Posts Tagged ‘edge’

Outsmarting Bull Nosed / Rounded Edges / Arch

March 25, 2023
Looks nice, huh?
But these rounded edges , especially arches , have been a thorn in the side of wallpaper installer s since they became popular more than 10 years ago. Hanging paper on them and trimming neatly at the right point is difficult. Because the paper is hanging over the edge blocking your view of where you need to trim . A level or laser level don’t always work because the home’s framing isn’t always perfectly plumb . Metal straightedges / trim guides are useful, but can slip and mess up your cut. The arches present their own challenges because a straight edge won’t line up with them .
A colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) invented this gadget , which is a huge help. This is a 1.5″ section cut off from the 10′ length of bull nose corner bead used in the drywall construction of these edges. Then you cut notches in it at the point on the corner where you want to trim your wallpaper .
Some installers place a trimmer blade in the notch and slide the gadget along the edge, trimming as they go. I find that the thing wobbles too much for an accurate trim, plus it’s difficult to hold the blade while you’re sliding the thing down the wall. So I put a pencil point into the notch and draw a line along where I want to trim. Then I can use a straightedge and trimming blade , or a scissors, to cut along the line. Makes a nice, even, straight cut! Note that I like to wrap it about 1/3 of the way around the rounded edge.
OK, so you’ve seen how I trimmed along the edge to the right. Now here’s another trick that I’m going to use on the edge to the left, as seen in the photo. The wallpaper strip is 20.5″ wide. But I trimmed it vertically so that the piece over the arch is 10″ wide. That correlates to the point where I want to trim the strip that will land on the rounded edge going down the wall.
Note that I have not completely trimmed the part under the arch on the left side, because I want to be sure the cut edge lines up with that on the next strip I’m going to hang.
The blue plastic tape is there to keep paste off the wall paint . It will be removed after the piece is trimmed to fit.
Now here I’ve placed the remaining 10.5″ wide left section of the strip of wallpaper. You can see how it’s falling perfectly along the bull-nosed edge – saving me from having to use a blade or straightedge or gadget.
Note that this works only if the edge is perfectly plumb , and that the piece above the arch is also perfectly plumb, and my new strip is hanging perfectly plumb. This paper is a non-woven material, and is somewhat stiff and unbending , so not really amenable to twisting or tweaking into place. Plus, you want to keep that left edge straight, because your next / subsequent strip will need to butt up against it. Trust me, I did a lot of measuring and shooting the laser level before I pasted or hung any paper!
Now that it’s in place, I can go back and trim that remaining bit under the arch, making sure that it meets up in the corner with the edge of this piece .
Here’s another shot of it finished.
Closer up.
This tree branch foliage pattern is called Twining and is by Graham & Brown . I like most everything they make. The non-woven substrate is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece , with no damage to the wall , when it’s time to redecorate .
This home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks / Heights neigborhood of Houston .

Using One Strip to Cover Two Areas Saves Wallpaper

March 23, 2023
This wallpaper is 20″ wide . My next strip to the left needs to be 20″ wide above the window – but only 1.5″ wide down the side of the window. I hate to use a whole 6′ long strip for this area. Because, as you can see, most of the strip will be where the window is, and will be cut off and thrown away.
But here’s a plan. The same thing is happening on the right side of the wall, on the window to the right. About 10″ of the wallpaper has extended over the window, leaving about 10″ of the lower portion to be cut off and thrown into the trash.
NNo! Since I need a 1.5″ width of a right edge to finish my area on the left side of the wall (see previous photo), I can use this discarded lower 10″ of wallpaper to cover that 1.5″ to the left.
Planning ahead and measuring carefully, I removed the lower section of wallpaper that would have been hanging over the window / shutters . I left plenty of overlap to allow for trimming along the top and along side the window molding. Added bonus – because I’m now not wrestling a 20″ wide strip of paper next to this window and shutters, it keeps a lot of paste from slopping onto the window molding and shutters .
zin this photo, you see the 10″ wide strip I’ve removed. And also the 1.5″ wide strip from the left right edge, that will be put against the strip to the left.
Here’s my 1.5″ wide strip.
And here’s where I’m going to put it. Note that I cut a short strip to fit over the window . It’s 20″ wide – the width of the roll of wallpaper . I cut it long enough to come down the side of the window to where there’s a design element – in this case, a horizontal branch – to disguise the juncture of these two pieces of wallpaper .
About to go into place .
Positioned. Note the overlap of the branch, trimmed along the lines of the motif. This makes the overlap way less noticeable than a straight horizontal patch, or even a splice.
Note: I don’t like to splice / double cut in situations like these – cuts into the wall surface below and can cause the paper to come away from the wall. I don’t mind overlaps in these situations. They’re up high where no one can see, and also much stronger and more stable than a butted edge .
Teimming off excess along the window molding / trim .
The tree and leaf pattern is called Twining and is by Graham and Brown . Like most of their materials, it’s a non-woven material and can be installed by pasting the wall – although I usually paste the paper . It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate . The seams are invisible .

What’s A “Fat Cut” ?

January 28, 2023
Here, I’m hanging paper from right to left, and have just come around a corner , which is in the center of the picture. You almost never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner . Corners are never straight , and the paper will buckle in the corner . And the edge will not be straight , nor plumb , and thus the next strip won’t butt up perfectly against it . And it’s also probable that the strip will torque off either up or down, causing your pattern to creep up or down the ceiling and floor lines.
The answer is to stop the strip of wallpaper in the corner , and cut a new piece for the subsequent wall.
But you can’t just trim tightly to the corner. Because most likely there will be gaps (remember I said that corners are never straight?), so some of the wall will show.
So what you do is wrap the paper just a teeny amount around the corner , and then overlap your new piece over that. This does mean that you will lose some of the pattern in that overlap.
I can’t stand that pattern mis-match, so most of the time, the way I do it, I’ll take a fresh strip of wallpaper for the next strip (to be placed on the left in the photo) and trim it so the pattern matches as perfectly as possible. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the fat cut …
In the photo, I’ve cut my strip on the left 1/2″ wider than needed to fit this wall. I don’t want this 1/2″ of wallpaper under my overlapped new strip, because the leaves a visible ridge. But you do want a little underlap, because you need that to prevent a gap from showing in the corner.
So in the photo, I’ve trimmed off most of that 1/2″ and trimmed it down to an unnoticeable 1/8″. How on earth can you get a trim that thin and that consistent?!
I use this handy metal plate with a rolled edge (on the left).
This plate has bends and other edges of other thicknesses , rounded edges , won’t leave marks on wallpaper, so it has many uses.
Here’s a close up of the trim guide edge that allows for that 1/8″ fat cut .
Back side of the plate. (Don’t mind the blue tape – it’s just there temporarily.)
This edge is a little thinner , and would cut too close for use in a corner. But it does have a use if you need a trim in an area where you don’t want the paper trimmed tightly into the edge / corner.
You’re looking at where wallpaper meets crown molding. This join edge has gaps between the molding and the wall in some areas, and other areas have gunk and uneven areas. Trimming with my usual trim guide would cut too close and let some of these icky things show. So here I’ve used the thicker trim guide. As you can see, it allows the wallpaper to wrap ever so teeny much of a bit, so it covers the bad area, but doesn’t creep onto the molding.
Here’s another example, along door molding. At the top, I used my usual thin trim guide (see below). But this allowed a bit of a gap to show, due to decades’ build up of paint , caulk , dirt , etc.
So, midway, I switched to using the steel plate as a trim guide. This made the cut just fat enough that the wallpaper wrapped a hair and covered the icky area.
Here’s my usual trim guide . I’m guessing it’s about 9″-12″ long .
You can see that the edge is very thin . In most cases, this is ideal, because it allows for good, tight trims right smack into corners and edges.
That steel plate shown above was invented by a colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) . They are all the same length, but they come with three different degrees of angles , and can be used for lots of wallpaper installation tasks .
The colleagues has them manufactured and then sells them to us paperhangers . She sells other cool tools , too. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these , or seeing what else she has, go here or here
Her name is Eunice , so we call them EuniTools .

Whimsical Arabian Nights Dance in Powder Room

January 13, 2023
You’ve got to look at this close-up, to notice the antelope and flames / foliage .
You gotta make a decision … The light sconces (they are currently removed, but you can see the electrical boxes where they will be placed) were centered on the vanity top, but the faucet was off-center by about an inch. So I chose to center / balance the pattern on the sconces and countertop. The mirror will be hung between the two light fixtures, so we’ll end up with a pleasing, balanced look. The faucet isn’t exactly in the middle of the design motif, but no biggie – there’s going to be a mirror there, anyway.


Corner going around shower. Note the window looking into the shower.
Although the website specs said this is a pre-trimmed non-woven material , that was incorrect. Turns out it had an unprinted selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand . Here I’m using my straightedge and razor blade to remove this selvedge. This takes precision and a LOT of time .
The manufacturer usually provides trim guides to help you know where to cut. But it’s usually better to trim to the pattern – determine an element in the design motif that will meet up with the corresponding motif on the opposite side of the strip when the strips are hung on the wall, and use that as your guide . Be sure to trim off the trim guide marks, or they will show on the wall.
The pattern is called Arabian Nights and is by Relativity Textiles . I’ve never worked with this brand before. I was not pleased . In addition to the incorrect information about the pre-trimmed paper , the mfgr’s specs said this was printed on a non-woven substrate . It was not. It wasn’t even printed on standard wallpaper stock . Instead, it was a pulp material – This is a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper , and is very brittle and prone to tearing and dragging (your trimming knife or razor blade will get snagged and you’ll end up with a ” chewed ” jagged cut, instead of a crisp cut . It also tears easily. It also has no coating, so it’s not stain-resistant … Not good in a busy household with a 3-year old toddler , or anyone splashing water or soap or air freshener .
It was also difficult to hang . Applying wet paste to the backing causes the substrate to absorb moisture and expand at a different rate from the ink on the surface. So you end up with wrinkles , waffling , and quilting .
Sponging a light bit of water on the front before pasting helps even out the moisture differential and ease installation . I’ve never before encountered a pulp that had this type of ink on the surface. One clue for this bad stuff is when you open the package and it smells like moth balls . Once I figured out how to work with it, , it went OK – although tedious . The seams did look very nice.
BUT … all this effort would have been unnecessary and the finished room would be more durable if the mfgr had printed on a non-woven substrate (as their on-line specs stated) and had used standard inks instead of this weird , smelly , high-end stuff. In fact, the material would have cost the homeowners a whole lot less $ if it had been normal ink on a non-woven backing .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Trimming Bradbury Double Border

December 21, 2022

This wallpaper is about 30″ wide , and the border printed on it is 13.5″ wide. So, the manufacturer has printed two borders side-by-side . Saves paper, saves money .
This brand comes with a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand. Here I am using my scissors to separate the two borders , to get them down to a more manageable width , before trimming off the selvedge .
Using my straightedge and razor blade to trim off the edge. The manufacturer didn’t provide trim guides, so I’m using my eye to cut along the edge of the black line.
The pattern is called Apple Tree Frieze .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury in California .
wallpaper installer houston

Wallpaper Inks Easily Marred

December 21, 2022

The rich colors and clay coating give this wallpaper a truly luscious , velvety look. But they’re also fragile and can be damaged easily . Here you see damage caused at the factory simply by folding back the last 2″ or so of paper, before rolling it up. The company does provide and extra foot or two to accommodate this.
You have to be extremely careful handling this stuff. Even a fingernail or your wallpaper tools can cause scratches or marring . Per the manufacturer’s suggestion, I covered my smoothing brush and plastic smoother with microfiber towels , to minimize chances of scratching the paper .
In fact, the manufacturer suggested that, during installation , that you wipe the entire surface uniformly with a damp microfiber rag , to even out any imperfections that might have resulted .
Now, just between you and me – if you know you have a product that’s likely to end up with blemished areas, why not just switch to a better , tried-and-true ink ? SMH Luckily project this is a border that will be butted up under the ceiling , so no one’s going to zero in on a few shiny areas in the matt ink. But , think of all the homes that will have this same material as a wall paper , that will be viewed close-up .
Not all colorways from Bradbury do this. I’ve hung plenty of it and not had a problem with most. In fact, the “fishnet” area you see at the bottom of this picture is not delicate at all. It’s the very matt finish green and brown colors in the center of the border that are so delicate .
The inks and clay coating the manufacturer uses on this particular colorway are very fragile and mar easily , so I’ve used ankle socks to cover the edges of my straightedge, and also a weight I’m using to prevent the paper from rolling around on my table. And that scissors is just there as demonstration for the photo … you can bet that tool was not touching the surface of the border at any other time.
This material has a selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand , with a straightedge and razor blade . Normally I set my straightedge on top of the wallpaper , because it’s easier to see where I need to make my cut , and also because the weight of the straightedge helps hold the wallpaper down.
But even with cushioning socks on either edge of the 6′ long tool , and with padding on the underside, I was afraid that it might harm the inks .
So I placed it on the outside edge of the wallpaper. This left very little for the tool to grab on to, so I made sure to press it tightly against my work table , so the wallpaper strip wouldn’t slip around while I was trimming .
The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury . They specialize in historic and period-correct patterns from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Picasso Slept Here – Crazy Pattern in a Complicated Powder Room

November 11, 2022
This is a fairly large powder room with a sloped ceiling, as it is situated under the stairs. You can see a bit of the ceiling at the top of the photo. The room also had this odd recessed niche with “columns” on either side, and a door leading to a closet.
In addition, there were tons of the rounded / bull-nosed edges that have been common in new homes in the last 10 years or so. These are tricky to wrap wallpaper around, and equally difficult to trim wallpaper to the edge.
Here is the niche area done, with wallpaper wrapped around the columns, and cut neatly along the horizontal bull nosed edge above the entry.
Wrapping the wallpaper around this edge and onto the ceiling of the niche would have made the area way too busy and claustrophobic. Because these edges are never perfectly straight and level, it’s also quite likely that the wallpaper will go crooked, and you’ll end up with gaps or overlaps at the seams.
A better option is to paint that ceiling area. I suggested the murky green color that’s in the leaves on the wallpaper pattern.
Here’s the east wall of the room. The vanity and sink are at the bottom right.
Here it is finished. In this case, the fir-down underside was only about a foot deep, so less chance of the wallpaper going crooked, so I did wrap it around the rounded edge and underneath. Still, one of the wallpaper strips did twist askew, and there was a small gap at one seam. With this pattern, no biggie – I just cut out a leaf and pasted it over the gap.
I told you the room had crazy angles!
Note that in papering angled areas like this, you can match the pattern in some places, but there will be mis-matches in others, such as where the sloped ceiling meets the fir-down. This wild pattern is perfect for disguising any mis-matches!
Rolling the paper out on the floor, to get an idea of the pattern’s layout .
Closer look at the lemons and leaves . And angles .
It looks like a Picasso painting, don’t you think? The homeowner wanted something wild and fun , to set off the white minimalism in the rest of the home .
The pattern is called Citrus and is by A Street Prints . It’s a nice non-woven material , doesn’t expand , and can be hung by the paste the wall method , although I opted to paste the paper , as I usually do.
Non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, with no / minimal damage to the wall when you redecorate . They’re usually a pleasure to install . They’re more stain resistant and more able to withstand humidity than many traditional wallpapers .
The home of this busy young family is in the West University area of Houston .

City Scape Zig Zag Lines

April 26, 2019

I love this headboard. The homeowner and his father-in-law made this from scratch, and they made the bed frame, too. I think it’s supposed to look like rough ship-lapped wood … but to me, it looks like the skyline of a major city.

Realizing that the dark navy paint on the accent wall behind the headboard was flat and boring, the couple went to Dorota (read below) and found this fun and lively wallpaper pattern. It echoes the shape of the headboard, while adding a modern, urban edge to the room. And I think it looks like a city skyline!

Note that this pattern very much resembles one by York, in the Candice Olson line, which I have hung a number of times. I guess there is nothing wrong with a company riding the tide of trends, and making a knock-off of a proven design winner.

This is in a master bedroom in a newish townhome in the Cottage Grove neighborhood of Houston. My photo of the label didn’t turn out (Note to self: Always check your phone’s photo log before leaving work for the day.), but I can tell you that the manufacturer is Designer Wallpapers.

The material is a crisp, stiff, medium-weight non-woven material. This stuff has a fiberglass content, so it does not expand when it becomes wet with paste, and it also is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

This material would have been more flexible if I had pasted the paper. But since this was one solitary accent wall, with no corners or toilets or sinks or windows to cut around, and since I didn’t feel like lugging my 7′ long and 30lbs table up the three flights of stairs to the master bedroom, I chose to paste the wall.

Because it was a dark paper adhered to a white backing, I used artist’s chalk to color the edges of the strips, so that the white backing would not peek out from the seams.

After cutting the non-woven strips, I roll them up backwards, with the colored surface rolled up inside, and the top coming off the roll first, and then secure it by wrapping an elastic hairband around it. This way, after paste is spread on the wall, when I climb up the ladder with the paper and unroll it, the printed surface will not come in contact with the paste on the wall.

Pasting the wall is a clean way to work, because no paste gets on the woodwork or ceiling, so there is nothing to wipe off. And the excess paper that is trimmed off at the ceiling and baseboard has no paste on it, so it’s clean and won’t stain anything it might fall onto.

The paper went up nicely, and the seams were positively invisible. Oddly enough, because the paper was supposed to not stretch or expand, I did have a little trouble with the pattern match dropping – the pattern matched at the top of the wall, but as you followed it down the 9′ high wall, the pattern began to rise. In order to accommodate this, I had to lower the pattern and allow a slight mis-match at the top of the wall, which permitted me to have a perfect pattern match at eye-level.

Also odd, since the paper was supposed to not expand, even though I hung my first strip against a plumb line (laser level beam), as it moved down the height of the wall, the pattern started to track to the right. As subsequent strips were hung, the paper became more and more off-plumb, until I reached the far left corner, and it was out of whack by more than half an inch from ceiling to floor.

If this had been some wild floral pattern, it would not have mattered. But with a rigid geometric pattern, and especially a vertical one like this, and on a dark background, even with a mere 1/8″ discrepancy, you’re going to notice when things get crooked.

Since the paper is not malleable, I was not able to stretch it into plumb. But I was able to pull a few tricks out of my hat to make it look like the paper was perfectly parallel to that left wall. I didn’t take photos, so no sense in my trying to explain it here. 😦

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallcoverings, and was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.