New Wallpaper in the Wallpaper Lady’s Bathroom

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Last week, I stripped off a decade-old botanical and bird wallpaper pattern from my master bathroom, and replaced it with this “Raspberry Bramble,” by Bradbury & Bradbury (, a California-based company that specializes in patterns true to the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts and Victorian periods, along with some Mid-Century Modern and other designs.

This B&B wallpaper was a little tricky to work with. For starters, it has to be hand-trimmed (see photo) to remove the selvedge edge. My go-to pre-mixed adhesive is not a good choice for this material, so I chose a potato-starch paste available from Bradbury, that comes powdered and is mixed with water on-site.

This particular pattern has a lot of ink (smells like moth balls!) on the surface, and, when paste is applied to the back, the backing absorbs paste and swells at a different rate than the inked surface, resulting in wrinkles and bubbles and twists, plus the curled edges you see in the photo, which can prevent the seams from lying down properly. The moisture differential can cause the paper to continue to swell on the wall, causing wired (overlapped or puckered) seams.

I’ve hung a good amount of Bradbury & Bradbury papers, but had never encountered the degree of bubbling and curling as with this paper.

The solution to all this is to mist or damp-sponge the surface of the paper, which puts moisture on the front, and allows the front and back (wet by the paste) to absorb moisture more evenly. Then the paper is folded loosely (booked), and also rolled up like a newspaper. This helps push the curled edges back down. Then the strip of wallpaper is placed in a plastic trash bag to sit for 10-15 minutes, much longer than the booking time for most papers.

All of this took more time, but it resulted in smooth paper with flat seams.

My plan for this room is to achieve a 1700’s French chateau look, so I am also darkening and stenciling my vanity, which has a new “Noche” travertine countertop, will be hanging some frilly antique wall clocks, period artwork, a beautiful chandelier, and adding other features.

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4 Responses to “New Wallpaper in the Wallpaper Lady’s Bathroom”

  1. James Brewer Says:

    I’ve been enjoying your blog. I discovered it researching how to paper the frieze of my last project having to use a clay based paste which is applied to the wall. Bradbury&Bradbury changing over the the “new and improved” water based archival inks had me “sweating blood” when I put up the last frieze project. I don’t think I’ll ever put myself through that ordeal again.
    Last fall I hung Raspberry Bramble below a chair rail and had the same problems you encountered. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I’ve worked with papering on and off for 30+ years now. Working with the Bradbury stuff is not fun like in the past…
    Keep up the good work…

    • thewallpaperlady Says:

      Hi James.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      The Raspberry Bramble is busy enough that you really couldn’t see the wrinkles. Still, I hated having them in my home. 🙂 Interestingly, all those wrinkles disappeared once the paper was good and dry.
      I hate clay based paste. Slimy, gooey, smelly, stains the woodwork and stains the paper, and it’s hard to wash off anything it touches.
      Still, since it is a low-moisture paste, it has its place. It’s just that that place is not in anything I am working on. 🙂
      I do find it interesting that B&B recommends both clay and their EcoFix, which is a powdered paste mixed with water. Clay is low-moisture, and EcoFix is pretty high moisture. Seems juxtaposed to recommend both.
      I’d love to see a photo of your latest project.

      • James Brewer Says:

        Here are links to pictures of the latest project. I’ve been working on this house of mine for nearly 20 years now… this was the last major work to be done. I stripped all the woodwork as there was such a paint buildup it was just chipping off like crazy. This was not finish grade pine, but it looks OK.
        I work solo so hanging that frieze was mind numbing. Along one wall it would have been so far off I had to make a slice and put in a tiny angle so it would join in the corner right. Unless you know where to look you can’t tell. In the room opposite this wall I had to do the same with the Adelphia Freize. Where I finished up I was off by about 1/8 of an inch. I was able to play around and cover it up along with the 1/2 boat which drove me crazy! Was able to mix up some paints to match the colors and paint the paper edges so is is really hard to tell where it was fudged up….
        Here is a before shot how the room looked in 1996 when I bought this house:

        As it looks today:

        Troublesome corner:

        You never say never… I’m looking at inexpensive wallpaper for the kitchen re-do. I love the Bradbuy retro kitchen stuff, but again it is that water based ink, clay paste paper. Not very practical for my kitchen….

        Keep up the good work… Jamie

      • thewallpaperlady Says:

        that bedroom looks fantastic. You know, we are always our toughest critics, and, really, no one else is going to see the tiny things we sweat over. But the rooms look better for the extra effort we put in. Thanks for the pics.

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