“Growing” and “Shrinking” Wallpaper Pattern to Fit Bar Shelves

The heights of these shelve cubby holes are different, with two being not-quite 10″ high, one being 14″, and the top one was 12.5″ high. NONE of the shelf patterns in this wallpaper correlated with the height of any shelf; some were taller, some were shorter. That meant that when fitting the motifs into the shelves, if I had hung the paper the way it came off the bolt, most of the bottles and glasses in the design would be cut off at top or bottom.

This was the perfect setting for playing tricks to expand or contract, or to heighten or shorten the pattern, in order to make it fit the shelves width and height. This pattern was super amenable to this tactic, for many reasons:

` The material would adhere to itself, making overlaps possible.

~ The material was thick and the pattern busy, lessening the chance of overlaps / ridges showing.

~ The whole scene is on the back of a poorly-lit bar, so it’s not like people are going to be peering in to look for miniscule glitches.

~ And which the shelves will be stuffed full of glasses and bottles, so no one is going to be scrutinizing the background.

~ The horizontal and vertical strips of “wood” in the shelf design lend themselves perfectly to creating new shelf heights and widths.

~ The pattern can easily be tweaked, and resulting pattern mis-matches won’t be noticeable.

I used the deconstructing and then reconstructing methods, to “grow” or “shrink” the pattern as suited each particular circumstance. Appliqués, came in handy to provide logical outlining.

In the fourth photo, you see a gap on the left that needs to be filled. The section of wallpaper I wanted to use for this area was too wide for the space. So, I used my scissors and straightedge to slice the design vertically so that sections of the pattern could be eliminated. When I put this section of wallpaper back on the wall, I overlapped some seams in order to make the width of the section narrower. By careful plotting and trimming, you can’t detect that any of the pattern is missing.

Likewise, I used scrap paper to cut both horizontal and vertical “boards.” These were placed either horizontally at the top or bottom of the shelves. Or, vertically along the left or right side.

Question? Why, oh WHY do they make these two elements 1/8″ different in width from each other?! It made trimming these “shelf edges” more time-consuming and, yes, irritating!

Sixth photo – you see how moving these bottles closer to each other disrupts the pattern match. But this is not such a big deal, because I carefully plotted the widths of important elements, and how much would be overlapped and lost due to this process. Then I was able to plot where my slices and overlaps would take place, in order to preserve as much of the bottles and glasses as possible.

Additional strips of horizontal or vertical “shelf edges” were and then appliquéd where appropriate.

The second-to-last photo shows my plotting and trimming work station. And also the trash pile, and how much extra wallpaper was needed and then discarded, in order to engineer this project. This was taken about three hours into the 10-hour project, so much more accumulated as time went on.

And, to my fellow paperhanger readers … yes, this piecing could have been done using double cuts and splicing. But that would have been extremely difficult inside these tight shelf cubby holes, and also very time-consuming. Overlapping / appliquéing worked best.

The pattern is “Cocktails” by Cole & Son, in their Fornasetti line. It is a non-woven material, and can be hung by the paste-the-wall method … but I chose to paste the paper in this instance.

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