How to Wallpaper with Newspaper

Tilley making sure the table is sturdy.

Actually, the end of the month is a great time to get great finds for free. Last weekend we decided to try out an idea we have for a coffee table. We grabbed this trashed side table, raided the free newspapers, picked up some sponge brushes at the dollar store and invested in some polymer medium at our favourite art store. Total cost $14.50.

Stacy Reynaud

How to wallpaper with newspapers and other stuff.


* glossy polymer medium

* sponge brush

* scissors

* your selection of papers

* (optional) shiny water-based polyurethane (clear or tinted)

* paintbrush

The polyurethane can be omitted. However, it gives a glossy protective coating.

If you decide to use polyurethane, make sure it's water-based, or it will smear and ruin the print. Also, the picture from the other side will show through.

The polymer medium can be used as an undercoat and as a final coat.

1. Cut the strips of paper you want to use and turn them face down on a work surface.

2. Apply polymer medium with a sponge brush to the surface. Do only a small section because it dries quickly.

3. Place the strips of paper on the wet surface and press down.

4. Coat it lightly with the medium; if foam forms on the paper, it will not dry clear.

5. Continue to cover the surface this way; overlap the edges and corners as you continue to make the collage.

6. Rinse the sponge brush thoroughly so you can reuse it at another time.

7. Once both sides have a coating of the polymer medium applied to them, they are sealed, and regular water-based polyurethane varnish can be applied on top. The polymer medium is used as a gluing agent as well as a sealer for the paper.

8. (optional) With a paintbrush, coat all surfaces with glossy water-based polyurethane. This gives the paper a hard protective finish. It takes 24 hours to dry and must be painted on evenly in one direction.

9. If you decided to omit the polyurethane finish, the surface will require several polymer medium coats to give it a final finish. This dries within fifteen to twenty minutes. The finish will not be as smooth as the polyurethane. It will turn white if anything wet touches it for a prolonged period. Other than that, the finish is exceptionally durable.