Posts Tagged ‘dye’

Hanging Wallpaper Strips Sequentially – Stumbling Block

May 6, 2020


You can expect color variations in grasscloth (and other natural material) wallcoverings. These products are made from authentic natural elements, like grass and reeds and hemp and other such materials.

Because each individual blade of grass absorbs dye differently, and because different fields of grass, or even different handfulls grabbed by the worker women, are of differing thicknesses and porosities and thus take the dye differently, there will be differences in the color of these reeds as they are sewn onto their paper backing.

So, you often (usually) end up with an effect we call “paneling” or “shading,” which are differences in color between strips of wallpaper (see third photo), or even within the same strip – such as being darker at the top but becoming lighter at a lower point on the wall.

To minimize this, many manufacturers are labeling their material in the sequence that it came out of the factory. The idea is that, if the strips are hung in the order they came off the dye machine, the strips that are the most similar in color will be next to each other on the walls.

The problem with this particular job is – the vendor didn’t send bolts that came in any sort of correct sequence at all. See second photo.

Luckily, this room is chopped up enough that I can plot the layout so that on most walls, only strips off the same bolt, or closely within the same sequence, will be touching each other.

Unfortunately, even strips within the same sequence can fall prey to paneling. In the last photo, the narrow strip on the far right is from sequence 14-9. The two strips to the left of it are from bolt 14-10. And the two strips to the left of those (next to the door frame) are from bolt 14-11.

As you can see, 14-9 and 14-10 are very close in color / shade. But there is a big difference between the shades in 14-10 and 14-11.

Note that this is not considered a defect or error. These color variations are considered part of the “inherent beauty of these natural materials.”

Balancing Grasscloth Panels

January 18, 2020


Because grasscloth does not have a pattern that can be matched, the seams are always visible. And, due to the characteristics of natural materials, the strips will have color variations within themselves. This means that you will distinctly see each individual panel on the wall.

Because each panel is noticeable, walls usually look better if each panel is the same width. In other words, on a wall 14′ wide, it looks better to have five strips that are each 33.5″ wide, rather than four strips that are 3′ wide and one that is 2.’

In addition, grasscloth invariably comes with edges that have been abraded during shipping. On top of that, it’s common to have color issues at the edges – either a light band, or a dark band, or irregular bands of shading along the edges.

For that reason, many paperhangers trim the edges off both sides of each strip of grasscloth. This allows the installer to trim the width to fit the wall’s dimensions, it gets rid of most of the damage caused by shipping and handling, and it reduces the shading that the manufacturer’s dye process may have left along the edges.

If you study the photo closely, you will see that all these panels are the same width.

And, while some jagged color variations do appear along some of the edges, it is not pronounced, as the darkest areas have been trimmed off.

There is still a color difference between the three strips on the right and the four strips on the left – but that is just the nature of grasscloth and its manufacturing process

As you can imagine, all this measuring and plotting and trimming takes extra time. If you’re like me and like math and geometry and logistics, hanging grasscloth can be a whole lot of fun!

Grasscloth in Heights Master Bedroom

January 17, 2020


This is the 1st floor master bedroom of a nicely-remodeled-but-still-retains-many-original-details-and-all-its-original-charm 1920 bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The textured walls started out dark green. I skim-floated and sanded them smooth. The new wallpaper is a brown grasscloth with a faint greenish tinge, and it has a nubby texture with a lot of knots (more pics tomorrow!)

The homeowner ordered her paper before I measured the room, and I told her to get two additional double roll bolts. In the 4th photo, I am checking labels to be sure we have all the same run / dye batch; we lucked out and the new bolts were the same run as the original lot.

In the 5th photo, I have cut strips for a wall, and have them lined up and ready to paste and trim. In the background, you can see how I place bolts against each wall, as a way of keeping track of how many strips I need and which bolts I will take them from.

Because there are shading / paneling issues with grasscloth (do a Search here on those terms), it’s important to not mix strips from different bolts. That way, if there are slight color differences between bolts (as there usually are) these differences will be minimized. Still, as you see in the third photo, the three strips on the right came from one bolt, and the strips on the left came from another bolt – and there is a noticeable difference in shade. This is not a defect – it’s simply the nature of grasscloth – a product made from natural materials.

This one long wall used seven strips from three bolts, so a color difference could be expected. On the other, narrower, walls, all the strips came from the same bolt, so the color differences were minimized. When I had to use different bolts on the same wall, I was able to place the “break” over a door or window, with only 1′ of color difference. That’s a lot less noticeable than the 8′ you see on the long wall in the photo.

This wallpaper was bought through Sherwin Williams. There is no brand name on the label.

More photos tomorrow!