Installing Anaglypta for Instant Elegance

If you’ve considered wainscoting for an elegant wall covering, you have by now discovered anaglypta, basically a heavily embossed wallpaper.  It’s used on the lower half of the wall to mimic the carved plaster and wood panels of the Victorian and Arts and Crafts Home, and is still quite popular today.

A fine, budget, eco-friendly alternative to more expensive wainscoting options, anaglypta can be installed  by most DIY’ers and costs approximately $20 per double roll, which covers 56 square feet.


4' metal straight edge or level
Anaglypta wall covering
Paint roller
Releasable painting tape
Paint brush
Wallpaper adhesive or paste
Drop cloths
Chalk Line
Sharp scissors and/or a razor knife
Smoothing brushes or a foam roller
5 gallon bucket and sponges
Paste brush
Measuring tape

  • Snap a chalk line to help align the anaglypta.  The rule of thumb for the height is 1/3 up the wall, usually 32-36 inches.
  • The Anaglypta features a repeating pattern, so it's easy to cut to the height of the line.
  • Roll or brush glue evenly onto the back of the cut pieces using the recommended adhesive, which is usually clay based.
  • Bookend the sections -- i.e., fold the edges over each other to join them -- and set the pieces aside if set up time is recommended – in some cases its about 10 to 15 minutes
  • Align bottom of the Anaglypta to the molding and smooth up using a long-bristled brush to evenly distribute the glue underneath.  A foam roller works well also without crushing the pattern.
  • Overlap seams of each piece, tapping seams down with a shorter bristled brush to ensure adhesion to wall. Again, the foam roller is an easier option.
  • Wipe excess glue away with a damp sponge.
  • Continue this process until you've covered the entire area.

Paint the covering using the recommended paint, usually latex.  Using two colors or a glaze can highlight the embossing for a stunning look. The most elegant finishing touch is to install a chair rail.

If you like this look on the wall, try a ceiling installation to mimic the old pressed tin panels from Victorian homes at a fraction of the cost.  Once you paint over it, no one will know its not tin!