A Granthams Guide to Digital Wallpapers

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A Granthams Guide to Digital Wallpapers

March 13, 2019 3 min read

Digitally printable wall coverings and wall murals are rapidly becoming the most popular way for retail and leisure premises to market their message across internal walls.

Whether it’s producing a one-off wall mural or for creating a uniform look between stores, the practical options for digital wallpapers are both wide ranging and imaginative.

In this post we look at the different options in digital wall coverings and which should be used for where.

There are three main alternatives when it comes to the application of digital wallpapers:

  • Paste the paper
  • Paste the wall
  • Self-adhesive


All three of these variants use a similar PVC face layer. This PVC layer helps the ink key to the media and provides a solid base for a waterproof and scratch resistant print.

All three types will also be available in a smooth or textured finish.

We usually recommend a smooth finish if the final application is a brand message or detailed wall mural and a textured version if a more ‘wallpaper’ type design is required.

Traditional wallpapers have always been ‘paste the paper’.

Out would come the paste table, strips cut to size, and paste brushed all over the back of the wall covering.

The wallpaper is then left to ‘book’ - this process allows the paste to be absorbed into the back of the paper - and then applied panel by panel to the wall. Digital paper back products still use the same process.

The paper backed choices are usually the more economical variation of digital wallpapers and are more suitable for lower traffic areas and simply designed wall murals.


Paper backed products are also lighter in weight and being paper backed, they can tear more easily than heavier weighted fabric backed grades.

The ‘paste the wall’products have a fabric back instead of a paper liner. It means they are tougher, more resilient and have a premium, more commercial feel.

They’ll have the same smooth and textured options as the paper backed product and visually will appear no different once installed. They are however, more suitable for heavier traffic areas such as restaurants, busy retail or work areas.

As the name suggests, this media is installed by using ready mixed ‘paste the wall’ adhesive that’s applied with a roller one panel width at a time.

It’s not too long ago that ‘paste the wall’ wallcoverings were only used in digital wallpaper installations, but now take a look around the DIY stores and you’ll see this process being used with an increasing number of ‘domestic' grades.

The last type of digital wall covering is the self-adhesive versions.


Whilst a decorator will always be more at home wallpapering a paste-able product, if your installer is more used to applying self-adhesive vinyl, the SA versions could be quicker and easier to apply.

The self-adhesive versions can also have an opaque layer or backing to stop any show-through from blemishes on the wall.

It’s not just the wallpaper types that need careful consideration - with paste-able wallpapers there will also be options for the pastes.

There are specific pastes for walls that have been pre-painted, need priming due to new plaster, rough surfaces and most wall types in between.

If you’re unsure as to which to use, get in touch and we’ll help you find the right option.

We’re creating more of these guides to help you make the right choice with your products.

We’ve covered roller banners and stoplight media, and self-adhesive vinyls.

If there’s a media out there that you just can’t get your head around, let us know and we’ll look to take out some of the mystery! 

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