Posts Tagged ‘ink’

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.

Run Numbers – Re Previous Post

May 15, 2021
Run numbers are important!

Re my previous post, before I visited, the homeowner had purchased 8 rolls (4 double roll bolts) of paper. This was just exactly enough (12 strips) for the headboard wall, but I told him to order 16 more to do the rest of the room. The new paper came in a different run. So we had Run 16 for the headboard accent wall, and Run 17 for the other walls.

(You can’t mix runs on the same wall, because different runs, printed at different times with different batches of ink, will be slightly different shades. This very slight color difference will show up on the wall as a striped or “paneled” effect.)

The wallpaper is by York. It is a non-woven material, comprised of synthetic fibers rather than wood and cotton. The synthetic material does not expand when wet with paste, which means the wallpaper can be hung via the paste-the-wall method, with no “booking” or “soaking” wait time needed.

Interestingly enough, Run 16 behaved differently from Run 17. I hung the accent wall with Run 16 quite successfully using the paste-the-wall method.

But when I started the next wall using Run 17, bubbles and wrinkles developed. The paper was absorbing moisture from the paste and expanding on the wall, creating the small bubbles. Quite unexpected with a non-woven material.

The solution was to paste the back of the wallpaper, rather than the wall. This allows the material to absorb moisture and expand a tad before you get it to the wall, so it will behave itself once it is on that wall.

Unlike a traditional paper, this non-woven material did not need a lot of time to absorb moisture, but could be pasted and hung immediately. This greatly speeds up the installation process.

Pasting the paper has an additional advantage in that it renders the material more supple and pliable, which makes it much easier to work around corners or manipulate into position in tricky areas.

Weird Red & Blue Dots on Wallpaper Substrate

April 29, 2021
Red dot on back of wallpaper substrate.
Red dot shows through to front of wallpaper.
There were a few blue dots, too.
Being tucked among the foliage helps hide the dots.

This is the second time in recent weeks that I’ve had strange red and blue dots show up on the back of my strips of wallpaper. These are not flecks of wood fiber or string that can be picked out of the material.

They are either inherent to the material the substrate is made of. Or they could have come from substances splashing onto the wallpaper during manufacturing.

What’s upsetting is that they are capable of – and have – bled through to show up on the surface of the wallpaper.

Another fear is that ink bleeds and stains … do a Search here on my blog for more posts. In today’s case, I worry that these tiny dots will bleed and leech over time, and grow to larger stains on the surface of the paper.

This wallpaper is by Katie Kime. Their website says that they use “eco-friendly” inks. I hope this is true. Because water-based inks have less chance of bleeding through than do oil- or solvent-based substances.

II hung two test strips today. We’ll see tomorrow if any of these small dots have enlarged.

Printing Defects in Katie Kime Wallpaper

April 29, 2021
Splotches in between the tree and the drum, and above and to the right of the paddlewheeler steamship.
Smears / blotches right where my pencil is pointing.

These misguided daubs of ink are a result of the printing process. Excess ink probably got stuck to a print roller and dripped onto the wallpaper. These occurred throughout all the bolts of paper. A larger company (Thibaut, York) would not have let this pass.

But, really, once the whole room is papered with this busy and fun pattern, these little flecks of ink are not going to be a big deal.

I did check with the homeowner before hanging, and she OK’d it. I think she made the right decision.

‘Tis The Season – for Defects

December 11, 2020

This is the second time in a month that I have not been able to finish a job for a client, due to problems with the paper. In this case, it is not a defect in the paper itself, but rather, damage caused by improper storage – most likely at the vendor.

Look closely at the top photo and you will see slight light line along the far right edge. This is where ink has been pulled off the surface. There are also remnants of ink along the right edge of the backside of the wallpaper, as seen in the second and third photos.

What happened is, the bolts of wallpaper must have gotten a tad wet along one edge. Perhaps stored in a warehouse that had a water leak that accessed the wallpaper. Or the delivery guy spilled his Ozarka and a tiny splash found its way into the edge of the wallpaper.

Whatever happened, three of the five double roll bolts of paper were damaged.

What happened is, the wallpaper is pre-pasted, which means it has a thin layer of dry paste on the backside. When the spilled water reached the edge of the wallpaper bolt, it was absorbed, and the moisture re-activated the paste. The paste stuck the rolled-up layers of paper to themselves.

When I came along and started to unroll the wallpaper, the backside stuck to the printed front side, and pulled some of the ink off. Hence you see color missing from the surface, and color stuck to the back.

There is no way to know if this happened at the factory, or at one of the many middle-man vendors popping up on-line these days, or on the delivery guy’s truck.

This is a pretty minor flaw. Yet, once up on the wall, it would result in a faint, pale, vertical line from floor to ceiling, along each seam – every 27.”

I thought the homeowner deserved better, so I declined to hang it. She will have to reorder, making sure to get a different run number, which means the new paper will have been printed and shipped at a different time. Or, she may choose a whole different pattern altogether. Either way, it’s pretty sure that the new paper will not have encountered moisture that could cause this problem again.

The wallpaper is by Caitlin Wilson, and is made by York, in their SureStrip line – which is actually one of my favorite brands.