Posts Tagged ‘butt the seams’

Clouds on Blue Sky in a Baby’s Nursery – Accent Wall

February 24, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Here is my second accent wall in a to-be-born baby’s nursery in two days. (And I have a third one later this week!) This wallpaper is by Spoonflower. I generally like working with their product, but it does take a bit of a learning curve.

For one thing, you have to be careful how you order the paper. Usually, “six rolls” will come packaged in three double roll bolts of paper. But here the Spoonflower company has packaged each roll separately. This means there is a lot more waste, as I can often get three strips out of a double roll, but can only get one strip out of a single roll, with about five feet left over that is too short to use anywhere.

Also, this is a pre-pasted paper, and it’s very thin. So activating the paste will cause the paper to become very wet, resulting in the blotchiness you see here. Don’t worry – once it dries, it will look fine.

The paper is also designed to be overlapped at the seams, instead of butted, which is the typical way of joining strips of wallpaper. In fact, if you butt the seams on this brand of paper, it will dry and shrink just a little, revealing a hair’s breadth of wall in between the two strips. So you overlap the seams. But that mean you have a visible and tangible thickness the entire length of every seam. On a busy pattern, this is not all that noticeable (Do a Search on my blog for “Sherlock Holmes Wallpaper.”) But on this very plain sky pattern, the overlapped ridge will be somewhat noticeable, especially when the sun is shining through the windows at certain times of the day. Still, once you get the crib in place and hang a few things on the wall, the seams will fade to the background.

Another thing about this particular job, the walls were not plumb, and the crown molding was way off from level, going uphill as you moved from left to right. If I had hung the paper true-to-plumb and matched the strips as they were designed to be matched, we would have had the crown molding moving away from the clouds diagonally, looking pretty bad. The wallpaper engineer designed the paper so one half of a cloud on the right side of a strip would be overlapped by the other half of the cloud on the left side of the next strip. If I had done this, the clouds would have been marching downhill, because the walls and ceiling were not plumb or level.

To avoid having to match the clouds at the seams of every strip, I hand-trimmed the clouds on one edge to be only 1/4 of a cloud, to allow for the overlap the manufacturer wants. On the opposite edge, I trimmed off of one cloud completely. This gave me an edge with no motif that had to be matched to the other strip. I took this “free-form” edge and overlapped it over the edge with the 1/4 cloud, covering it up completely and not lining it up with the 1/4 cloud, but instead raising the clouds at the top of the wall to the same height as those on the previous strip. This way, all the clouds appeared to be at the top of the wall, instead of sloping diagonally away from the un-level crown molding. The fact that the clouds on the new strip were a little higher than the clouds on the previous strip was not very noticeable, and it looked much better to have the clouds at the top of the wall all uniformly positioned.

The clouds lined up perfectly with the starting point, the wall on the left. But by the time I got to the wall on the right, the ending point, because the walls were not plumb, the clouds were going crooked, and were wider at the bottom of the wall than at the top. This was very noticeable. To minimize that, I cut some partial clouds that were the same width as the clouds at the bottom of the wall out of scrap wallpaper, and pasted them over the too-narrow clouds at the upper portions of the wall. This way, the eye saw uniform widths of clouds from the top to the bottom of the wall. And the eye didn’t see that the spacing between the appliqued clouds and the rest of the pattern was a little less than it should have been.

Sometimes, it’s all about fooling the eye.

I know that my explanation is difficult to follow, and probably doesn’t make sense to anyone other than a fellow paperhanger. But suffice it to say that these little tricks helped mightily to make the overall look uniform and pleasing.

This cute pattern was hung in a nursery in a home in Bellaire (Houston).

Vintage Wallpaper for My Own Home

April 2, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageDigital ImageI just picked this up from the Post Office today.  This is the real deal, actual paper from the 1940’s.  This is from Hannah’s Treasures, an on-line site that sells vintage papers, from the ’20’s through the not-so-vintage-in-my-eyes ’80’s.

This is going on one wall in my entry.  I have a “new” circa 1930’s/40’s curio cabinet that will go in front of it, and that will hold a collection of 1930’s/40’s panther statuary and mantle clocks.

Need I say, in another life, I think I lived in the 1930’s & ’40’s.

When we had our wallpaper & paint store in St. Louis (now decades gone), the basement was full of rolls and rolls of paper like this.  And my father and uncles would rewallpaper my grandmother’s apartment above the store again and again, with gorgeous patterns and rich colors like this.

The paper is somewhat brittle from age.  I have previously used a wheat paste, which is pretty much what was available back when these papers were made, but friends in the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP) have hung similar papers using modern pre-mixed clear vinyl paste.  I’ve not decided yet what I will use.

The selvedge edge is still intact, meaning that the paper has to be hand trimmed before hanging.  You can see the unprinted selvedge in the photos.   Again, in the past, I have trimmed only one edge of the paper, and overlapped the other.  This eliminates the chance of gapping if the paper shrinks, but it leaves a raised area along the length of every seam.  But that’s how it was done “back in the day,” and back then they were often hanging on a sort of cheescloth tacked over ship lapped wooden walls – which is not the case in my house!

I will probably hand-trim both edges and butt the seams instead, which is how modern papers are hung, and which will eliminate the ridge along the seam.  I don’t expect shrinking with this paper, and see no reason why butted seams would not work.

Along the selvedge is printed, “Water Fast.  Union Made.”  The paper is from Hannah’s Treasures, which is definitely worth a look, if you like vintage.