How Thick Should Wallpaper Paste Be?

You picked out the cutest wallpaper, and you are super excited about decorating your area. Put the paper down! Don't glue your wallpaper before knowing how thick the paste should be. Applying the wrong consistency can ruin your new design. To keep you from making this mistake, we set out to find the perfect answer and outlined our findings below. 

When mixing wallpaper paste, it needs to be of medium consistency. If the mixture is too thin, it will run down the surface, causing a mess that likely won't adhere your paper to the wall. However, if the substance is too thick, you could end up with lumps in your newly applied wallpaper.

Don't stop here. While researching the subject, we came across a much easier way to apply wallpaper. Keep reading to learn about pre-mixed solutions. We will also reveal answers to other popular questions, including how much water to put in your paste, how to thicken wallpaper paste, and if it is ok to use lumpy glue. 

A gorgeous living room with a gray couch and gray throw pillows with a patterned wallpaper background, A gorgeous living room with a gray couch and gray throw pillows with a patterned wallpaper background

How Thick Should Wallpaper Paste Be?

Glue attaching equipment illustrations on a white background

When applying wallpaper, your paste mixture needs to be just right. It should be of medium consistency. If you get the powder solution too thin, it will be runny, draining down the wall. It also won't properly adhere to the surface. However, creating a paste that is too thick can cause lumps to form behind the paper. 

How to Create the Proper Consistency

A glue with a small scooping equipment for gluing wallpaper

Many wallpaper mixing powders come in pre-measured pouches. For most pastes and wallpapers, depending on the brand of the paste, you will need to mix approximately seven quarts of cold water per one pouch of mix. This will cover roughly 8 to 10 rolls of wallpaper. 

You can watch this YouTube video on how to mix wallpaper paste:

Don't Forget to Prime

Before applying your wallpaper, make sure to prime the area. You'll need to make sure it is clean and dry with no traces of mold or mildew. Apply the primer over the desired location, allowing it to dry for roughly two hours before applying the paper.

This will create a smooth surface on which to work, and it will also seal the wall, keeping the wallpaper glue from penetrating the paint. Applying wallpaper over an unprimed surface will make the paper difficult to remove and will likely mess up the wall. 

Check out this wallpaper primer on Amazon. 

Types of Wallpaper Pastes 

There are three basic types of wallpaper paste:

  1. Cold water paste
  2. Heavy duty pre-mixed pastes
  3. Paste the wall adhesives

1. Cold Water Paste

This is the most common type of wallpaper paste. It comes in a powder form that you must mix with cold water to reach the proper consistency. 

You can view this cold water paste on Amazon. 

2. Pre-Mixed Wallpaper Adhesive

There is a much easier way to go about it than powdered mixes. Try premixed wallpaper adhesives for glue that is always the correct consistency without the hassle of mixing it yourself. You'll find they can make your DIY projects so much easier. Using a paint roller or brush, apply to the back of the paper, taking care not to get any on the front. 

You can find this pre-mixed wallpaper adhesive on Amazon. 

3. Paste the Wall Adhesive

If you don't want the hassle of rolling paste onto the back of the wallpaper, paste the wall adhesive will eliminate that step. Like cold water pastes, paste the wall adhesives typically come in powder form. Mix the solution according to the packaging instructions and apply directly to the wall. 

Check out this paste the wall adhesive on Amazon.

Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

For an even simpler process, try peel-and-stick wallpaper. There is no need to use paste, and you can reposition as necessary. It is available in lots of fun patterns and is easy to remove when the time comes, possibly without the assistance of a wallpaper stripper. 

You can find this peel-and-stick wallpaper on Amazon. 

How Much Water Do You Put in Wallpaper Paste?

The amount of water you put in wallpaper paste will depend on the particular product. For most brands, the recommended amount of water is 5 to 7 quarts per package of dry mix. This ratio may change depending on the brand of wallpaper you are using. 

How Do You Thicken Wallpaper Paste?

If you accidentally add too much water, leaving you with runny paste, you can add more powder until the mixture reaches the desired consistency. However, if you used the entire package on the first batch, you will need to have an extra pack on hand for this to work. 

Why is My Wallpaper Paste Lumpy?

Does your wallpaper solution continue to form lumps? This is a common problem that stems from improper mixing. You should avoid dumping all the powder into a bucket, then adding water and mixing. You should also not fill the bucket with cold water and dump it into the entire package of powder. Instead, gradually stir the powder into the cold water, taking care to stir it thoroughly before adding more. 

Is it Okay to Use Lumpy Wallpaper Paste?

It is not okay to use lumpy wallpaper paste on your walls. If your wallpaper paste is lumpy, those lumps will show through the wallpaper, giving an unappealing look to your project. 

How Long Can You Leave Wallpaper Paste in a Bucket?

Don't toss the paste in the trash if you didn't finish the wallpapering project before the day was over. Place a lid on your bucket, and the mixture should last between 2 and 7 days, depending on the brand. You will be able to tell when it is no longer usable because it will become too liquidy. 

Is Wallpaper Paste Difficult to Remove?

Interior of an unfinished living room scraping the walls off its white paint

Removing wallpaper paste is no easy task, but it's not impossible. If you are removing old wallpaper, it will likely be more challenging to peel away, coming off in small strips at a time. When working with wallpaper that hasn't been up for too long, you may be able to grab a corner and peel it off with ease. If there is no primer between the wallpaper paste and the wall, it will be more tedious to remove the paper without tearing the paint off the wall.

Either way, you can use a wallpaper paste stripper to make the task easier. No mixing is required, and it comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle. Spray the formula on the stubborn wallpaper or glue, then use a scraping tool to remove it. Repeat the process as necessary. 

You can find this wallpaper stripper on Amazon. 

You can also find this wallpaper scraping tool on Amazon. 

Can I Paste Over Old Wallpaper?

We get it; removing old wallpaper and glue can be a headache, leaving you to wonder if you can paste over old wallpaper or glue. In many circumstances, you can paste new wallpaper on top of the existing wallpaper. However, you should not remove the old paper and put new glue on top of the old glue. 

If the old wallpaper is in good condition with no lumps, creases, or tears, you can apply new paper over it. This is only suitable, though, if there is only one coat of paper on the walls. If you have already glued over one layer, don't add another to it. 

A gorgeous blue triangle patterned wallpaper with a blue sofa

Should You Paste the Wall or Paper?

If you are using traditional wallpaper paste, it's essential to paste the backside of the wallpaper. Be careful not to get glue on the front. However, if you prefer to paste the wall, you can purchase paste designed specifically for that purpose. 

Pasting the wall is typically easier and less time-consuming than pasting the paper. When applying to the wallpaper, you risk getting the paper too wet or crinkling it. However, if you apply directly to the wall, you can easily remove any excess glue before positioning the paper. 


When working with wallpaper paste, it's important to mix it to the proper consistency. If it is too watery, it will lose its adhesive qualities and make a mess on both your wall and paper. However, if the paste is too thick, it will cause unsightly lumps in the wallpaper. To reach the perfect consistency, follow the package directions precisely for a medium texture that will create a strong, long-lasting hold. 

Don't leave yet! We can help you with all your wallpapering questions!

If you need to know if wallpaper will hide cracks and imperfections in your wall, check out this article. If you need help choosing between wallpaper and paint, read this post discussing which lasts longer

No matter what your home decor question may be, we are sure to have the answer. 

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