Economy, Business And Markets

Launching Wallpaper Production Line

Launching Wallpaper Production Line
Launching Wallpaper Production Line

The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, in its latest report on Iran’s investment priorities, pointed to wallpaper production as one of the potential areas of the domestic industrial sector.

Wallpaper is used to cover and decorate the interior walls of homes and offices. It is mostly sold in rolls and pasted onto a wall. It either comes plain as lining paper so it can be painted or used to cover uneven surfaces and structures or textured, with a regular pattern or design.

Wallpapers have quite a history in Iran, with a few domestic companies manufacturing this interior decoration product for well over four decades to meet a sizable and fairly consistent demand.

In recent years, however, the skyrocketing production costs and rampant imports slowly marginalized domestic players and the market was dominated by foreign producers.

The Persian daily Forsat-e Emrooz recently published an article on establishing a wallpaper production line in Iran and the sector’s investment potential.

  Production, Design, Investment

Wallpaper consists of a backing, ground coat and paste used to stick the paper to the wall. Non-woven backings can be of ground wood, wood pulp, or wood pulp with synthetic material.

The ground coat is the background color laid on the surface, on which the pattern is printed. Coatings or laminates are made of latex or vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) and render the paper durable and strippable. Ground coats also include additives that enhance the ease of handling, opacity, and drapability.

Pastes may or may not be applied to wallpapers. If they are, they are usually made up of cornstarch or wheat starch and applied wet to the backing. Pre-pasted wallpapers must be rewetted for adhesion.

New wallpaper designs are generally derived from sketches purchased from a staff designer or freelance wallpaper designer. The artist lays out the design on tracing paper and completes at least a partial pencil sketch. The marketing and design staff will then decide if the paper is the right fit for a specific look or line. If the design is accepted, the artist produces a full-scale color sketch in various colors and palettes.

After the printing process is chosen, the sketch is fine-tuned to fit the requirements of the printing process and the pattern is sent to the engraver or screen-maker.

Once the cylinder or screens are in place and a few pattern repeats are printed, a “strike off’ (sample wallpaper) is printed to test the color and pattern. If given the go, the paper is commercially printed in large runs.

Wallpaper printing techniques include surface printing, gravure printing, silk screen printing, rotary printing and digital printing, each with certain advantages.

According to a player of the field, an initial investment of close to $3 million is required to embark on production.

“All the materials and machinery needed for production have to be imported,” he said, adding that China has now replaced Europe as the main supplier, with nearly each ton of Chinese wallpaper costing close to $1,700.

The import of machines need at least $2 million.


The wallpaper production sector’s current bane might just be its advantage.

According to a wallpaper expert, retailers and consumers believe that domestic products cannot rival the quality of foreign offerings, and consequently, the sizable market demand has turned away from domestic wallpapers.

“This is an opportunity for tapping into the market,” said Mehrdad Moazeni, adding that since product quality is the main concern for consumers, domestic producers can make a strong return and use the high demand by manufacturing high-quality, consumer-friendly wallpapers.

Emphasizing that price is no longer the sole determining factor in seizing the market, Moazeni urged domestic producers to move toward new and creative wallpaper designs and cater to the consumers’ tastes and preferences.

“As a wallpaper market expert, I suggest a close and detailed revision of the current designs used for domestic wallpapers. Furthermore, a move toward designs based on Iranian native and traditional patterns can be an ingenious strategy to not only retake the domestic market, but also enter regional and international markets,” he concluded.