Career Profile: Paper Hanger
Making a room look nice takes a lot of work. Interior decorators might plan the colours and designs, but sometimes, other people do the work to make it all come together. Paper hangers are a big part of this process. Working as paper hangers lets people be part of something creative while enjoying the benefits of being in a trade.
Working as a paper hanger is not as simple as it might seem. Sometimes, it involves using tools to scrape a layer of wallpaper or paint off the walls first. The next step is mixing glue and putting it on the walls. Sometimes, wallpaper already has glue on one side, and then the worker just has to get it wet and put it on the walls.
Depending on the pattern on the wallpaper and the design of the room, this step might be very easy or very difficult. Paper hangers measure each wall and cut the paper to fit as exactly as possible. In a room with four straight walls, this could be easy, but the difficulty comes when a room has a lot of short sections that need different lengths of wallpaper. Keeping the room from looking patched together can be difficult in these cases.
Lining up the designs on wallpaper can also be a challenge. Since each piece of wallpaper is only a metre or two wide, paper hangers need to match up the designs so that they look even. This can be very easy or quite challenging.
Work as a paper hanger is physically difficult, with a lot of bending and stretching. In hot rooms, it can be very hard to handle the materials. Still, paper hanging is an indoor job that people can do at any time of the year. The busiest times are likely to be in the summer and fall construction seasons, but customers might choose to get their rooms redone even in the middle of the winter.
Being able to deal with the public is useful, especially for paper hangers working alone or in small companies. Mathematical skills are also necessary to calculate how much wallpaper is necessary for a project. Training in interior design is also useful, although usually other people do the initial planning. Still, knowing what looks good in different types of rooms can help paper hangers more effectively with their customers.
The best way to learn how to be a paper hanger is to study painting and decorating at a trade college and then to get into an apprenticeship. This process could take about three years of classroom work and on-the-job training. Certification might be necessary for some jobs.
Generally, paper hangers earn between about $19 and $36 per hour, and their job prospects depend on the amount of construction in the area. Bigger cities are likely to have more jobs but also more competition, and paper hangers can sometimes find enough work in smaller cities and towns. This type of job is generally not for older people, but it can be a good career for many years.
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College of Trades. “Painter and Decorator—Commercial and Residential.” https://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/TFS_Painter_Decorator_CR_Feb2016.pdf.
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