Posts Tagged ‘double cutting’

Keep Paste Off Adjoining Wall

January 31, 2023
Here I’m moving right to left, fixin’ to have my last strip of wallpaper meet up with the first strip I hung (which you see on the left). Because the corners are never perfectly straight, and because wallpaper can stretch when it gets wet with paste , and for other reasons, it’s not possible to pre-trim the width of this last strip, because it won’t be the exact perfect width.
So you cut this strip 1/2″-1″ wider than the gap. That means that it’s going to wrap 1/2″ or so around that corner. So you’ll have to trim off the excess. In this way, you’ll be able to get a custom fit into that corner.
But, you’ll also get paste slopped onto that strip on the left. Some papers you can wipe the paste off easily. But others are more delicate and can be damaged or stained . Why take a chance?
Here is the strip that’s going to fill that gap. I’ve paste it . Next I’ve run a strip of thin blue plastic tape along the edge that will be overlapped onto the existing wallpaper in the corner. This will keep paste from coming in contact with the wall on the left. I also like to place this tape on the top of the strip, to protect the ceiling. Especially important when there is not crown molding and the paste will be bopping into the flat paint on the ceiling (difficult to wipe off).
You can do a Search here to see other posts where I have photos of the trimming taking place, and then removing the excess paper and the blue tape. Here you see the finished corner .
This blue tape is pretty useful. It’s also helpful when double-cutting ( splicing ). Another great feature of this blue tape is that it snaps apart quite easily, so you don’t need a scissors or blade to cut your pieces. It’s imported from Japan. (Those guys have a lot of cool wallpaper tools.)
It can be purchased here https://www.wallpapertoolstore.com/product/blue-cut-tape/
Some people use waxed paper cut into strips, or yellow caution tape, or painter’s plastic cut into strips. But nothing parallels the usefulness and quality of this blue cut tape .

Grasscloth Engineering and Logistics – Technical Details Post

August 21, 2022
Grasscloth is a natural material that cannot be matched from strip to strip, so all the seams will be visible . In addition, there is usually a slight but noticeable color difference between strips / panels (called shading or paneling ) . So it’s important to plot the layout of the strips to give the most visually pleasing overall look. Usually this means balancing the width of strips so they are all equal , at least on the same wall . We call this engineering .
This wall presented particular challenges , due to the widths of the elements. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide . You can use your straightedge and a sharp razor blade and trim it down to any width you want.
The width of both the large wall spaces to the right and left of the bank of windows was 34.” The width of each window was about 35.” The width of the two spaces in between the windows was 7.”
So you’d think I could trim my panels on either side of the windows, and then over the windows, to about 34″-36″ – give or take a few inches (or fractions thereof).
But that would leave me with two 7″ wide strips between these 35″ panels. Although the look would be uniform and mirror-image from the center outward, moving from right to left you’d have: 35,” 35″, 7,” 35,” 7,” 35,” 35,” … those 7″ breaks were just not going to look right.
One option was to determine the width of the wall (189″) and make each strip an equal width. This worked out to six strips, each at 31.5″ Not good, because this would mean a seam down either far side. And since those sides were 34″ wide, that would mean a 31.5″ wide strip and a strip 2.5″ wide. Not attractive at all, and it would use up an extra strip of wallpaper.
This six strips @ 31.5″ wide scenario might also land with a seam smack in the middle of those 7″ wide interludes in between the windows. Not attractive at all.
So I decided to make the two outer strips 35″ wide. That left 119″ of wall space above the windows to be covered with wallpaper. Do some math and you get four panels of 29.75″ wide. This gave a balanced and uniform look to the area over the windows, and also prevented seams from landing between the windows.
Moving right to left, I cut and hung the full length outer strip first. Then I cut and hung the strip over the window on the right. Then I measured to find the centerpoint of the window in the middle. Turns out it was a bit less than 29.75″ away. So I trimmed that next over-window strip accordingly.
Once that was in place, I measured from that center point above the middle window out to where my left full-height panel would fall, 35″ out from the wall. Took the resulting measurement and divided by 2. Lo and behold, each of the next two panels over the window was going to be a bit wider than 30.” No problem. No one (but a paperhanger or maybe an engineer) is going to notice a 1/4″ or even a full 1″ difference in widths between this strips over the windows.
Another thing to point out … it’s important that I took measurements before cutting these strips for this second left-hand section. Because, since grasscloth comes at 36″ (and walls can be wonky), if my strips had been narrower (say, 28″), that last full-height panel on the left might have ended up needing to be 37″ wide – and that wouldn’t work because it only comes 36″ wide – plus you need at least 1/8″ to wrap around the corner.
Luckily I had the flexibility to be able to trim the panels over the windows to any width needed, to accommodate all this.
If you’ve followed all this so far, let me also toss in that we also need to figure how to get paper in between those windows. More on that below.
In this scenario, I’m moving from right to left.
Area beneath the windows needs to be treated in the same way, and preferably with widths that match what’s going on above the windows. In addition, it’s tricky because after you move across 12′ of wall space, the strips above and below the windows are going to twist and torque out of shape, so that last full-length panel on the far left might not butt up perfectly with the last strip under the windows.
The grasscloth is black , and my wallpaper primer is white . It’s common for teeny gaps to appear at the seams . In this case, it’s likely that white wall would peek out from those gaps. So I like to stripe under where the seams will fall with dark (diluted) paint . This takes measuring , plotting , and also a heat gun to get the paint to dry before the wallpaper hits it, to avoid staining. You can do a Search here to read more about this technique .
Now let’s talk about getting wallpaper in between those windows.
As you can see in the photo, if I hang a 30″ wide strip, a whole lot of paper is going to be cut off and thrown away. Also, a whole lot of sticky, pasted paper is going to bump against that window molding and maybe even the window glass. A lot to clean up! And unwieldy, to boot.
My solution was to stop the wallpaper just a little below the tops of the windows. Then I would patch in a 7″ wide strip in between the windows. This is trickier than it sounds, because, if it were a paper wallpaper, I could simply cut along a design motif and overlay the 7″ wide piece. But grasscloth is thick and overlaps don’t look good. Also grass has no design elements , and the reeds of grass don’t necessarily fall perfectly horizontal , and even if you cut everything perfectly true to square , if the window molding is a teeny bit off-plumb , then your edges won’t butt up perfectly.
So that’s a good reason for striping the black paint under where the butt join will occur.
Same thing for the sections under the windows. I measured and positioned the strips so that the top edge (which I had trimmed to be perfectly horizontal) fell between the narrowest part of the windowsill molding, for less visibility.
I admit, instead of butting the two pieces, here I did overlap the 7″ wide strip about 1/4″ onto the piece under the window, right at that narrow junction. It’s only about 3″ wide, and I figured no one is going to be examining it that closely, anyway. This saved me about a half an hour of measuring, trimming, testing, repeat, repeat.
This is my second window interlude, and by this time I had realized that it’s hard to trim stiff grasscloth around intricate moldings precisely . So I used paint to fill in the edges around the window molding, just in case there might be any gaps between the grasscloth and the molding, so you would see black instead of the white molding paint. I did this with a small sponge; if I had used an artist’s brush it would have been a bit neater and tighter to the conforms of the molding. But sometimes you’ve gotta relax and realize that no one’s going to be scrutinizing the insides of moldings below shin-level.
Area over windows finished, with drapes back in place.
Turns out this particular grasscloth is so uniform in color (quite unusual, I will add), that you can’t really see the panels , nor their equal widths , anyway. I’m still glad I took the time to do all this math and trimming.
Area below the windows, done. That last seam on the left bears some explanation, too. Moving across the top of the windows, I measured that that last strip – the full-length strip – would need to be exactly 35″ wide. It butted up nicely to the last strip above the windows.
But, due to twisting , shifting , expansion , unlevel and unplumb walls and ceilings , and other factors, there is a really good chance that that last 35″ wide strip would not butt up perfectly with the last 30″ wide strip under the window . So I planned to splice these last two strips together.
Yeah, the drapes are hanging there, I coulda overlapped the two strips about 1/2″ and the drapes would have covered it. With a thin wallpaper, I probably would have done this. But grasscloth is thick, and an overlap would be visible , and also the adhesive / paste can’t be trusted to adhere as well to grass as it would to paper .
So I plotted for a splice. Instead of trimming my last strip under the window to 30″ (read above), I trimmed it to 32″ wide. That way, when I hung the last full-length strip to the left, which was 35″ wide, it overlapped the piece under the window by a few inches. Then I did a double cut and spliced the two pieces. See below for details about that technique.
Grasscloth is 36″ wide, and this wall area is wider than that. So two strips were needed. This means you’re going to have a seam, and since grasscloth seams are always visible, it looks best to plot to have the seam fall down the center. It uses more wallpaper to do this, but it looks much better than having, for example, a 36″ wide strip next to an 8″ wide strip.
As mentioned above, in case you get thin gaps at the seams, a dark stripe of diluted craft paint under where the seam will fall, will prevent white wall from showing through.
Rounded / bull-nosed edges and corners have been popular in new construction for at least 10 years. I wish they’d go away. They’re very difficult to trim around, and hard for the paper to conform to and adhere to.
It’s very hard to trim around that rounded edge, because the paper is hanging over and blocking your view, because grasscloth is thick and stiff and your fingers can’t feel through it, and because the edges aren’t necessarily true and plumb so a laser level or other level won’t help you much.
I use this little gadget as a trim guide. It’s actually a small section of the same corner bead material that drywallers use when they assemble these walls. Cut to about 1″ long and notched in different places where you might trim along the edge of the wall.
It’s intended that you place your trimming knife in one of the notches and slide the gizmo along the edge and make your cut. I find that awkward and also inaccurate. So I prefer to use the notches as a guide and mark where I plan to trim with a pencil. Since this wallpaper is black, I used this marking pencil from my home sewing kit instead. Chalk might work, but I was afraid it might now wipe off completely.
The pink pencil line was barely visible, but it was enough for me to use a scissors to trim along the grasscloth. I like this better than using a razor blade as I can see better, and also less chance of scoring into the primer or wall. Which raises its own set of issues – do a search here to find previous posts.
Inside view of the trim guide.
Finished arch. Note the four panels of equal width above the arch. And two flanking full-height panels also the same widths.
I was lucky that there was no pattern to match, so I was able to butt my two flanking strips right up to the edge of the bull-nosed corner. No trimming needed! Then I measured the remaining width between these two strips (the area over the arch), divided by four, and cut four strips of equal widths.
I hung the two on the left, and then one on the far right. This left one strip still to be positioned to the right of center. So the pieces are going to meet over the arch, rather than the last strip falling in a corner.
Same as the last strip under the window (discussed above), it’s really difficult to get your last piece to fit in here perfectly. I’ve done it, but it takes a lot of measuring, trimming, testing, retrimming, and often starting all over again.
So I did a double-cut / splice.
A double cut involves cutting each strip an inch or so wider than it should be, and overlapping the two. Then you take a straight edge and sharp razor blade and cut through both layers. This handy tool is a wonderful non-slip guide for this process. It was invented by an installer colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) and she has them fabricated in various lengths (along with other cool tools ) and sells them on-line. Contact me if you’re interested.
Anyway, it takes a lot of strength to cut through two layers of grasscloth, so somewhat difficult for lil’ ol’ me.
You also want to be sure to not cut / score into the wall, because the tension of drying wallpaper can tug at the wall and cause it to actually come apart, leaving an open seam that’s difficult to repair.
So you’ve got to put some padding under the wall where the cut will take place. I use special strips of polystyrene (hard but flexible plastic) to pad the wall. Also invented by a colleague in the WIA , who also sells other cool tools and supplies. Contact me if you’re interested.
This black grasscloth was printed on a white substrate. If the seams aren’t absolutely tight, there can be worries about the backing showing through to the front. So sometimes we’ll take a piece of chalk or pastel (never oil pastel or permanent markers because they bleed and stain ) and run it along the edge of the paper – from the back, and taking care to not get chalk on the surface.
I do this frequently with dark papers ( do a search here to see previous posts ) but opted not to do it with this grasscloth. It wasn’t necessary, and might have stained the porous reeds of the grass. It was beneficial, though, to have striped dark paint on the wall under the seams, as mentioned above.
Ugh. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide, and this section of wall is 38″ wide. It’s not visually pleasing, nor is it easy from an installation point of view, to have a 36″ wide strip next to a 2″ wide strip. Or to use scraps and put a 25″ wide strip next to a 13″ wide strip.
So best to plan two strips of equal widths. Two strips, each 19″ wide, with the seam down the middle.
Actually, the strip on the left was 19″ wide, but I trimmed the strip on the right to 21″, because I like the wallpaper to extend 2″ over the top of the door molding. This provides a more stable surface in case of shifting foundation or walls, and less likelihood (knock on wood) of the seam opening up should the house / drywall experience shifting.
Note that design “rules” caution against seams down the middle of spaces. But it would have been more visually distracting (and used up more paper) to have made three strips of each 12.75″ wide. And would have looked even dumber to have used scraps left from other walls and put together two strips of disparate widths.
So the homeowner and I discussed during our initial consultation , and she was happy with the center seam. Once it was all finished, this particular grasscloth was so even in tone that you barely see the seams, anyway. Win-win!
This did use up additional paper, though, as noted in a previous photo above.

Betcha Can’t Find The Kill Point

December 9, 2020

Usually, when hanging wallpaper, you start in a corner, work your way around the room, and end up on the opposite side of that same corner. This virtually always ends up in a pattern mis-match. So we try to place this in an inconspicuous place, such as in a corner behind a door.

But this powder room didn’t have any hidden corners. All four of the corners were very visible to anyone in the room. I didn’t want an 8′ high corner of half-flowers and mis-matched motifs.

So I decided to put this kill point in the least noticeable space – the 1′ area above the door.

As you can see in the top photo, when the last strip of wallpaper came to meet up with the first strip, the pattern wasn’t going to match.

I didn’t want to have flowers cut abruptly in half vertically. So I decided to do some double cutting – a paperhangers’ term for splicing.

By cutting along the flowers in the design, I knew I could prevent an abruptly cut off flower. I padded behind the strips to protect the wall from being scored. Then I overlapped the new strip onto the first strip.

Then I took a sharp new razor blade and used it to cut along the motifs, pressing hard enough to cut through two layers of paper – but not cut into the padding and definintely not into the wall behind it all.

Once the excess paper was removed and the strips smoothed back into place, the seam is flat and smooth, and you could never tell that the designs is a marriage of two sets of motifs.

Shrinking Flowers to Get a Good Kill Point

April 5, 2019


As you hang wallpaper around a room, the pattern in the last corner will end in a mis-match, because the motifs on that last strip won’t match with those on the first strip. So you try to hide that kill point in an inconspicuous place, such as behind a door.

But this large dining room didn’t have any hidden corners. So we were likely to have a 6′ long corner of flowers that didn’t match one another.

But over the entry arch was an area only one foot high. Since this was very short compared to the other full-length walls, and since it was an area that was not going to be viewed much, it was a better place to put this kill point.

So I hung paper on the walls on the left side of the arch, then on the right side, and prepared to have strips meet at the center over the arch. When the strips met there was going to be a flower motif that repeated itself before the normal pattern repeat rhythm. In other words, there were going to be two flowers too close to each other, with one of them being chopped off abruptly at about 1/3.

After pondering different solutions, I figured that if each flower were a bit narrower, that 1/3 bit of excess could be eliminated.

I tested two different methods of “shrinking” the flowers. First, I tried cutting through the flowers vertically, then overlapping a little. This made the flower motifs narrower. See third and fourth photos.

In the second method, I cut around the right outside edge of the flower motifs, and again overlapped. This reduced the spacing between flowers. It did crowd the motifs next to the others a bit more than I liked. And the cut, being made in an unprinted area of the wallpaper, was a bit more noticeable than that made in the printed area in the first option.

I decided on the first option. Cutting through the middle of the flowers resulted in a less visible pattern mis-match, left the spacing between motifs as the artist designed it, and left less of a noticeable ridge at the point of the overlap.

In the second photo, you can barely see that some of the flowers are narrower than others. This looks a whole heck of a lot better than having a flower-and-a-half-flower next to each other over the arch.

Double-cutting (splicing) these areas would have resulted in perfectly flat joins. However, I chose to overlap instead, because this area was up so high and was only about 30″ wide, with no side lighting, that no one is going to notice any ridges from the overlapped areas. More important, I don’t like double-cutting because it almost always scores the wall, and once the paper dries and shrinks and pulls taught, that can lead to the paper pulling the layers of wall apart, leaving gaps that cannot be glued back down. Overlapping won’t allow the wall to delaminate, and it results in a much stronger join.

This pattern is called “Indian Flower,” and is by Jasper Wallcoverings.

Trimming Grasscloth Inside a Curved Arch / Working Clean

December 19, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here is how I trimmed the stiff, rectangular grasscloth to fit the arched top of the bookcase back. You see slits in the excess paper, which we call “relief cuts,” that allow enough ease that the paper can be tucked against the wall, and then trimmed with my razor knife.

The blue stuff is a trick I used to keep paste off the painted areas around the bookcase. This is nice because it saves having to wipe the paste off. It is also important, because with grasscloth, you can’t get any paste or water on the surface of the paper, because it will leave a stain. So even wiping paste off the woodwork with a damp cloth, which is commonly done with most wallpapers, could cause water from the cloth to get onto the grasscloth and stain the natural material.

The blue stuff is a special 2″ wide thin plastic tape, invented and sold by a colleague who is also a member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). The tape has other uses, like to keep paste off the flat paint on ceilings, and when overlapping and splicing (double cutting) strips of wallpaper.

Protecting the Wall While Double Cutting – What Is This Funny Plastic Strip?

January 13, 2015

Digital Image
We call this strip of clear polycarbonate plastic a “Boggess strip,” after the last name of the guy (a member of the Wallcovering Installers Association, as am I ) who invented it. It is flexible and somewhat hard, and we use it to cut on, to protect the surface underneath.

Before I got a basswood board table, which you can directly on, I would put one of these strips on my table to protect it from cuts from the razor blade when hand-trimming wallpaper. But mostly we use the Boggess strips when cutting on the wall (double cutting – a type of splice). When cutting through two layers of paper, it’s tricky to know how much pressure to use, to get through both sheets of paper, but not score the wall. It’s really important to not cut into the wall, because, as wallpaper dries, it shrinks a little, and that shrinkage will put tension on the wall, and that tension can cause the surface of the wall to pull away, causing gaping seams, or even curling edges.

Putting one of the plastic strips underneath the seam before cutting will prevent that.

It’s a bit of a juggling act, all these layers of plastic and paper, and you have to move quickly before one strip or the other starts to dry, and then you’ve got to clean the paste off the plastic strip before you use it again.

It’s an invaluable invention, and I’m glad I have a roll of it in my toolbox.