Hiding White Seams on Dark Wallpaper

January 6, 2021


This “Melville” pattern by Cole & Son is a dark pattern printed on a white backing. The non-woven substrate is thick, and the white paper was likely to show at the seams.

So, before I pasted the back of the paper, I took a piece of chalk pastel (from a craft or art supply store) and ran it along the edges of the paper, working from the back, to avoid getting chalk onto the printed surface. I started with grey, but it wasn’t covering enough. I switched to black and had more pleasing results.

Some areas of the seams showed a bit of a hair’s breadth black line – but that looked better than a white line. From a distance, you couldn’t see nada.

BTW, don’t try this with oil pastels nor with any ink-based products like markers. Oil and ink (among other substances) will bleed through wallpaper and stain the surface.

(Originally written March 2018)

Please be SPECIFIC – Not CRYPTIC

January 5, 2021

Folks, when you contact a wallpaper installer, please be as accurate and concise and honest as possible.

Here is an example of a phone call I got this morning…

Ring Ring!

Me: Hello. The Wallpaper Lady.

Man: Do you hang wallpaper?

Me: Yes, I do.

Man: How far do you go?

Me: Can you be more specific? Where is this project located?

Man: (In very slow, heavily accented foreign accent) #re@p0r!.

Me: (Trying to discern if he said “Seabrook” (close to me in Houston) or “Freeport” (65 miles south of Houston via highway under massive construction), or “LaPorte” (close to Seabrook) Please tell me what you want to have wallpapered.

Man: Vell, it’s a unique situation.

Me: (Growing frustrated) Can you please describe your project, so I will know how I can help you?

Man: It’s on the water.

Me: What does that mean??!! Is it a vacation home? A boat? An oil rig ?

Man: It’s a yacht docked in Freeport.

Me: (Thinking to self: Oh! Finally I get what he wants!!)

Folks, all this jimmying back and forth, dancing around the specs, misunderstanding, questioning, and frustration could have been easily eliminated, and the fellow could have gotten his answer quickly, if he had simply phrased his question clearly and concisely: “Would you be interested in hanging wallpaper in a yacht docked in Freeport?”

Two Different Numbers, Two Different Colorways

January 4, 2021


This homeowner bought her wallpaper before I came out to measure.  Like many, she bought too little.  I told her to order another double roll bolt, and to be sure it was from the same run, so it would be the same exact color as the paper she already had.

When the paper came in, she checked the run numbers, and they were all the same. Too bad she didn’t also check the pattern numbers.  That one last digit on the end makes the difference between the blue background and the orange background.

Since I couldn’t use the bolt with the orange background, we didn’t have that extra double material that I wanted.  I did a lot of math and plotting and figuring how to get an extra strip out the bolts, and to still have enough for the fur downs and under the vanity.

In the end, I got ‘er done.  Do a Search on the words “koi pond” to see pics.

(This post was originally written in January 2018.)

Somebody Broke Into the Wallpaper Lady Mobile!

January 3, 2021

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I had finished my Sunday afternoon of visiting clients and came out of the grocery store to find the back of my van a disheveled mess. I went to open the side doors and found that someone had “popped the locks” on the side doors and the front passenger door. First photo – note that there is no silver key lock mechanism inside the door lock hole.

I have a large van with a long wheelbase and a poor turn radius, plus I need room to open the side doors, so I like to find spots away from other cars that I can pull straight through. So some #&*Q$*^@#$%’s pulled alongside in their own big view-obscuring van, jammed a screwdriver into my locks, and helped themselves.

What did they take? These obviously were painter or other workmen type jerks, targeting work trucks (saw the Wallpaper Lady signs on my van) because they stole boxes of joint compound, paint brushes, paint rollers, my 15 year old filthy Shop Vac, my laser level, a powerful floor fan, and even half empty cans of wallpaper primer. I mean, what are they going to do with wallpaper primer?! They’re probably the kind of “workmen” who pour it into a paint can and tell the homeowner, “This is top of the line quality paint.”

I am very lucky that my ladder and my toolbox were not in the van, because I had been working on a project in my own house.

They also got CD’s (like criminals are going to listen to the 5th Dimension and Enya!), my gym bag (with the only pair of swim goggles that fit me 😦 ), and my garage door opener – along with my insurance card with name and address.

So I made a mad dash to get home and unplug the opener before they could get to my house and try to get in.

Replacing the stolen equipment, garage door opener, and fixing the broken locks and having these new “hockey puck” very secure honker locks installed took two full days, and cost nearly $1,600, not counting time off work and lost income.

Makes me so mad!

Not just taking things that belong to someone else – but stealing someone’s livelihood.

(This happened in summer 2016.)

Hand Trimming off the Selvedge Edge of Wallpaper

January 2, 2021


Some wallpapers, particularly the higher-end brands, come with an unprinted selvedge edge, much like fabric. This needs to be trimmed off so the pattern will match when the wallpaper strips are butted together on the wall.

Here you see how I am using my 6′ straightedge and a sharp new razor blade to remove this selvedge.

Easy to Install, Easy to Remove Wallpapers

December 31, 2020

Digital ImageDigital ImageHate the idea of removing old wallpaper? Well, many, many other people do, too. Manufacturers have responded by developing “non-woven” backings.

The best way I can describe these is to compare them to those white Vitek envelopes – you know, the ones you can’t tear? Some of these substrates are pretty thick, which I don’t care for much because they’re hard to manipulate in to tight corners or cut around intricate moldings, plus the seams tend to show. Some are very thin, though, like this brand.

The main attraction of these non-woven materials is that they won’t tear, and when it’s time to redecorate, each strip will (supposedly) pull off the wall easily in one piece.

They also don’t expand when wet with paste, nor shrink, so there are certain advantages during installation.

This manufacturer has gone a step further by making the wallpaper pre-pasted, which is a little easier for the DIY homeowner to hang.

Do NOT confuse these with the trendy but highly disappointing “peel & stick” so-called “removeable” papers.  More on that on my page to the right.

“Scalloped” Wallpaper in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, January 2019

December 30, 2020


The January 2019 issue of Better Homes & Gardens has a feature on “scallops” in design.

Here you see wallpaper (Burke Decor), bedding, and pillows with the perky and popular motif.

Years Old Bathroom Revisited – Still Perfect

December 29, 2020

I hung this paper about five years ago in a guest bathroom in a home in the Southside Place / West U neighborhood of Houston.

Even though the room is used for showering, the paper is still tight to the wall and in perfect condition.

I think it’s darned cute – but the homeowner has grown tired of it and wants an update. That is the box of new wallpaper sitting on the counter.

Priano Powder Room Revisited

December 28, 2020

“Priano” by Serena & Lily is one of my favorite patterns, and one of my favorite brands.

I hung this a few years ago in a very small under-the-stairs powder room in Montrose (Houston). I was back this week to do another room, so took the opportunity to snap a few shots of the finished room.

I like the way the light fixture mirrors the curved “weeping” lines of the foliage in the wallpaper pattern.

Fudging To Get The Height Right

December 27, 2020

Because of various reasons too complicated to get into here, in order to keep the pattern matched in the corner to the right (not shown), the wallpaper strips moving to the left torqued off-plumb. And thus the pattern started tracking upward at the ceiling line, which meant that the navy blue flower I positioned just under the crown molding started moving upward and was getting cut off at its top by the molding.

I needed to pull the pattern down. I took advantage of the short space over this doorway to make adjustments. I cut the strip in two vertically, trimming along motifs in the design.

Then I pulled the section on the left down to where the flower hit the crown molding just where I wanted it to. By pulling this strip a little to the right to where it overlapped the previous strip just a bit, I was able to cover any gaps caused by the trimming.

I used my laser level on the left edge to ensure the strip was plumb. This would keep the pattern straight along the crown molding as I continued to hang strips moving to the left and around the room.

Because this is up so high over the door, and because I trimmed along the design motifs, no one will notice the slight ridge caused by the overlap, nor any small mis-match in the pattern.