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wallpapering with gift wrap {tutorial}

    I often get an idea in my mind for a room {like, wallpaper for the back wall of the laundry room} and I search and search for what my imagination pictures.  Sometimes I find what I’m looking for; most of the time I don’t. Or maybe I find it, but it is way beyond my budget.

    Which is why I am a DIYer.

    And it’s also why I used giftwrap on my laundry room walls instead of real wallpaper.

    The idea was originally executed in the nursery with my very favorite metallic peony gift wrap. I had searched for a real wallpaper that was similar and never could find it, so I ordered a stack of gift wrap and glued it to her bedroom wall.  This was all done before I began blogging {which means no photos} so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you how I did it this second time around in our laundry room.


    Before we begin, here’s the most important tip: use thick paper.

    The thinner the paper, the more likely it will wrinkle and look funky. My friend tried wallpapering a closet wall with a cute roll of glossy giftwrap and it did not work. So do your best to find thick paper without a sheen. And if you can find one with a repeat pattern or a random one that you don’t need to match up {like in Audrey’s room}, this project will go much more smoothly.

    Okay, so let’s talk about what you’ll need:


    :: gift wrap {either sheet or roll}. remember: thick!
    :: wallpaper paste {I ordered this as my hardware stores do not carry wallpaper paste}
    :: foam roller, tray, foam brush
    :: scissors, pencil, exacto knife
    :: clean rag
    :: optional but helpful: yardstick, glue dots, squeegee

    STEP ONE: tack up your first section of paper using glue dots {or an extra set of hands}. Roughly pencil any areas that need to be trimmed, being sure to leave a few inches overlap to be precisely trimmed later.


    STEP TWO: roll a thin coat of wallpaper paste to the top section of paper and adhere to wall, smoothing with hands, clean rag or squeegee.


    Continue to add paste in sections going down the length of the paper. I ended up just rolling it onto the wall and then pressing the paper down.

    STEP THREE: trim around edges using an exacto knife


    STEP FOUR: secure all edges with a foam brush and paste {this was easier than the roller for little areas}


    STEP FIVE: Once your first piece is up, you can add the next piece – matching the pattern at the seam.


    You can see the wrinkles in the photo above. Once the paper dried, most worked themselves out. There are a few remaining air pockets, but they are hardly noticeable.



    I used this wrapping paper from Paper Source.

    The wall in this room took about 1 1/2 rolls of paper.

    The project from start to finish took about 3 hours.

    I love how it turned out.


    Questions? Please ask and I’ll gladly answer!

    54 thoughts on “wallpapering with gift wrap {tutorial}”

    1. Can you use liquid starch with wrapping paper, or does that only work with fabric?
      I am thinking about using this wrapping paper method as a wallpaper liner (because I can buy that tomorrow and not have to wait for actual liner to be shipped to me), then applying my peel and stick wallpaper I just bought. I didn’t realize the peel and stick would show the texture so clearly! :(

    2. What a clever idea – you can also use fabric and adhere it with liquid starch FYI. Much easier than paper to remove but tricky to cut (VERY sharp blades and lots of them) and line up pattern seams.

    3. I did something similar in my walk-in pantry except I used printed fabric and stapled it to the wall. So quick and easy, and I love how it turned out, especially since I can see it through my red screen door! :)

    4. If you properly prime a wall, nearly any paper will come off. Steam helps the wallpaper paste release. For interesting heavyweight wrapping paper in Looooong lengths (100′ rolls) go to They specialize in commercial paper products for packaging and retail store wrapping.

    5. Great! Question: Did you have to sand your walls first or are they smooth texture? I’m wondering how much texture shows through the paper?

    6. I’ve been waiting to see something like this! When I come into my house using the back entrance, I see this ugly fake paneled wall along my basement stairs.
      My question is this…Will the glue work on this kind of wall? it’s not wood panels, it’s like particle board or something. Not glossy, but smooth finish with ridges. Thanks in advance. Great post. Laundry room looks fab!

      1. Great question and I am not sure about the answer! I would imagine it will be as big of a pain as removing real wallpaper. Maybe you should go the liquid starch + fabric route instead! I think it would work with paper as well.

    7. 2 questions: 1. Have you ever removed this and how easily or not does it come off? 2. I can totally picture dirty handprints….does it scrub clean at all?

      1. I have not removed, but I’m guessing it will be a mess. Because this is a back wall in the laundry room where there will be little wear and tear, I did not seal the paper. I’m sure you could just use the paste to cover {or modpodge}. I was worried it would wrinkle the paper even more and I actually liked the paper feel rather than a glossy coating. I guess it just depends on how much the wall will be touched and used.

    8. looks awesome, never thought to use wrapping paper! have you heard of using fabric with liquid starch? works awesome and come off easy (I used it in a bookshelf)!!

    9. So did you put the wallpaper paste over the top of the paper or underneath? I have never even wallpapered so I don’t know much about it.
      Also, same question as above, how difficult would it be to get this off the wall?
      Do you have a few different sources of where to get wrapping paper?
      Absolutely love the idea and it looks amazing!

      1. I only put the paste under {on the wall} to adhere the paper. I’m sure you could seal over the top, but I did not.

        As for great wrapping paper, Paper Source is probably my favorite. The paper in my daughter’s room is Caskata, which has gorgeous choices. I also love letterpressed gift wrap {usually sold in sheets rather than rolls} by designers like Elum, Snow & Graham, Smock. Maybe I’ll put together a post with my favorites!

    10. Great idea!!! If I may add my 2 cents get rid of bubbles piece it with a needle or pin, air will come out and flatten out. Make sure you have enough paper if you are matching patterns, Enjoy the wallpaper!!!

    11. This is so clever. The glue dots are a great idea since I am on my own with these kind of projects. I have been reading your blog over a year now and I just really love your ideas and classic style.

    12. Hi Emily!! When I read this I was standing in hobby lobby to frame some cool wrapping paper I found online!! :) I found a really cool wrapping paper resource called wrappedupLA? Have you seen their stuff? It looks like art. I’m gonna do a post when I get it it! Your laundry room looks so cute! I had no idea you could pull it off on the wall! Thanks:)

    13. Thanks so much, Emily! I have been anxiously awaiting this tutorial since you first made mention of doing it in Audrey’s room. I found a few ideas online (using staples, etc), but I love your down-to-earth instructions for those less brave souls like me.

      1. The paper in Audrey’s room looks great. It is not a wall that gets touched, so that is probably helpful. But really there is no sign of wear and tear.

    14. If you want or have time to get rid of the air bubbles, use a needle syringe with glue in it and pop a teeny tiny hole in the bubble and squirt a little bit of the glue in the bubble. Press gently with your finger and viola! the bubble will disappear.
      xo, Becky

    15. Hi Emily, great job! I wanted to let you know that you can fix the air pockets by making a teeny tiny slit in the wall paper with your exacto knife. The air will escape and it allows you to smooth it out. Awesome job! 😊

    16. That’s really cute! I remember Hildi doing this years ago on Trading Spaces in a play room and I thought it was genious.

    17. LOVE IT! One question – did you put anything over the top? Another coat of wallpaper paste, any type of sealer? It’s such a great look without having to spend an entire day frustrated at typical wallpaper :)

    18. I. Love.This! So many times I have seen a gorgeous gift wrap and thought how nice that would look on the walls. Never thought of actually doing it though!! I may just think again next time I see one I like!

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