Posts Tagged ‘ink’

Two Runs – Not Good

May 17, 2022

The homeowner accidentally ordered half as much wallpaper as was needed, so more was ordered. Unfortunately, we were not able to get the same run number (also called batch number or dye lot ).

Wallpaper bolts printed at the same time will all have the same run number. Then the next time the manufacture prints this material, he’ll mix up a new batch of ink. This new ink will almost assuredly be a teeny slight difference in shade .

You can’t put wallpaper strips from different runs next to each other on the same wall; you will see this slight color difference and the wall will have a subtle yet unpleasing striped effect.

You can, however, use different runs on different walls, “breaking” the run in a corner. You won’t notice the color difference because light hits different walls differently and causes a natural color difference.

This trick works, but it does require extra wallpaper.

Moral of the story:

~Always confirm how much paper is needed with the installer before ordering.

~Always buy a more than you think you’ll need; one extra double roll / bolt at minimum.

Run Numbers Matter – More

April 19, 2022
When you hang wallpaper, you need to make sure that all the rolls / bolts are from the same Run Number / Batch Number / Dye Lot. This means that the rolls were printed at the same time from the same batch of ink.
Another batch of ink that’s mixed up and then printed a few weeks later may be a very slightly different shade. You can easily see that color difference in this photo.
Placing strips from two different runs next to each other on the same wall will result in a subtle but unpleasant striped effect.
Besides the color differences of the ink, the printing press can be positioned differently, too.
Look at the bottom strip, at the left of the photo. The vertical line on the left is wide.
But now look at the strip on the right, which is on top. It’s from a different Run.
Here the vertical strips is narrow.
If strips of wallpaper from these two different runs were placed next to each other on a wall, not only would you see a color difference between them, but you would have an unpleasant striped effect, because one vertical stripe element in the design would be unnaturally wide, and another would be much narrower. In between would be other stripes that are the standard medium width.
Very un-uniform and very un-pleasing.
Before any wallpaper rolls get cut, pasted, and stuck to the wall, check to be sure the run numbers are all the same!

Preventing White From Showing At The Seams

March 10, 2022
When wallpaper gets wet with paste, it expands a bit. And when it dries, it can shrink just a tad. That teeny gap at the seams can expose the wall underneath it. This can happen even with the non-woven materials, which are supposed to be dimensionally stable.
In addition, manufacturers usually print on a white substrate, so sometimes you see the edges of the paper at the seams, too.
All this is much more noticeable on a dark paper, such as here.
One thing I do to prevent / minimize this is to strip the wall with dark paint under where the seams will fall. So even if a seam opens up a bit, you’ll see dark, not white.
Since non-woven wallpapers don’t expand (much), it’s easy to measure the width of your strips and plot where the seams will fall, use a level, and then apply the paint.
I use plain old craft paint from the hobby store. I use a scrap of sponge and dip that in water (in my orange bottle cap) then into the paint, and then run my stripe down the plumb line I’ve drawn on the wall or used my laser level to shoot a vertical line.
It’s important to not get the paint too heavy or thick, because the wallpaper paste may not want to grab ahold of paint like it wants to hold on to a wallpaper primer. And definitely don’t use a gloss paint.
Be sure that it’s good and dry before you hang the wallpaper. A heat gun will speed things along if needed.
Not pictured, but you can look up other posts here … I also take a bit of chalk of a corresponding color and run it along the edge of the wallpaper to cover up that white edge. It’s important to apply the chalk from the back, to avoid getting any on the front of the wallpaper. Some colleagues use water markers, pencils, or gouache paint. Whatever you use, do not use anything with oil-based inks or colors. These will bleed and stain your wallpaper.
Chalking the edges is more important than striping the wall, IMO.
This pattern is called Allure and is by Graham & Brown , a brand I like a lot.

Pulp Wallpapers – Difficult to Handle

January 30, 2022

I mentioned in my post of January 27, 2022 that this wallpaper is what we call a classic or traditional British pulp material. All wood pulp and a little ink. No synthetic fibers, no protective coating.

When dry, the stuff is quite stiff and brittle, and when wet it can turn to mush. It dries fast, so sometimes can ” freeze ” and stick together when you unbook it – which can actually tear the paper apart.

This makes it difficult to work with it when going around intricate moldings, or into corners, or any time you need to bend or unfold it.

It’s also tricky to cut. It dulls blades quickly. And even a brand new razor blade can get bogged down or snagged. This can easily tear the paper. Another thing that happens is that you get these little ” buggers ” where the top part of the paper trims off, but little bits of the substrate stay behind.

The photo above shows this happening at a trim cut along a baseboard. You have to gently pull the strip away from the wall, being careful not to crease it or tear it. Then use your scissors to snip off these little bits. It’s a real PITA.

Bold David Hicks Geometric in Garden Oaks Powder Room

December 18, 2021
This young family wanted some WOW! Factor for their new home’s plain-Jane powder room. It’s a 2-room set up, with the sink in one area and the toity around the corner in a more private area.
Looking through one room into the next – yes, really a WOW! Factor!
Looks fantastic with the burnished gold faucets, light sconces, and hand towel ring.
Opposite wall. I centered the pattern on the wall opposite the mirror, so that the design would work around the room evenly and the pattern would fall equally on these two walls. In other words, the pattern hits the tile wall on the left at exactly the same point as it does on the tile wall to the right. The sconces also land on the same element in the wallpaper. This gives a very symmetrical look as you face the mirror. One of those things no one can put his finger on, but it makes the whole room feel balanced and in sync.
Back wall connecting to right wall with door that leads to the entry hall.
The commode room is under the stairway, so has a strongly sloped ceiling – and tight working quarters. You can also see that the wall is bowed in the corner, resulting in a good pattern match at top and bottom, but some mis-alignment in the center. Pretty typical. No walls are perfectly plumb, no ceiling is perfectly level, and corners are just about always a bit wonky. Geometric designs like this are particularly difficult to make look perfect.
On close-up, you can see a slight raised ink texture. This surface printed wallpaper was not a crisp look – nothing wrong with that … it’s part of the hand-crafted look. The non-woven material is thick and stiff, and the seams were a bit more noticeable than on many other non-wovens. I also noted that where the gold ink hit the edges of the paper, there were ever-so-slight curls and overlaps. My guess is the gold ink reacted to the wet paste and expanded differently from the black and the background color. Never mind. From two feet away, you can’t notice it at all.
The David Hicks Collection by GP & J Baker contains several variations of this type of bold geometric pattern. Some of the vendors are calling this a “new” release … but I first hung one of these designs maybe 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten any better with the quality. Surprising, because GP&J Baker’s papers are usually very nice – I did one just a few months ago and loved it. Conversely, this one is quite stiff, and trying to work it into tight spots such as corners or behind a toilet or around a vanity or light fixture can result in creases. And the ink flakes off very easily. Here, just pressing the wallpaper against the baseboard so it could be trimmed caused the ink to chip off, and you can see little bits of it collected on top of the baseboard on the left. Luckily, this was at the floor and not very noticeable. I used some black chalk to cover the white areas. But at eye-level, this would have necessitated removing the whole strip and replacing with a new one.

Wallpaper installer Houston

Authentic 1920’s Wallpaper!

November 26, 2021

Across the street from where I was working today (in the Houston Heights), this 1925 home was being renovated. I walked myself over to drop off a business card.

I gasped when I saw some vintage wallpaper in a trash pile on the soon-to-be living room floor. I love these old papers, and have a growing collection.

The guys working inside were friendly, and were happy to let me take some scraps. This chunk is from the original kitchen (which, after the home is expanded, will become the living room). It’s probably the most cheerful and animated pattern in my collection.

Back in those days, a loosely-woven fabric (often mistakenly referred to as cheesecloth or muslin) was tacked to the ship-lap walls, and the wallpaper was pasted and hung on top of that. The seams were overlapped.

The ink colors hold up amazingly well over the years. But that cloth backing, and the wallpaper itself, don’t fare as well.

This kitchen wallpaper easily separated from the cloth backing, and the old paper was delicate and brittle. Even with attentive handling, my piece split in two just walking a few yards to my van.

I got it home in one piece (well, really in two pieces). I hope to find a was to affix this to a secure backing, so it can be preserved.

I’m afraid that it won’t hold up to the moisture and stress of pasting, even using with old-fashioned wheat paste. And that spray adhesives might not hold, or may stain the old paper fibers.

I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, I feel very lucky to have this!

Shading Issues With Hourglass Wallpaper

October 30, 2021
There is a vertical seam down the center of this picture. Look closely, and you will see that the strip of wallpaper on the right is darker than the strip on the left. The manufacturer didn’t keep the color of the ink consistent across the width of the paper. This is called shading or paneling. Even though the pattern of the horizontal hash-type lines matches across the seam, I thought the difference in color would be jarring to the eye.
In the grand scheme of things, I believe that uniform color would be more important than a perfectly matched really tiny pattern. So I used a trick called reverse-hanging to bring an even color to the seam areas. That’s when you hang one strip right side up, and then hang the next strip upside down. What this accomplishes is to place the same side of the strip next to itself. That way, a darker area, for example, is next to a darker area, and your eye doesn’t notice any abrupt color difference. It’s a simple concept, but difficult to explain. This technique is usually used on solid textures or materials like grasscloth. I was able to get away with it on this patterned paper because the design was symmetrical whether it was right-side-up or up-side-down. From a short foot away from the wall, you can’t notice that the horizontal lines don’t line up perfectly.

What’s Wrong With This Picture? My Table is Sacred!!

August 17, 2021

“Someone” (a.k.a. the homeowner) went and set something on my work table.

Folks, I can set things on my table. NO ONE ELSE can!!

Not even an innocent glass of water!

For one thing, it’s my work area, and I have all my needed tools and measurements and thought processes there. Outside items disrupt my thought process and the flow of installation.

But most important … the table has to stay CLEAN. As in PRISTINE. Any speck of grease, or ink, or oil or dirt can leave a stain that will transfer to the wallpaper. Sharp objects can cut it, and other objects can dent or scratch it.

My clients spend a lot of money for their wallpaper. Their investment shouldn’t be permanently marred because some electrician decided to dispose of his scratchy, sweat-stained wire clippings, or the wrapper from his hamburger, on the nearest surface – my work table.

The absolute worst was a homeowner himself, who walked by and casually set down a bowl from the backyard, full of GREASY CANNED DOG FOOD.

“Priming” Wall With Paste to Keep Seams Down Tight

August 3, 2021
Hard to see, but the slightly darker, shiny section of wall to the left of the wallpaper is a bit of paste that I have rolled onto the wall along where a seam will lie.
The paste has pulled the edges of the paper nice and tight to the wall. Never mind the slight pattern mis-match … this is a hand screen print, and it’s pretty common for these to be slightly off in printing and/or trimming. The pattern matched better above the door, then drifted off as the paper neared the bottom of the strip. You can also see that some of the edges are somewhat jagged and saw-dusty, due to trimming at the factory.

Some manufacturers use inks that fight with their substrates. The substrate absorbs moisture from the paste and expands, but the inked layer does not, so you end up with the bottom layer stretching and forcing the top layer to curl back, resulting in edges that curl and don’t stay tight to the wall.

Any time you smell ink that calls to mind mothballs, you can expect to deal with this issue. It’s pretty common with screen printed wallpapers.

One trick is to lightly sponge the surface with water before pasting the back. Another, which I have discussed here previously, is to paste the paper, fold and book it, and then dip the rolled-up edges into 1/4″ of clean water. Then place the rolled up strip into a plastic trash bag for the booking period. This helps to keep the edges from drying out while the paper books.

On many papers, I’ve found that it also helps to roll a light coat of paste onto the wall, just under where the seams will fall. This works amazingly well to grab the edges and hold them tightly against the wall.

Replacement Paper a Different Run ??

June 22, 2021
Ink smudge. One of many printing defects throughout all the rolls of wallpaper
Replacement paper came in the same run number as defective paper. Not good.
Despite the label, the replacement paper (on the right) must surely be a different run. Note the pattern mis-match, as well as color discrepancy between the two strips. The motifs on the left are lighter and yellower than those on the right.

When I originally set out to hang this Anderson Prints wallpaper in a northwest Houston powder room, there were too many printing defects to be acceptable. The homeowner had the store send it back, and we requested that the replacement paper be from a different run (printed at a different time and with a different batch of ink), to ensure that the new paper would be defect-free.

The replacement paper arrived with the label stating the same run number – Run 2. But I have to question that. I think they stuck the wrong labels on the new rolls.

For one thing, notice the pattern mis-match, between the original rolls (left) and the new paper (right). This indicates that the trimming rollers were set at different points in the design – and that can only happen when the presses are set up to print off a new batch / run of wallpaper. (I’m tossing in an educated guess on that one … Another scenario could be that the trimming wheels got wobbly and rolled out of “true.”)

Either way, these two bolts of paper were not printed and trimmed at the same time.

You will also notice a pretty obvious color difference between the original paper (left) and the replacement (right).

Again, it’s pretty certain that these rolls were not printed at the same time from the same batch of ink.