Archive for February, 2022

Defects in Serena & Lily Feather Wallpaper

February 27, 2022
Disappointed to find lines like this running through several bolts of wallpaper.
I had to discard two full-length strips due to these and other marks.
Here we’ve got smudges on the back side … looks like someone at the factory stepped on the paper.
This is the second time this winter that I’ve had printing defects from this company.

Serena & Lily Feather Visually Enlarges Powder Room

February 26, 2022
This has got to be one of the smallest powder rooms I’ve worked in. Bland and boring, too.
People think that wallpaper will make a room look smaller. But in actuality, it visually pushes the walls away, making the room feel larger. The white paper also bounces light around better than dull painted walls, which brightens the room and makes it feel bigger.
It has a slight raised ink texture.
Feather by Serena & Lily is sure popular, and I’ve hung it many times, mostly in this navy / denim . S&L makes nice wallpaper.
The home is in the Villages area of near-west Houston.

Making a Stripe Look Straight

February 26, 2022
My strip is ending less than 2″ from the door molding on the right. Only problem is, the wallpaper and the door are not perfectly parallel to one another, so you have a wider space at the top and a narrower space at the bottom.
Once that final narrow strip of wallpaper goes in place, the white “boxes” will be wider at the top and skinnier at the bottom, making the wall look crooked.
To fool the eye and make everything look straight, I’ve cut a strip wide enough to cover the space. I’ve trimmed it with my straightedge and made sure all the boxes are the same width. Next I took a scissors and cut along the blue stripe, following the slightly wavy profile.
Here I’m butting the strip into the corner at the right. It’s hanging perfectly parallel to the molding. The navy stripe overlaps the strip on the existing strip. It’s covering up a little more of the white boxes and making them narrower, especially at the bottom of the wall. But this is less noticeable than if I had let the boxes get cut diagonally on the right against the door molding.

See how nice that looks, to have the boxes straight along the woodwork? And you don’t notice that the boxes to the left get consecutively narrower toward the bottom.
Closer up. The camera angle is making the boxes look smaller at the bottom … trust me, they are all the same width. The angles don’t match up absolutely perfectly as you move down the wall, but it’s not anything to catch your eye.
The wavy lines and irregularity of the design make this a good pattern to pull little tricks like this.
The wallpaper pattern is called Feather and is by Serena & Lily , one of my preferred brands.

Kill Point Over Door, Ridge, More

February 25, 2022
After you’ve hung wallpaper on all the walls in a room, the point where your last strip meets up with the first strip is called the kill point . This virtually always ends up in a pattern mis-match. That’s why you engineer to place it in an inconspicuous place, such as behind a door.
This powder room, though, had no hidden corner or handy door. That meant that I would have a pattern mis-match a full 5′ high, to the left of the toilet you see here. I prefer to have the pattern match in a corner like this. As you can see – it does. I will explain how I accomplished that.
I decided to place the kill point over the door. Even though this space is 2′ high and a mis-match might be noticeable, not many people are looking up over the door, so it’s a better choice than in a 5′ or 9′ long corner.
The dark smudges on the wall in the photo are where I’ve spread paint, to prevent white walls from peeking out, should the dark wallpaper shrink as the paste dries.
Here I’ve positioned the strip on the left. This leaves a gap of about 3″. Once I match the new strip up to the piece on the right, its pattern will not match perfectly with the strip on the left.
Now I’ve positioned both strips, and the one on the right is overlapping the one on the left.
Here’s an idea of what the pattern mis-match will look like. To be honest, it’s not all that bad, with this busy pattern and being up over the door. Still, I thought I could make it look better.
I’m going to do a double cut , which is our installers’ fancy term for a splice. I’m going to cut through the two strips, splicing them together, cutting along the vertical foliage elements, to minimize cut-off motifs and to disguise the splice.
When double cutting on the wall, it’s really important that you slice through the two layers of wallpaper only , and not cut into the primer or wall surface beneath. This is because, if the wall surface becomes scored or compromised, when the wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks and pulls taught, it can put tension on the wall surface. If the surface is not intact, it can give way and actually come apart ( delaminate ), resulting in wallpaper that comes away from the wall – and there’s nothing beneath it to paste it back to.
I’ve blogged about this before, so do a Search here to learn more. It’s important!
Anyway, to protect the wall beneath where I will make my splice cut, I’ve placed three layers of scrap wallpaper, to pad the wall. I figure I can cut through the two top layers, but not all five.
Note that three layers of non-woven material have some thickness, and can “throw off” the splice cut and prevent the top two strips from fitting together perfectly. In this case, the paper is flexible enough that I’m not worried about that particular scenario.
The strips are in place, and I’m ready to make my cut. I prefer to use a single-edged razor blade held in my fingers, rather than a blade-holder. What’s most important is that the blade be brand new and spankin’ sharp!
Here I’ve made my cut and am removing excess paper from the right side of the top strip. Look carefully and you can see how my razor blade followed the contours of the vertical foliage design elements.
Here I’ve removed the excess paper from the left edge of the bottom strip. You can see they are poised to fit together nicely.
Before fitting the two strips back together, though, I’m examining the wall surface. Check the photo carefully, and you’ll see that I did, after all, score into the primer. 😦 The surface below is skim-coat that was used to smooth a textured wall – and another potential layer that may come apart when exposed to tension from the drying wallpaper.
Shoulda used a Boggess Strip. https://www.steveboggesspaperhanging.com/lexanpage.htm
One way to prevent the wall from delaminating is to put something over the compromised area, to distribute the tension of the drying paper and take it away from the cut wall. Here I’ve taken a scrap of wallpaper, which is a tough non-woven material, and carefully peeled the printed surface from the white substrate (no pic of that process). Now I have a thin material that I can use to pad the wall.
I’m using the black printed side facing out, in case the spliced strips shrink a little – anything peeping out will be black and not noticeable.
Here is the bit of paper in place, spanning across the cut on the wall.
Now I’ve smoothed the two top strips back into place. Since my double cut followed along the vertical foliage elements as much as possible, and because I cut around the gold flowers to keep them full and round, the pattern looks like it matches up just about perfectly.
But wait! … What’s that lump / ridge under the wallpaper, the full height of the seam? That’s my seam padding! Doesn’t look great.
I’m really surprised at this. The non-woven wallpaper material is thick. But that’s why I pulled the top and bottom layers apart, to make my patch piece thinner. I guess not thin enough. Once dried, this ridge is going to be obvious.
But, to be honest, this is up over a door where no one’s going to be spending much time looking. In addition, once I get my 100 watt light bulb out of there and replace the homeowners’ original, small light fixture, this bump under the wallpaper will be pretty much indiscernable.
Still, that lump was buggin’ me. Another invention from my colleague Steve Bogges to the rescue! Pictured is his seam tape , which was made specifically for this type situation. This is very thin – yet strong – paper tape that is used to bridge cut areas like this, and prevent tension from drying wallpaper from tugging at unstable walls.
The tape has a pre-pasted side (the gloss you see), and feathered edges, to make it less noticeable under wallpaper.
Hard to see, but here I’ve placed the seam tape over the cut wall areas
Now the two top strips have been smoothed back into place. Amazingly, no bump from the seam tape beneath shows. And the pattern mis-match is barely visible, too.
Win-win!
All that’s left to do is to wipe paste off the surface of the wallpaper. This overlapping and splicing does mean that wallpaper paste will get on the surface of the strip underneath. Actually, there is a way to prevent that, and it also involves products from Steve Boggess
But … that’s a blog post for another day …
This pattern is called Peonies and is by Rifle Paper.

Gold on Black Peonies in Bellaire (Houston) Powder Room

February 25, 2022
Originally the walls were a drab sorta-white. The homeowner wanted something bold and fun for this small powder room. Good choice in pattern, scale, and color!
Rifle wallpaper has only been around a couple of years, but it’s gotten really popular. I’ve hung it a number of times already is 2022, mostly in the dark colorways. It’s a nice non-woven material and can be hung using the paste-the-wall method. Although I usually paste the paper, for various reasons.

Dark Flowing Floral Mural on Bellaire Bedroom Accent Wall

February 24, 2022
Headboard wall skim-floated smooth and primed – ready for wallpaper.
Having the foliage hang from the ceiling means you see more of it as the leaves and blossoms fall and fold around the bed. Moody and brooding colors make this perfect for a master bedroom.
It looks like it was painted on canvas or burlap, or possibly like you are looking through a window screen out onto a dark forest.
There are some very expensive versions of ” upside down over-scaled dark floral ” patterns. rebelwalls.com makes it affordable for any budget, and with a DIY friendly, easy-to-install non-woven paste-the-wall material. Murals are custom-sized to your wall(s), which is more tricky than it sounds, so be sure the paperhanger calculates dimensions before you order.
Rebel Walls sells mostly murals, but they also sell traditional rolled goods, too. They can even create custom-made designs.
The home is in the Bellaire area of Houston.

A Few Wallpaper Mural Logistics

February 24, 2022
This company, RebelWalls , provides its custom-sized murals in several strips, all rolled up into one big bolt. Here I have cut them apart and off the bolt and arranged them in the order they will be hung on the wall. Always make sure to check the pattern match and sequence before you start hanging!
The strips are all the same width, about 20 1/4″ wide. Since most walls are not an exact multiple of 20.25″, that last strip will come as a narrower width. In the photo, I am cutting a 3″ wide strip off of the 20.25″ wide stock material.
Here is that narrow space on the wall where I will need to fit in that last 3″ wide piece.

Rebel Walls Gives You Paste

February 24, 2022
I carry 5-gallon buckets of wallpaper paste in my van. But to make it easy for DIY’ers, rebelwalls.com includes a box of paste with every order. This is powdered paste that needs to be mixed with water. This may be lightweight and easy to ship, but I don’t like to use it when hanging a non-woven material like theirs.
Non-wovens are prone to staining and blushing (look like they’re wet but never dry out) . Most often this is caused by the paste – usually a paste that is too “wet” or, in other words, has a high moisture content. Roman 880 is notorious for this, as is Dynomite (now Roman) 234.
But a paste that you make by mixing powder into water seems even more risky for having a high water content, and causing staining. And so is the practice of dampening the back of the paper with a damp sponge, or a spritz of water from a squirt bottle. In my mind, too much water / moisture = risk of staining or blushing.
I say, skip the anxiety and use a low-moisture pre-mixed vinyl adhesive such as Roman 838 or Dynomite 780 (also now made by Roman). Clay pastes are also known for low water content – but I definitely do not recommend on a non-woven material, as I’ve seen the red clay bleed through far too many wallpaper surfaces.

Dark Wallpaper – Preventing White Gaps Showing at Seams

February 24, 2022
Dark papers are popular right now. But since wallpaper shrinks a tad when it dries, and since it’s usually printed on a white substrate, it’s possible that hairs’-breadth gaps of white wall may show at the seams. One way to prevent that is to stripe the wall under where the seams will fall with a color similar to the background of the wallpaper. Be careful to not get it too dark, as too much pigment may interfere with the wallpaper primer’s ability to perform optimally.
I measured the width of the strips, and then used a laser level to guide my stripes.
I use craft paint from the hobby store, and daub it on with a scrap of sponge (right) and dip into a bit of water, which I keep in a Gatorade bottlecap (left).
To get rid of the white edges of the substrate, I use a bit of chalk (some folks use paint – but make sure it’s water-based …. NEVER use oil-based paint, markers, or chalks, as they will bleed onto the surface of the wallpaper). I run the chalk along the edge of the wallpaper strip, making sure to work from the back side, to prevent the chalk from working its way onto the surface of the wallpaper. Use a light touch, but cover all of the white edge.
Finished wall. Don’t see no stinkin’ white gaps! 🙂
The mural pictured is by RebelWalls.com

Another of These Tiny Spiders

February 23, 2022

That’s my finger at the bottom, so you can see how diminutive the spider is. This is the first time I’ve seen one of these guys in a home in Bellaire.

Do a Search here to learn more of my on-going saga re these bitty red spiders.