How to Install Grass Cloth on a Flat Drywall Ceiling

Add organic color, pattern and texture to a lackluster ceiling with grass-cloth wall covering.

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Materials Needed:

  • grass-cloth wall covering by the roll (make sure you purchase rolls from the same dye lot)
  • retractable blade
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • wallpaper paste and smoothing tool
  • ladder
  • wall-covering primer
  • roller handle and sleeve
  • paint pan
  • measuring tape
  • straight edge or L-square

Measure Ceiling and Purchase Grass Cloth

In order to determine how many rolls of grass cloth are needed to cover the ceiling, use a measuring tape to obtain width and length. Rolls of grass cloth are treated with color in batches referred to as "dye lots." This means that each woven portion of grass cloth is dyed in large batches, resulting in lots which have extremely similar if not perfectly matching colors. To ensure rolls are almost identical in color, identify the dye lot run on the label to make sure they match.

Prime Ceiling

One day prior to installing grass cloth, roll on a solid coat of primer. If you don't have a full day, at least 6 hours of cure time is necessary between applying primer and installing grass cloth. Tip: Wall-covering primer not only makes installing wallpaper on the ceiling easier, it will also prevent damage to the sheetrock should you decide to remove it years later.

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Determine Orientation Then Prep for Hanging

The grass cloth's textural weave allows you to achieve different looks based on its orientation. Before cutting grass cloth into panels, decide if you want the pattern to run parallel (Image 1) or perpendicular (Image 2) to the room's entrance. Tip: For the cleanest look, it's best to choose whichever orientation will result in less seams. Unfurl rolls of grass cloth on a long, flat, level surface. Use a measuring tape to mark any necessary cuts, then use a pencil and straight edge to mark a perfectly straight line. Cut along line with scissors then roll paste onto the back of the cut panel (Image 3).

Book Grass Cloth

Prior to installation, each cut grass-cloth panel needs to be "booked" before it can be installed as a full run. In order to do this, allow 5 minutes for the paste to cure, then fold the pasted side back onto itself, creating folds approximately 12-14 inches wide. The overall shape of the folded strips resembles a book spine, hence the term "booking."

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Apply Paper to Ceiling

Starting in the ceiling's center, attach the first run of grass cloth by pressing it into place, then slightly adjusting it until it's perfectly straight (Image 1). Make your way from one side of the room to the other, pressing the paper firmly against the ceiling. Once paper is properly positioned, use wallpaper smoothing tool to release any air bubbles (Image 2), then cut any excess along edges using a retractable blade (Image 2).

Match Up Seams and Repeat

Once center run is in place, add grass-cloth panels to both sides, following the steps listed above, until entire ceiling is covered.

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