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Wallpaper symbol guide

Wallpaper symbol guide

Understanding Wallpaper Symbols  

There are international performance symbols that often appear in wallpaper books and on product labels. Sometimes the definition for the symbol appear alongside it and other times not. This chart will be useful during the selection process.

Pattern Matching

Most wallpapers have a pattern repeat. The repeat is the vertical distance between a specific point on the pattern to the identical point vertically

Free Match are the simplest to hang as there is no pattern matching required when hanging wallpaper.


Straight Match refers to the same patterns being matched at the same height. It is where the left and the right edges of the wallpaper strip match in a straight horizontal line with the left and the right edges of the next strip of wallpaper.


Half Drop patterns repeats across the roll half way down the vertical repeat. This normally means allowing for extra length and cutting very carefully as each cut will start at the half repeat. To ensure you buy enough wallpaper, calculate as if it were an ordinary repeat and add half a repeat to each drop, except for the first one.


Reverse Hang is a technique for wallpaper installers to hang paper where each strip is alternatively hung ‘right side up’ and ‘upside down’ in papers with a random match. This is used to avoid or lessen the effects of shading variations.


Methods of Application

There are 3 types of methods of applying or activating the paste of a wallpaper. These are indicated by the following symbols:

Paste the Wallpaper

Paste is applied to the reverse side of the wallpaper. When using the Paste-the-Wallpaper, the paste is applied to the reverse side of the wallpaper before hanging. This method requires a process called “booking” which is a way to activate the paste allowing the paper to rest before hanging.


Paste the Wall

When using Paste-the-Wall, the paste is applied directly to the wall before hanging each strip of wallpaper. It is quick and easy to apply to your walls. No fuss, no mess, simply apply your paste to the wall then add the wallpaper. No need to pre soak this type of wallpaper because of the special backing that will not expand when wet.



The reverse side of the wallpaper is pre-coated with paste which is activated by dipping the wallpaper into a tray of water. The paper also requires the “booking” process after the paper has been soaked.

*TIP: Take extra care and precaution to keep adhesives and dirt from getting on the wallpaper surface


Methods of Removal  

There are 3 methods to remove wallpaper:

Strippable wallpapers can be removed from the wall without the use of water and soap stripped from the wall without leaving any residue behind. These are the most removable papers in the market and usually are printed on a Non-Woven substrate.


Peelable wallpapers can be partly removed without using water. The top layer of wallpaper will peel off the wall, leaving a backing behind. The bottom layer can be easily removed with soap and water mixture.

Wet Removable this symbol means you can only remove the wallpaper by wetting it. Ideally with warm, soapy water or liquid wallpaper stripper.

 Care Instructions

With these simple routine when followed on a regular basis can ensure a longer life to your wallpaper.

  • Ideal clean your wallpaper every 2-3 weeks
  • Vacuum your wallpaper! The best thing you can do to keep the wallcovering in
  • Wipe your wallpaper with a clean, dry cloth to remove dust particles.
  • Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with water. Wipe your wallpaper gently. Be sure not to use hard scrubbing pads.
  • Wipe the surface of your wallpaper from the bottom to the top,

In addition, each wallpaper has its own care instructions based on one of standard care symbols listed below.

Spongeable is referring to wallcoverings of which fresh spots of paste/adhesive can be wiped off the face of the paper with a damp soft cloth or sponge during the time of installation, providing it is done while the adhesive is damp.

Washable light stains can be removed by using a damp sponge & soapy water from a finished installed wallcovering. * Oil, fats and solvent based stains are not expected to be removable.

Extra-Washable dirt and most domestic water-based stain may be carefully cleaned from the face of the wallpaper with a wet cloth and soapy water. Some greasy stains may be removed if action is taken immediately.

Scrubbable this symbol means the wallpaper is very durable and can be scrubbed clean dirt and most domestic water-based stains can be cleaned from the face by using a sponge or soft brush & mild detergent. Oils, fats and certain solvent-based stains may be also be removed if cleaned immediately.


Light Exposure (Color Fastness)

If the room you are papering has full sun for any part of the day, the next symbols indicate the paper's resistant to fading:

Good color fastness (resistant to fading in daylight)          

Moderate color fastness


  • Fifth & Foster