Grasscloth – Black Hands!

I’m hanging a Thibaut grasscloth in a Heights dining room this week, a beautiful black / silver metalic / with a little brown in the mix.

But like many grasscloths these days, it is not color fast. Look at my hands, just from handling the dry paper. And it didn’t wash off completely, either – I went home with black hands!

Any moisture on the surface of the paper caused the black color to lift off, so I had to be extraordinarily careful not to have damp hands (we paper hangers are continually rinsing our hands and rags), or to touch the paper when I used my washrag to remove paste from the woodwork.

Note how the black ink rubbed off onto the back of the paper, and got into the paste. It’s really important to keep the bucket of paste clean, so I wasn’t too happy at all with the black gunk getting onto my brush – which then got dipped into the bucket of paste.

You can also see how the black dye got transfered onto the woodwork, where the paper overlapped the crown molding and the chair rail. Normally, the paste wipes off easily, but with this black color, I had to remove it very quickly, or it would dry and not want to come off. I followed by wiping with a dry paper towel, to keep the woodwork free of stain or residue.

Grasscloth doesn’t expand as much as other papers when it is pasted, and this particular one didn’t expand at all. This is good, because I could measure and cut my pieces to the exact width I needed, which eliminated excess paper at the woodwork, which would have left smeary black paste that would have had to be wiped off. It’s rare that I get to do that little trick, so I’m enjoying the different measuring and trimming technique with this job.

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