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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

DIY framed wallpaper panels: wall art in 7 easy steps

Updated: May 12

How to install DIY framed wallpaper panels

how to hang wallpaper in wall panelling

This was my first attempt at DIY framed wallpaper panels and I'm happy to report it's one of the easiest home DIY projects. It's no secret that I'm obsessed with wall panelling and have several types in my home (I've written a whole bunch of DIY wall panelling tutorials; I'll link them at the end) and I also love transforming a space with wallpaper so this combination of wallpapering in the wall panels was right up my street!

The good news is that wallpapering in panelling is much easier than papering a whole room or even a single wall because you have a small, specific area with definite boundaries to fit within. The panels should be square and level, so you don't need to worry about using a plumb line (result!), and for narrow panels, you won't even need to worry about joins. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to deal with joins in wider panels so don't panic if this sounds like yours. 

Before you start

DIY framed wallpaper panels require considerably less wallpaper than a whole room or feature wall, so you might take the opportunity to invest in a higher quality product than usual. Alternatively, I had a rummage through the bargain basket in my local B&Q and was lucky enough to find a couple of rolls of beautiful Clarke and Clarke wallpaper that is usually £40 per roll, reduced to £10! There were only two rolls left, so I guess they were discounted as this would be too little for most projects but just perfect for a framed wallpaper panel project. I must say, having not used expensive wallpaper before (I'm usually a bit of a cheapskate as I know I'll get bored and want to change the decor again in a few months' time!) I was blown away with the difference in quality and ease of application. It was a dream to hang and made me realise what I'd been missing out on all these years!

wall panels to be filled with wallpaper

This tutorial details how to hang the wallpaper in wall panels that are already in place. If you are starting from scratch with a blank wall, you'll need to follow the DIY tutorial on how to fit picture frame style wall panels and then come back to this one for the wallpapering elements. 

You will need

The following items can all be bought from your local hardware store or click the links to where I bought mine. 

Wallpaper (paste-the-wall is my preferred type)

​Container of cold water (to mix the paste in)

Brush or roller

Sharp scissors

Clean dry cloth

Before you start

Choose the wall in your home where you want to create an accent wall with framed wallpaper panels. A living room or bedroom are both great options for framed wall coverings, but why not transform your dining room or work space if you have a dull home office that would benefit from a framed wallpaper revamp. 

Ensure the wall is clean and smooth. You need a clean wall surface free from any dirt or imperfections that could affect adhesion; this includes removing any screws or nails that might be lurking in the wall or anything that will create a bump under the paper and ruin your perfect framed wallpaper panels. 

1. Measure the wall panel

Measure the width of the wall space within your first panelling frame and determine if one drop will fit within it or whether you'll need to join two panels of wallpaper.

2. Cut the wallpaper

clarke and clarke wallpaper strips on the floor

Once you know the length of the drop, it's a good idea to cut a piece off the roll of a few cm longer than this to allow for manoeuvrability so you can cut the exact size once the wallpaper is positioned in the panelling frame. 

3. Paste the wall panel

Mix the wallpaper paste according to the manufacturer's guidelines and apply to the wall inside the panelling frame using a paint brush, paste brush or roller. If your wallpaper is paste the paper, then you'll need to apply it to the back of the wallpaper section you cut off and allow it to soak for a while. Try to avoid applying wallpaper adhesive to the extra bit of paper that you allowed for at the top and bottom as you know you'll cut most of it off so it doesn't need to be pasted and the paste will likely make a mess on the wooden panelling frame. 

Note: You could save the hassle of using wallpaper paste and opt for peel and stick wallpaper, but this does tend to work out more expensive and will often reduce the selection of beautiful patterns available. 

4. Position the wallpaper

DIY framed wallpaper panels

Carefully hang the first piece of wallpaper in your first wall panel on the wall by first lining the left or right-hand edge with the left or right-hand side of the panelling, then gently smoothing out any air bubbles all the way to the other side of the paper.

That last step might seem controversial as you would usually always hang the first drop of wallpaper away from the edge of a wall in case the wall isn't straight. But in this case, the wall panel should be straight and level and even if it isn't, it will look worse if you hang the wallpaper straight as this will highlight any issues with the wall panel.

I like to use a clean, dry cloth to smooth the wallpaper, just in case I've accidentally got any paste on my hands without realising, as you don't want to spread it on the front of the framed wallpaper / wall mural

5. Cut the framed wallpaper panel

framed wallpaper panels being cut to size

Once you're happy with the positioning, press the wallpaper right into the edges of the wall panel frame. I find it useful to fold the edge of the wallpaper once you know exactly where the line you want to cut is as this helps get a neater finish as creates a guide for cutting.

The line where to cut DIY framed wallpaper panels

Get your utility knife and work from the centre out to one corner then back to the centre and out to the opposite corner. The reason I cut the framed wallpaper like this is because if you start in a corner, the paper can start to pull when you apply pressure with the knife. This is especially likely if the paper is a little wet with adhesive. Whereas starting in the centre of each edge and working out to a corner means there's little chance of that happening.

Hold the paper firmly in place and taught with your hands before starting to cut to make sure that the line is exactly where you want it. I find it helpful to feel where the edge of the wooden panelling frame is with the edge of the knife to make sure I'm cutting as close to the frame as possible as you don't want any gaps between the wallpaper and the frame as this would detract from the final look.  

How to join framed wallpaper panels

DIY framed wallpaper panels

If you need to join two pieces of wallpaper in a framed panel, follow the steps: measure, cut, paste and position, but don't cut the edges of the first piece.

Hang the adjoining piece inside the wall panel frame, taking care to match up the pattern if there is one. Once you are happy that the pieces are perfectly lined up, cut the edges of the first piece then check the join is still perfect and cut the second piece.

I do it this way, just in case you need to move the first piece ever so slightly to match up the pattern with the second—if you've already cut the outline, then you don't have any wiggle room.

Make sure you've removed any air bubbles from both pieces before cutting. Apply a little extra paste under the edges where they meet at the join to ensure perfect adhesion, as you don't want any areas to lift. 

6. Clean the framed wallpaper panels

Cleaning DIY framed wallpaper panels

Once your wall panels are filled with your wallpaper art, it's time to clean up. Be sure to wipe away any drips or spillages on the wall of wallpaper paste with a damp cloth before it dries, as you'll be left with shiny patches otherwise. 

7. Admire the results

DIY framed wallpaper panels

Once all the panels are securely attached to the wall, step back and admire your handiwork. Whether you've chosen bold patterns or beautiful vintage looks, framed wallpaper is a wise investment in your interior scheme and can elevate a room.

Double-check that your framed wallpaper edges have fully stuck to the wall surface, and apply a little extra wallpaper paste if they haven't. 

Benefits of framed wallpaper panels

Framed wallpaper panels are one of the trendiest ways to include wallpaper into your space without having to make a huge investment of money, time or effort. Framed wallpaper panels can become art pieces in their own right as individual panels in a traditional block print style or even chinoiserie panels will stand out and catch the eye every day.

With these simple steps, you can easily create a dramatic wallpaper accent wall using wallpaper panels, adding a touch of personality and style to your living space.

Can you put wallpaper on panelling?

Adding wallpaper to wall panelling is a great way to elevate the look of your room. Wallpaper adds colour, pattern and even texture, and individual framed panels aren't going to overwhelm the room or your budget.

What wallpaper goes with wood paneling?

Most wallpapers go well inside framed wall panelling so choose the most suitable for your interior scheme. I like to pick colours from the colour palette for the room.

How do you apply wallpaper to panels?

Can you get wallpaper that looks like panelling?

Where next?

Below are some related blog posts that you might enjoy...

DIY Panelling tutorials

Tongue and groove - beadboard tutorial Stair panelling - how to template the angles

Best wood panelling for stairs - ideas and inspo

MDF wall panels - DIY wall panelling made easy

Wall panelling ideas and inspo

Half-wall panelling ideas and inspo

Fluted panels - where I’ve used them in my home

Wallpaper posts

Wallpaper panelling - get the look without the cost

How to hand paste-the-wall wallpaper a tutorial

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