Repair Job – Paper Not Sticking

Digital ImageDigital ImageThis is a solid vinyl on a woven fabric backing, that had been up in the outer room (sink area – no shower) of a bathroom for 30 or so years. These areas had begun to come loose. Both were spots where the installer had overlapped the paper.

Vinyl wallpaper won’t stick to vinyl wallpaper, because the surface is too slick for it go get a grab onto. Think about Colorforms temporary-stick toy. It will kind of stick, but not for the long haul, and not if there is stress put on the area.

Because there are always areas that will need to be overlapped in a wallpaper job, chemists have come up with special adhesives that will allow wallpaper to stick to a glossy or plastic surface. It’s called “border paste” or “vinyl-over-vinyl.” I think the original installer did use VOV in these spots, but that it simply gave out over time.

The VOV I carry is pretty thin, so I knew it would not be strong enough to overcome the curl in the paper in the corner – first photo. I needed something with more immediate tack. So instead I used clear caulk, one of my secret weapons, making sure to wipe any residue off the surface of the paper.

In the second photo, for some reason, the original paperhanger had overlapped a 1″ wide section above the door. In addition, the pattern was not matched correctly. At first, I thought I would remove the short strip on the left and replace it with a new one – and the homeowner had about 20″ left of paper, with the proper match, so it could have been done that way. But there would have been a noticeable color difference between the new strip and the one that had been on the wall for 30 years. Plus, it would have used up every single inch of paper she had left over.

So instead I did a splice. Since the two papers were already overlapped, it was simply a matter of using a very sharp razor blade to cut through the two layers of paper, being careful not to to score the wall beneath, and then removing the unneeded pieces, pasting the parts that needed paste, and smoothing the whole thing back into place. It worked perfectly.

Except that the pattern did not match. Never fear – I pulled out my trusty graphite pencil and drew on some leaves and stems, to disguise the mismatch. I was prepared to use watercolor to paint on some green leaves, too, but it was unnecessary.

The repair looked great, and the homeowner still has her 20″ of left over paper, in case something else happens that needs a little repair work.

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