July 15, 2024

Conquering the Crease: Smoothing Out Wrinkles and Bubbles in Wallpaper

Wallpapering your home can be a rewarding project, adding a touch of personality and style to any room. But encountering wrinkles, bumps, or air bubbles during the hanging process can be frustrating. Fear not, wallpaper warriors! This comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge and techniques to smooth out those imperfections and achieve a flawless, professional-looking finish.

Understanding the Enemy: Causes of Wallpaper Imperfections

Several factors can contribute to wrinkles, bumps, and air bubbles in wallpaper:

  • Improper Surface Preparation: A dusty, greasy, or uneven wall surface prevents the wallpaper adhesive from fully adhering, creating pockets for air to get trapped and leading to bumps and potential lifting.
  • Uneven Adhesive Application: Inconsistent or insufficient adhesive application can leave areas where the wallpaper doesn’t fully bond to the wall, allowing wrinkles or bubbles to form.
  • Improper Wallpaper Handling: Folding, creasing, or crumpling the wallpaper before hanging can lead to wrinkles that become permanent once the adhesive sets.
  • Poor Smoothing Technique: Not applying enough pressure or using the wrong tools while smoothing the wallpaper onto the wall can trap air or leave minor folds.

Prevention is Key: Techniques to Avoid Wallpaper Imperfections

Taking preventative measures during wallpapering is the best way to minimize wrinkles, bumps, and air bubbles:

  1. Surface Prep is Paramount: Ensure your wall surface is clean, dry, and free of dust, grease, or loose debris. Wash the wall with a mild detergent solution and allow it to dry completely before hanging wallpaper. For uneven surfaces, consider using filler to create a smooth canvas.
  2. Adhesive Application Matters: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your chosen wallpaper adhesive. Apply the paste evenly to the back of the wallpaper, ensuring a consistent coat across the entire surface. Pay particular attention to the edges and corners.
  3. Careful Handling is Crucial: Unfold the wallpaper strip carefully and avoid creasing or folding it as you prepare to hang it. Use a designated hanging table or a clean floor space to keep the wallpaper unfurled and wrinkle-free.
  4. Squeegee with Confidence: As you hang the wallpaper strip, use a wallpaper smoothing tool or a clean, damp cloth to gently but firmly press the wallpaper onto the wall, starting from the center and working outwards. This motion squeegees out any trapped air and helps prevent wrinkles.

Pro Tip: Invest in a high-quality wallpaper smoothing tool. These tools come in various materials like plastic or felt and are designed to effectively smooth out wallpaper and eliminate imperfections without damaging the material.

Smoothing It Out: Techniques for Fixing Wallpaper Imperfections

Even with the best intentions, imperfections can sometimes occur. Here’s how to address them:


  • The Gentle Press: For small wrinkles, a gentle but firm press with your smoothing tool or a clean cloth can often smooth them out. Work from the center of the wrinkle outwards, applying pressure in the direction you want the wrinkle to disappear.
  • The Repositioning Maneuver: For more prominent wrinkles, you might be able to carefully peel back a corner of the wallpaper where the wrinkle is located. Be very gentle to avoid tearing the material. Then, using a smoothing tool, gently re-adhere the wallpaper section to the wall while smoothing out the wrinkle.

Air Bubbles:

  • The Gentle Press: For small air bubbles, a gentle but firm press with your smoothing tool or a clean cloth can often push the air out towards the edges of the wallpaper. Work from the center of the bubble outwards.
  • The Pin Prick Approach: For more stubborn bubbles, a small pinprick can be used to release the trapped air. Carefully insert a straight pin perpendicularly through the bubble and into the wall. Don’t push the pin too far, just enough to create a tiny hole. Then, use your smoothing tool to gently press out the air bubble, working from the hole outwards. Wipe away any excess adhesive that may seep out with a damp cloth.

Pro Tip: When using the pinprick approach, place a small piece of clear tape over the hole after smoothing out the bubble. This helps prevent the wallpaper from tearing at the pinhole and ensures a clean finish.

  • The Syringe Solution: For larger air bubbles or those that persist after the pinprick method, a syringe can be a handy tool. Fill a clean syringe with some of the leftover wallpaper adhesive. Carefully insert the needle’s tip (without the plunger depressed) into the bubble, pushing it through the wallpaper and into the space between the wallpaper and the wall. Slowly inject a small amount of adhesive through the needle. Withdraw the needle and then use your smoothing.

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