how long does wallpaper paste take to dry

Quick Answer: How Long Does Wallpaper Paste Take to Dry?

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

When you start wallpapering, you quickly learn that a big part of the success is down to proper timing. Whether it’s when you should mix your paste, how long it will last, or how long it takes to soak in and eventually dry, getting the timing right is extremely important.

As we look into how long wallpaper paste takes to dry, we will see that, in general, you’re going to have to wait between 24 and 36 hours for the wallpaper paste to dry. However, we will uncover shortly that many factors can affect your paste’s total drying time. We’ll also see what happens if you don’t wait long enough for your paste to dry. You’ll want to make sure you avoid this!

So, how long does wallpaper paste take to dry actually? Let’s find it out.

How Long Does Wallpaper Adhesive Take to Dry?

No matter if you’re decorating your living room or your bedroom, choosing the wallpaper is likely a time-consuming task. After all, you’ll have to live with the design for many years to come, so you want to get the choice just right.

Having taken the time, and cost, to make your selection, you’ll also need to spend the right amount of time hanging your wallpaper.

Whether you’re using traditional “paste the paper” wallpaper paste or modern “paste the wall paste” (which must be used with specially manufactured non-woven substrate paper), you must allow enough time for the paste to dry to avoid problems. Generally speaking, most wallpaper paste takes between 24 and 36 hours to dry after putting the paper up.

It’s essential to understand that products will have different recommended drying times, so you must check the manufacturer’s instructions for the wallpaper paste and paper that you’ll be using.

Some quick-drying wallpaper adhesives on the market claim to dry in only an hour. However, it’s worth knowing that these are typically trickier to use and may not give you as good a result as products that take longer.

When you apply wallpaper paste, there are actually two different drying times. Let’s see what the difference is.

Soak Time

When applying wallpaper paste to the paper, you need to follow the soak or booking time. This is the time you need to leave after applying the wallpaper paste before hanging the paper — usually about five or ten minutes.

During this time, when pasting the paper, the paste will soak thoroughly into the wallpaper backing, causing it to expand a little as it absorbs all the moisture.

You must get the timing right, so it’s a good idea to set a timer once you’ve applied the paste. The paper will over-expand if you let the wallpaper paste soak for too long. In this case, when the paste does eventually dry, the paper will contract too much and leave gaps.

Conversely, if you don’t let the wallpaper paste soak for long enough, the paper will continue to expand once it’s on the wall, which can create bubbles and cause creases to form.

If you’re using patterned wallpaper, the soak time for each strip must be identical, so the paper doesn’t expand by differing amounts and make a distorted pattern.

Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s information about soak times carefully, including any modifications that you need to make based on room temperature.

“Paste the wall” wallpaper paste will not have a soak time for the wallpaper, but you need to follow the directions for applying the adhesive and when to place the paper.

Drying Time

The total drying time is the amount of time it takes for the wallpaper paste to completely dry and the paper to contract to its final size.

You must leave long enough to let the wallpaper dry before trimming, and if you’re going to be painting your wallpaper or applying a border, it must be fully dry before you proceed.

What Determines How Long Wallpaper Paste Takes to Dry?

When thinking about the time wallpaper paste takes to dry, we need to consider the factors that can make the time longer or shorter.


How fast the wallpaper dries depends on room temperature. The warmer it is, the quicker the drying process will be. Conversely, if it’s cold, you need to wait longer.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for how temperature can affect the paste and wallpaper you’re using. Take note of any maximum or minimum temperatures at which you can use the products.

If it’s really cold, you could use heaters in the room to dry the wallpaper faster. However, be careful. It’s not always a good idea to make the space really hot as you might make the wallpaper dry unevenly.


High humidity will also make your wallpaper paste take longer to dry. If you’re experiencing particularly humid weather or you’ve been doing a lot of painting and your rooms are damp, it might be worth using a dehumidifier if you’re pushed for time.

How Much Paste Is Used

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the more paste you use, the longer it will take to dry.

It might seem like you want to use plenty of wallpaper paste so the wallpaper sticks well to the wall. However, using both too much paste and not enough can cause problems. Try to apply a layer of paste evenly on the entire strip to the very edge, so you don’t create problems with adhesion or use so much that leftover wallpaper paste makes blisters.

Take the time to remove excess paste from the wallpaper with a damp sponge. Gently smooth the wallpaper down with a clean cloth.

The Thickness of the Wallpaper

Generally, the thicker and heavier the wallpaper you’re using, the more wallpaper paste you will need and the longer it will take to dry. Take care when soaking thick wallpaper, as it can dry at different speeds. If the wallpaper is folded adhesive side in, the edges are the only part exposed and may dry faster than the centre.

The Wall Itself

When you apply your pasted wallpaper to the wall, the surface will absorb moisture and dry the wallpaper.

It’s important not to try and wallpaper bare plaster as it will absorb so much moisture that the wallpaper won’t stick. Always seal plaster before you start it so that the wallpaper has a chance to dry properly.

Incorrectly Mixed Paste

Unless you use pre-mixed wallpaper adhesive, you’ll need to mix the paste yourself. Try to use a wallpaper paste bucket with volume markings to make the mixing easier.

If your wallpaper paste has too much water, it will take longer to dry. More importantly, it may not stick properly and might make air bubbles under the wallpaper. Although air bubbles might reduce slightly once the wallpaper is dry, they probably won’t disappear completely.

If you make the wallpaper paste too thick, you could end up with lumps underneath the wallpaper.

What Happens if You Don’t Let Hanging Wallpaper Dry Properly?
a woman decorating her wall border

Will it really be that bad if you don’t leave enough time for your wallpaper to fully dry?

Well, as we’ve said, when wallpaper is soaking, it expands, and when it dries, it contracts. This means that if you trim your wallpaper before it’s sufficiently dried, you might have some unsightly gaps when the wallpaper gets smaller.

If you’re going to be putting paint on the wallpaper, it needs to be fully dry so that you don’t increase the paper’s moisture content with the paint and prevent the paste from sticking properly to the wall.

Similarly, if you intend to add a border, you should ensure that your wallpaper is entirely dry so the moisture from the border glue doesn’t create bubbles.

Let Your Wallpaper Dry Properly

So, how long does wallpaper paste take to dry? Generally, we’ve seen that you need to allow 24 to 36 hours. We’ve also considered how important it is to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get an idea of the wallpapers’ exact soak time.

Remember that it’s well worth allowing sufficient time for your wallpaper to dry, so the cost and your hard work don’t go to waste.

Wallpaper can create stylish and highly personal finishes for your rooms. Take the time to do the job correctly: let the adhesive dry properly, and you’ll end up with the walls you’ve dreamt of!

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