doesn’t just run right down the wall when you put it on.
You’re awesome. Thanks for the glue recipe! I’ll be using it soon
Why add sugar? Won’t that attract ants?
Not really sure what the sugar does but most of the recipes do use it and since they used this many years ago as the only kind of paste there was to use when there was no pesticides it didn’t seem to be a problem. I wonder if the alum or something keeps the bugs away.
Sugar helps the paste not to get hard!
It worked great but I forgot about needing to taking it down when I moved! *gulp* Any hints about how to remove the paste/wallpaper? Right now I am trying warm water/picking at it and it’s going very slowly.
It is a long process and slow. Try to peel the first layer off then wet it and let it soak in.
I need paste for vinyl wall paper.. My Hubby thinks it has to be a special paste?? Thanks
I just made this paste. Reminds me of helping my parents. I used electric mixer to blend in the cup of water. Smooth as a baby’s bottom! Need to finish cleaning my house….but gonna go hang wallpaper instead. Thanks for sharing.
I’m with the lady whose nose took her back to childhood smell memories of the paste. I now live in my grandmother’s house and the walls on the stairway leading to the Dread Cellar are “papered” with oilcloth squares of different designs – like a patchwork quilt actually – but the cellar is damp and dark, and that “wallpaper” has been up there, unmoved, for better than 76 years; is not peeling off, falling down, just staying there, in the dark, also a sweet memory every time I have to go down to change my furnace filter. She must have used this paste as well! Thank you.
What is the purpose of “booking” the wallpaper?
When the wallpaper is wet it will expand so by booking it helps to have that “expansion” done before putting it on the wall because if you put it straight on the wall it will bubble and wrinkle more.
I believe the sugar is meant to be mixed with the flour. Then when you add water it will not have lumps!!
Usually when you mix flour and water together it can easily lump. That is why so many people have trouble with lumpy gravy.