Posts Tagged ‘booked’

Anaglypta Textured Wallpaper – Tough Day at Work Today

March 18, 2017

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This homeowner wanted to brighten up a drab bathroom (previous paper was a dark tan, with no pattern). She loves texture, and was thrilled to find this herringbone “man’s suit” pattern by Anaglypta.

This is an embossed paper, and the herringbone pattern is quite deep and tactile.

So all that was quite nice for the homeowner. What was not so nice for me was that the material was positively horrible to work with.

It was so thick and stiff that it was honestly impossible to unroll it, let alone lay it out flat so it could be pasted.

Even gentle handling could cause it to crease. Laying my straight edge against it could cause it to crease.

It was impossible to paste, book, and then table-trim, as one would do with a “normal” wallpaper.

I finally started sponging the back with clean water, which relaxed it enough to open it up, so I could paste it.

Once I got a pasted strip to the wall, it was not easy to press the hard stuff against moldings or ceiling, so it was difficult to get tight cuts in those areas.

Cutting around curved crown molding was a challenge – I couldn’t see around it or feel through it, so it was tedious going.

The seams showed a little, depending on what angle you are looking from, because the puffy texture of the herringbone on one strip didn’t necessarily line up with the puffy texture on the next strip.

The last pic is a shot of just this. The photo doesn’t look all that bad . … It looks worse in real life.

It took me probably twice the originally planned time to hang this bathroom. Let’s just say that I was there ’til way after dark.

The end result, though, is that it looks great. The homeowner loves it, and said that she is “beyond pleased.”

Still, I’d like to point out that there are companies that make textured, embossed, paintable wallpapers that are not such bugger-bears to work with. Most of these other brands are softer and more pliable, and will allow themselves to be worked around turns and moldings and etc. My wallpaper source (below) can help you find one.

I hung this in a guest bathroom in a newish home in Montrose (Houston). The wallpaper is by Anaglypta, a company that dates back to the 1800’s. The paper can be left as-is, or it can be painted.

It was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

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Difficult Grasscloth Install Today

October 23, 2016
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Boy, oh boy, today’s installation was a bear! To begin with, I had a 12′ high accent wall that required using my 8′ ladder, which is unwieldy and can push you away from where you want to work. The wall had a thick texture (typical in new homes in the Houston suburbs – this was near Cypress), that took hours to smooth, dry, sand, and prime.

When it was time to hang the paper, I pasted and booked (folded pasted side to pasted side) and prepared to trim a bit off each edge, which is pretty standard procedure for grass, plus I had planned to trim all the strips to 34.5″, which would make all the strips the same width, which is nice with grass since all the seams are quite visible. I got one seam that looked great. But there was some warping in the material, but I was able to smooth it out.

But when I tried to trim the next strip, the folded edges did not line up, no matter how many times I rebooked it. If the edges don’t line up perfectly, you will not get a straight cut. I dicked around with it for a while, but eventually had to get the strip on the wall, or it would become unusable – and we did not have even one extra strip.

I decided to use the factory edge and leave the strip it’s full width, which was going to screw up my balanced widths of 34.5″. I soon learned that unequal widths of strips was one of the least of my woes that day…

The paper backing had absorbed moisture from the paste, and the whole strip had warped out of shape. No way would the edge butt up perfectly against the previous strip. In the end, I got most of the strip butted and smoothed, but the bottom 1′ or so insisted on overlapping onto the previous strip, so I took a straightedge and very sharp razor blade and cut away the overlap.

This turned out to set the mood for the rest of the job. All the subsequent strips warped significantly, not matter how long or short I booked them. No way would the seams butt up. So I ended up overlapping all the seams and double cutting – the industry term for splicing.

This is not as simple as it sounds, though. For one thing, the newly smoothed wall was soft, and you don’t want to cut into it, or when the paper dries and shrinks a little, the torque it creates can actually pull the wall surface apart, resulting in a curled seam that cannot be pasted back.

So I ran out to my truck and got some special polystyrene strips that are 2″ wide and are placed behind the seam, to protect the wall from the cut. I also grabbed a really nice straightedge that is made just for this purpose, with a handle and a non-slip surface. And some blue plastic tape, because I had to protect the bottom layer of grasscloth from the paste on the strip that was to be overlapped on top of it during the double cut. This is important, because any paste that gets on the surface will stain grasscloth – you have to work absolutely clean.

All three of these special items, by the way, were invented by fellow paperhangers, and fellow members of the Wallpaper Installers Association.

Positioning all these materials took a lot of time. Making the cut itself was intricate, because I could get a good position on it for only a foot or so, then would have to climb down and move the ladder over a little, so I could get right in front of the next couple of feet as I worked my way down the 12′ high strip. Also, two layers of grasscloth are quite thick, and it takes a lot of pressure to do so – while trying not to push myself away from the wall and onto the floor. And you only get one chance to cut, because multiple swipes result in a jagged and ugly seam.

Once the cut was finished, I had to go back and remove the two excess pieces, and the polystyrene strip, and the blue plastic tape, all the while making sure that no paste got onto the surface of the paper. Finally I could take my tool and smooth the two edges together. Double cutting does make a beautiful and perfectly butted seam. But, boy, it sure does take a lot of time, effort, and you need the right equipment.

Including prep and installation, this one accent wall with just six single rolls of grasscloth took me a full 12 hours.

So the seams were nicely butted. But, as you see in the photo, the grasscloth displayed the typical color variations that I find so displeasing. We call it shading and paneling. In the top photo, you can clearly see a difference in color between the two strips, even though they are from the same batch. The second photo shows a little more of this. The third photo is dark, but if you look closely, you can see three strips (two seams), and the slightly darker area along one edge, which is quite noticeable because it butts up against the next strip which is lighter in color.

All reasons why I dislike real grasscloth. The faux products are much more uniform, and seams can be invisible.

In addition, this is a pretty finely textured grass, and on a large, tall wall like this in a large room, I really don’t think the texture shows up very much, unless you are standing right at the wall.

The grasscloth product is by Brewster, and the interior designer on this job is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs.

“Sweating” Wallpaper – ?

October 19, 2016
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See the sheen on that wallpaper? After the paper was pasted and booked (folded for a few minutes with pasted-side-to-pasted-side), it began to feel somewhat clammy on the surface, as if moisture from the paste were seeping through. In some parts of the room, this seemed to leave a residue on the surface of the paper, and it didn’t disappear, even after the paste had dried. You can see this in the second photo. It was more prominent along the seams, and could possibly be exacerbated by pressure from my smoothing tool against the surface of the paper, or by gentle wiping of the seams with a damp cloth. (Somewhat curious, because I mostly “work clean,” meaning, keep paste off the surface, and avoid wiping the wallpaper at all.)

The vertical lines above the left edge of the fireplace did not disappear as the paper dried. These were the only seams that looked like this. (Some other seams exhibited this, but to a much lesser degree.) I was disappointed, because this was a really expensive wallpaper.

I really didn’t like it, and, after checking that we had enough paper, I stripped off the effected strips and rehung with new, making extra sure to not get any paste on the surface, nor to press too hard with any tool. The three new strips looked fresh and clean and wonderful. 🙂

This Is How I Paper A Ceiling

August 16, 2016
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I don’t wallpaper many ceilings, and when I do, I try to stick to small powder rooms and the like. Larger and higher ceilings are much easier when you have scaffolding and / or a helper – and I have neither.

However, I did this ceiling recently, and used this method … Using two ladders facing one another, I can work on a section and then walk across to the next ladder and reach another section of ceiling. When I’ve done all I can reach, I use push pins to hold the folded paper to the ceiling, get down and move the ladders so I can reach the next 6′ or so.

Normally, pasted paper is “booked” in two folds, one being 1/3 the strip of paper and the other being 2/3 of the strip. In the second photo you can see the more numerous and shorter accordion folds that I use when papering a ceiling. This enables me to unbook only as much paper as I can position onto a section of ceiling. Then I get down and move the ladder, and then unbook another short section of paper. This is much easier than trying to wrestle with a 9′ long strip of pasted paper.

Pre Pasted Wallpapers

July 17, 2016
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Many of my paperhanger friends snicker at pre-pasted wallpapers, because they were originally developed to target the DIY crowd. But I love them*, and I’m not ashamed to say it!

They are much faster than papers that have to be pasted by hand, the paste is smooth and thin, and they slide around on the wall, offering optimum positionability. Here is have my water tray and towels laid out on the sidewalk outside a client’s home, and have already wetted my strip. It has been booked and rolled and left to set for a few minutes, to activate the paste and allow for expansion, and for excess water to run off.

I do roll a little extra paste on the wall, especially under the seams and along the ceiling and baseboards, to augment the manufacturer’s paste.

*Pre-pasted paper, that is. Most pre-pasted vinyl is …. crap.

New Wallpaper in the Wallpaper Lady’s Bathroom

May 3, 2016
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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 (http://bradbury.com/), 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.

Hanging a Pre-Pasted Wallpaper

December 15, 2015
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Pre-pasted wallpapers can be vinyl, paper, or non-woven. This particular wallpaper is comprised of a layer of solid vinyl bonded to a yellowy-brown paper backing, and is pre-pasted. This means that a thin layer of dry paste has been embedded onto the back, so all you have to do is dip it in water to activate the paste.

Most of my friends snicker at this method, believing it to be amateur and DIY-ish. I, however, really like most pre-pasted wallpapers, and find them much quicker to hang, and sometimes I can even get away with rolling the paper out on the floor, instead of lugging in my big, loppy pasting table.

In the photo, you see my green trough filled with water, sitting on towels, on top of plastic. A strip of wallpaper has been cut to the appropriate length, rolled up, and has been inserted into the water. As the strip is unrolled, the backing is exposed to the water, activating the paste. Near the bottom of the photo, part of the wet wallpaper has been loosely folded onto itself, pasted-side-to-pasted side. This is called booking. Way to the left of the photo is a strip that has been completely pasted and booked, and is now sitting for a few minutes before being taken to the wall.

This waiting period is an important step, because it allows all the paste to become activated equally, it allows all the paper backing to absorb water and expand to a uniform width, excess water can run off, bubbling on the wall is minimized, it makes the wet, sticky, slippery material much easier to handle, as well as other benefits.

When working with pre-pasted papers, I usually run a little bit of paste around the corners, baseboards, and ceiling line, and roll a very light coat of paste onto the wall, particularly where the seams will hit, to augment the manufacturer’s paste already on the back of the paper.

Once the booked strip has sat for the right length of time, it is taken to the wall, the top portion is unbooked, positioned, smoothed, trimmed, and then ditto with the lower portion.

I find the whole process much faster than when you have to paste each strip on the table, and everything else about the installation (adhesion, workability, slip, expansion/shrinking, strength, etc.) is about the same as with hand-pasted papers.

Murky Green Damask on Display Shelves

November 26, 2015
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The red diamond pattern on the backs of these bookshelves was pretty, but the new owners of the home didn’t love it. There was wallpaper left over from when the adjoining dining room was papered, and so we used those scraps to paper the bookshelves in the living room.

It looked like there was a lot of paper to work with, but when you start talking about a 28.5″ wide bookshelf and 27″ wide wallpaper, syncing the pattern with that in the dining room, centering the pattern, matching the pattern, a 25″ pattern repeat, wrapping the sides, wrapping the top, and when you unroll the left over bolts and find that much of the material is not in one long strip but in multiple shorter strips – it becomes a game of math, logistics, plotting, and engineering.

In the end, though, there was enough to get ‘er done. And, I was able to place the dominant motif vertically down the center of the bookshelves, and balance it equally in either corner, as well as place the same motif at the bottom of the bookshelves as was at the top of the wainscoting in the adjoining dining room, so the two rooms were horizontally correlated, and match the pattern of the two header strips in each of the two shelf alcoves to the pattern on the back of the shelves below them.

Anyone looking at the shelves will no doubt focus on the pretty collectibles displayed within them. But I just thought I would give a little backstory on what went into applying the wallpaper that is the backdrop for those pretty white vessels.

I loved working with this paper. There were no labels or brand information, but it was a pulp paper product, which is often sourced from England. It sits flat and tight to the wall, and seams are nearly invisible. Once booked, there is no stretching or shrinking. It is not sealed, though, so you have to protect it from handling and from splashes, and have to take care to not overwork seams or abrade the material during installation.