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 Responses to wallpapering with gift wrap {tutorial}

  1. Elise March 30, 2018 at 9:57 pm #

    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. Margaret April 17, 2015 at 4:27 am #

    Is there a tutorial for the laundry bins?

  3. Kat April 19, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    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.

    • Sheila Albrecht March 9, 2018 at 10:55 pm #

      Kat, I have used liquid starch and fabric many times, works great.

  4. Minna March 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    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! :)

  5. Janet Hurta March 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    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 papermart.com. They specialize in commercial paper products for packaging and retail store wrapping.

  6. Melissa McAdams March 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    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?

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      Mine are textured and it doesn’t seem to show through too much. As long as it’s just a slight texture, I think you’re fine.

  7. Bridget March 14, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    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!

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      I’m not sure … but it is certainly worth a shot! It could be the perfect solution.

  8. jenn March 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    my question too is- can i do this in a rental house, will it come off easy?!

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      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.

  9. Angela March 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    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?

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:14 am #

      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.

  10. heidi March 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    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)!!

  11. Tiffany March 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    So clever! And it’s a simply cute design, you can’t go wrong with polka dots.

  12. Isabel March 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Love your work. I leave here a site of a company that makes wallpaper with images chosen by customers. Take a look!


  13. Kellie Christensen March 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    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!

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      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!

  14. Christie March 13, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I echo Madaline’s question, how easily would this come down? We live in an apartment. Thanks!

  15. Carrie March 13, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    I love this! It looks so cheerful. Thanks for the tutorial. :)

    • Carrie March 13, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      But I have a question–how can you tell from an online source whether a wrapping paper will be thick enough?

  16. crafty grandma March 13, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Great idea!!! If I may add my 2 cents worth..to 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!!!

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks for the tip!

  17. Julie D. March 13, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    That looks amazing! Fun. Need to find a space to try this myself!

  18. Trish March 13, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    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.

  19. Shelly@ConfettiStyle March 13, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    Love your giftwrap wallpaper. It looks great and makes sure a great impact.

  20. Laura March 13, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Oops!! That is wrappedla.com not wrapped up la!! lol:)

  21. Laura March 13, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    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:)

  22. Lemonade Makin' Mama March 13, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    That is wildly fabulous. And totally inspiring. Way to go sweet thing!

  23. Rebecca @This Nest is Best March 13, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Love it! I would have never guessed it was wrapping paper. I did a similar thing on the back of an armoire with wrapping paper and modge podge! I definitely ended up with some wrinkles and a few small bubbles but they honestly aren’t very noticeable (particularly since it’s inside a piece of furniture!), but I still love the end result.


  24. Lauren March 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    You are a genius!!!

  25. Christina March 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Amazing!!! Your laundry room looks fabulous! This definitely gives me the diy bug to wallpaper/gift wrap wallpaper something. Thanks for this great diy!

  26. Alice March 13, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    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.

  27. Emily Wignall March 13, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    So Lovely! I see cute wrapping paper all the time, and have wondered if it would work! Now I know. Can you tell me how it has held up in your little girls room? Thanks!

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      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.

  28. Becky - Clean Mama March 13, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    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

  29. Elizabeth March 13, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    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! 😊

  30. MrsLittle March 13, 2013 at 10:03 am #

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

    • Tonia March 14, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      That brought back some memories. I hadn’t thought of Hildi for ages. She was so fun!

      • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:10 am #

        She was fun! So many crazy ideas from that little lady.

  31. Sarah Barksdale Design March 13, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    This looks awesome! Way to go Emily! Wallpaper can get soooo expensive so this is a great alternative on a budget!

  32. Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door March 13, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    It makes such a great impact and I love the paper you chose. I did something similar with wrapping paper in my bedroom. http://thelittleblackdoor.blogspot.com/2012/05/wrap-it-up.html

  33. Madaline March 13, 2013 at 6:46 am #

    Does it come down like regular wallpaper if you change your mind in 5 years?

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      I’m assuming :)

      Although it probably doesn’t come off in one piece as some wallpapers will. I’m thinking it will be a total pain.

  34. Jill March 13, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    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 :)

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      I did not seal it, but I’m sure you could. This wall doesn’t get much use, so I didn’t think it would need to be sealed.

  35. Kathryn March 13, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    This is genius. Doing this in my basement this weekend!

  36. Dana March 13, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    Quite the impact for less than $16. Love it!

  37. Dianne March 13, 2013 at 5:27 am #

    It looks awesome! Also, how are you liking those laundry bins? They look like they hold a ton!

    • emily March 14, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      So far, they are great! Definitely hold a lot which is great for us!

  38. Jenn @ A Simple Haven March 13, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    I. love. this. Knowing that it didn’t take all day is encouraging, too. Makes me want to run out and paper a few walls right now.

  39. Maureen March 13, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    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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