How to Wallpaper Inside Picture Frame Molding

A step-by-step tutorial for how to hang wallpaper with an unpasted mural inside of picture frame molding for a whimsical, traditional look.

With Mission: Big Girl Room underway, it’s looking extra cute around here with this sweet chinoiserie wallpaper mural!

It turned out even BETTER than I imagined! (Don’t you love it when that happens?)

And so far, Regan approves of her bedroom makeover.

chinoiserie wallpaper inside picture frame molding in a girl's room

Back before she was born, when we were deep into prepping her nursery, we put up this picture frame molding and painted the entire room Magnolia Home True White knowing that one day, this baby girl would likely develop quite a personality when we could later add color and pattern to further express it.

So yesterday, we painted the ceiling Romabio Barefoot Dance from our color collection to amp up the color component. (You can see more blush paint colors I love here.)

picture frame molding in a girl's room

And to add some pattern, a soft, elegant, whimsical chinoiserie wallpaper mural with lots of flowers, birds, and butterflies feels so fitting for her.

I’ve seen a huge increasing trend lately to add wallpaper and murals inside of picture frame molding. But even though it seems to be rising in trend, it still remains a classic.

So I wanted to try it here and had this one focal wall finished in about 2 hours. (Based on this wall’s measurements, our mural cost $385.)

How to Wallpaper Inside Picture Frame Molding


*I used an unpasted mural, so this method will be slightly different in adhesion if you’re working with a pre-pasted or peel-and-stick wallpaper or mural. I find unpasted wallpaper to be the easiest to apply to walls but the process is more messy than peel-and-stick.

The Steps

1. Wipe down the wall you will be wallpapering first with a damp sponge to remove any residues or dust from the surface.

Wiping down picture frame molding to wallpaper

2. Mix your wallpaper paste in the bucket following the container’s instructions. (Mine called to be mixed with 4 liters of cold water and stirred briskly for a few minutes and left to set.)

mixing wallpaper paste

3. While my wallpaper paste set, I started marking the wall for the first roll of wallpaper. Use the tape measure to measure the width of your wallpaper. Then, mark that measurement on the wall with pencil from your starting point at the top of the picture frame molding rectangle.

4. Position a plumb line at the pencil measurement from the top molding and mark the bottom molding where the plumb line touches.

5. Use a level between the points to mark the starting line for the first wallpaper roll. (These steps are very important to ensure your wallpaper design is completely straight.)

setting a plumb line for hanging wallpaper

6. Measure the height of your first picture frame rectangle and add about 3 inches.

7. Measure, mark, and cut your first length of wallpaper using the measurement from Step 6.

measuring and cutting wallpaper

8. Use the angled paint brush to begin applying wallpaper paste directly to the wall in the corners and edges.

applying paste to wallpaper picture frame molding

9. Then, roll the paste on the rest of the surface area where you will be applying your first wallpaper strip.

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applying paste to wallpaper inside picture frame molding

10. Line up the wallpaper strip on top of the pasted wall and press into place. The reason I like applying unpasted wallpaper vs peel-and-stick is it’s much more forgiving so that you can slide the wallpaper around on the wet wall until it’s in the position you like.

applying wallpaper inside picture frame molding

11. Smooth out any air bubbles to the edges with the wallpaper smoother.

smoothing wallpaper

12. After smoothing, you should be left with a 1-2 inch overhang of wallpaper at the top and bottom edges.

trimming excess wallpaper around picture frame molding

13. Using your metal edge (in my case, a trowel), press the wallpaper firmly against the edge of the molding and cut the excess with a sharp utility knife. (Change the blades often to make cutting easier with each wallpaper strip.)

trimming excess wallpaper around picture frame molding

14. Use a damp sponge (I dip mine in the bowl of water and wring it out often) to wipe away any excess paste left on the wallpaper.

wiping down pasted wallpaper

15. Repeat Steps 6-14 to apply the next wallpaper strip, and be sure to do Steps 3-5 when starting each section of picture frame molding.

It turned out so perfect in here! Just look at Regan’s face when she saw her new wallpaper mural. Oh, my heart!

chinoiserie wallpaper in a girl's room

We have one last night in the crib and then it’s getting swapped for a big girl bed!

It’s like this wallpaper mural was made for this space. I just can’t get over how much it adds to the room!

chinoiserie wallpaper inside picture frame molding in a girl's room

Chinoiserie Wallpaper | Light Fixture | Crib | Crib Skirt | Rug

We still have big plans to add another wallpaper mural to our dining room, so hang tight for that too.

What do you think so far? Have you ever tried to hang wallpaper before? It’s one of those projects that I don’t look forward to doing at all, but once it’s done, I’m SO glad I did it. It really doesn’t take long to get the hang of how to wallpaper.

Wallpapering really isn’t as scary as you might think.

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how to wallpaper inside picture frame molding

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hang wallpaper by myself?

Absolutely! Having a second set of hands is helpful, but it’s definitely possible to manage on your own. I find pre-pasted wallpaper to be the most challenging and usually in need of a helper. Pre-pasted wallpaper is heavier which poses a greater risk for tearing without someone to help.

Is it cheaper to paint or wallpaper?

Paint is definitely cheaper, and you can even try stenciling for a more budget option to get the look of wallpaper with paint. There are beautiful wallpapers out there that don’t break the bank though.

What type of wallpaper should I choose if I want a temporary solution?

Vinyl peel-and-stick wallpaper is best if you want the flexibility to remove it without any mess or damage later.

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  1. Outstandingly gorgeous. In a million years I would have never thought to do this. It’s not surprising you did, because you rock that way. I love what you did to an already amazing room. Your daughter is getting more and more gorgeous right before our eyes. I know she will always love her room. You are a fantastic mom. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you, Ivory! She was SO totally thrilled about all of those flowers and birds and butterflies. Just made my heart melt. 🙂

  2. It looks very beautiful and peaceful. I hope Regan enjoys her big girl room for a long time.

    I don’t hate wall paper…I have Magnolia home collection peel and stick olive branch in charcoal in my kitchen. 2/3 of the wall is Kendall charcoal by Benjamin Moore and the top 1/3 is the wall paper. My husband hung it while I was recovering from bilateral mastectomy. I’m not completely sure I like it because of the reason you stated -it’s harder to manipulate and get in the right spot, and we have some wicked angles on that wall. I do have a roll of unpasted I could redo it…..I may just do that eventually.