The wallpaper on the Airstream was starting to peel off and a general ascetic was in need of an update. My dad is a pilot and had some old aviation maps lying around which I took advantage of. They provided great color and pattern to give the walls some dimension and design, plus it is an AIRstream so I thought the AIR theme of the aviation maps was fitting 🙂 I wallpapered the two walls over the twin beds and the front and back sides of the bathroom doors.
-Wallpaper adhesive (amount depends on your project I needed only about a half gallon or less for my project)
-Wallpaper application brush
-Wallpaper smoothing tool
-Optional- Seam roller (I didn’t think it was super useful but you might)
-Oxiclean (to clean and prepare the walls)
– Paper cutter
Cost: Depends on the amount of supplies you need. The glue for a gallon was around $18, the tools were are $10 total, Oxiclean $10, and the maps vary depending on your source.
First clean and prepare the walls. If you are lucky the walls will be ready to go and not already covered in wallpaper. If you are unlucky like me you will be dealing with removing old wallpaper (tips on wallpaper removal). Once you have the old wallpaper removed you should make sure the walls are cleaned. I used and really was impressed with Oxiclean it removed the 1978 grimy feeling on my Airstream walls. Be sure to read the directions if you are using Oxiclean it is important to wash the walls with water after cleaning them. Let dry.
Once your walls are ready to go- plot out your map layout. Pushpins and forethought are useful here but since pushpins don’t go into Airstream walls and I have never been one for forethought I just went at it. You do your thing here everyone has their own style for these things. The directions on the wallpaper paste says to apply to the paper and then attach the paper to the wall. Well given my working space was squeezed between two twin beds I didn’t have this luxury. So it worked fine for me to apply the paste to the wall and then smooth the paper down with my smoothing tool. I found it worked best to work from the middle outward removing air bubbles as you go. You can use a mixture of large and small sections and for the edges you can leave a large overhanging and let dry and then use your papercutter to gently trim and line up the edges.
As I worked I found that the smaller sections I used the less trouble I had getting the air bubbles and wrinkles out. The larger sections were easier to work fast but proved to be more cumbersome. The tricky part of the process was the edges and smoothing the wrinkles. I lined up the edges of the maps with the wall and door edges for a smooth seam. This is where the seam roller was nice to have and I used the smoothing tool for the edging as well. The smaller cornered sections I used littler pieces and pre-pasted the paper and applied to the wall. Another tip is to wait till the edges are dry before you try to cut off any overhanging sections for the edging. I tore the paper a couple of times being impatient and had to cover them up and redo which took more time in the end.
Optional: Once you have applied all the wallpaper sections let dry for several days or so and then apply a clear acrylic sealant over the maps with a roller for a finish coat. This is not required and will make the wallpaper more difficult to remove so proceed with caution if you decide to go down that path.