Posts Tagged ‘adhesives’

Authentic 1920’s Wallpaper!

November 26, 2021

Across the street from where I was working today (in the Houston Heights), this 1925 home was being renovated. I walked myself over to drop off a business card.

I gasped when I saw some vintage wallpaper in a trash pile on the soon-to-be living room floor. I love these old papers, and have a growing collection.

The guys working inside were friendly, and were happy to let me take some scraps. This chunk is from the original kitchen (which, after the home is expanded, will become the living room). It’s probably the most cheerful and animated pattern in my collection.

Back in those days, a loosely-woven fabric (often mistakenly referred to as cheesecloth or muslin) was tacked to the ship-lap walls, and the wallpaper was pasted and hung on top of that. The seams were overlapped.

The ink colors hold up amazingly well over the years. But that cloth backing, and the wallpaper itself, don’t fare as well.

This kitchen wallpaper easily separated from the cloth backing, and the old paper was delicate and brittle. Even with attentive handling, my piece split in two just walking a few yards to my van.

I got it home in one piece (well, really in two pieces). I hope to find a was to affix this to a secure backing, so it can be preserved.

I’m afraid that it won’t hold up to the moisture and stress of pasting, even using with old-fashioned wheat paste. And that spray adhesives might not hold, or may stain the old paper fibers.

I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, I feel very lucky to have this!

Dog Tear Repair

February 5, 2020


Textured wallcoverings are tempting to dogs and cats, and this couple’s King Charles spaniel puppy had some fun with a couple of areas of their kitchen wallpaper. It is an embossed vinyl on a paper backing, made to mimic a woven grasscloth.

An applique a half inch higher than the tear, and the full width of the wall, was the least noticeable way to repair this. The thickness of the material made it more difficult to disguise the patch, but the finished job looked very good.

The third photo shows “border paste” – also called vinyl over vinyl (VOV) – which was called for in this instance. Vinyl wallcovering is somewhat slick, and most adhesives won’t stick to it. So you need this special formula.

In addition, because the patch was exhibiting curl at the top and side edges, and because I wanted something with quick tack, I used clear caulk (not pictured) along all the edges. This sets up quickly, and holds very tightly, even on glossy surfaces.

“Etched Arcadia” Mural in a Powder Room

July 22, 2016

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This young family lives near Rice University (Houston), on South Boulevard, a street revered for its huge Live Oak trees that meet and canopy over the street. The homeowner wanted her traditional style home to carry on the look of this historic neighborhood. She had a vision of bringing the beloved trees into her home, while maintaining the old-world feel.

She could not have found a better choice than this mural. It combines the feel of aged trees with the look of centuries-old etchings. Because it’s a mural, the pattern plays out as one large picture, with no repeating elements.

I have done murals like this on single walls, but this is the first time I’ve put one on all four walls of a room. I have to say, the homeowner had a great eye, and the finished room is stunning.

The first photo shows how many murals come; in panels. This one was packaged as one large bolt, and I had to cut the 8 panels apart, then lay them out and line them up to be sure the pattern matched and that the sequence was correct.

The mural was 9′ high by 12′ wide (pretty standard dimensions), and the room was wider than 12′, so two murals were needed. Originally, I thought that the right side of one mural would match up with the left side of the other mural, so that the two murals could be joined seamlessly – but that was not the case.

In addition, the homeowner favored the trees more than the sky, so, since the walls were 7 1/2′ high, I opted to move the pattern up, to cut off more sky but reveal more trees. A vanity that rose 32″ off the floor further complicated the pattern placement.

Without going into mathematical or geometrical details, I spent a lot – a LOT – of time plotting the room’s layout, so that we would see more trees and less sky, and to avoid a mis-matched seam where the two murals met, and to disguise the one mis-matched corner that could not be avoided.

The pattern was forgiving, the paper was lovely to work with, and the finished room looks fantastic. This was one of my favorite projects this year.

In addition, the homeowner didn’t like the A/C vent and the exhaust fan leaving big white blobs in the middle of the wall. So I covered these with scraps of wallpaper, too. This is more tricky than it sounds, because wallpaper doesn’t like to stick to plastic or metal (too slick), and especially not metal with air blowing past it, possibly carrying along condensation / humidity. So special adhesives are called for, and you have to have a back-up plan, in case the paper detaches over time.

Also, because murals don’t have repeating pattern motifs, there were no scraps of paper that I could use to cover these objects with a matching pattern. So I found scraps that had reasonably similar designs.

In the end, I could not get the paper to conform to all of the many curves on the exhaust fan cover, so I opted to leave the outer area as-is, and just covered the inner, flat area with paper. This doesn’t totally disguise the white cover, but it sure does minimize it.

This mural is by Sure-Strip, a York brand that I love working with, and is on a thin, non-woven material, which should – “should” – strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.