Posts Tagged ‘ink’

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.

Fixing Weird Things That Happen To Wallpaper

December 6, 2020

The top photo shows a stain on the wallpaper that is probably related to a rain or hurricane event a few years ago.

Water stains (and also other substances, like rust, blood, ink, oil, tobacco, tar, cosmetics, and more) will bleed through wallpaper. So, before patching the area, it is imperative to use a stain blocker to seal the problem. My favorite is KILZ Original oil-based.

KILZ will seal off the stain all right. But wallpaper won’t stick to it. So, in the third photo, you see where I have primed over the KILZ with a wallpaper primer (tinted light blue, for visibility). It’s not necessary to prime the entire wall area to be patched, because this type of wallpaper will stick to itself with just plain old adhesive.

The striped pattern made for an easy repair. I took a straightedge and sharp razor blade and trimmed along the striped design, creating a long skinny patch. See fourth photo. You can also see the strip pasted and booked (folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side).

Once that sat and relaxed for a few minutes, I took it to the wall and appliquéd it over the damaged area, going the full height.

There was a very slight color difference between the paper that had been on the wall for 20 years and the paper that had been in a dark closet. Had I placed the white area of the patch next to the white area on the existing paper on the wall, the color difference would have been noticeable. But trimming along the blue stripe gave the eye a logical stopping point, and so the color difference is not detectable.

In the finished photo, you would never guess there had been anything amiss with this wall.

I used this same technique to patch over the bug-bite holes in yesterday’s post.

And another good reminder that it’s always best to order a little extra wallpaper, in case of the need for repairs later. Store the paper in a climate-controlled space … not the garage or attic.

The wallpaper is by Schumacher, and appeared to be an old-school pulp paper material.

Classic Chinoiserie Toile in Powder Room

October 30, 2020

The homeowner chose the rough marble tile backsplash wall in hopes that it would enliven the room. But with the other walls painted a bland taupe, the effect fell flat. She chose this classic 2-tone “Pillement Toile” by Scalamandre to add softness to the room and to bring out the tile wall. Mission accomplished!

This was not the easiest wallpaper to hang. For starters, like many higher-end papers, it comes with a selvage edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. (5th photo)

Also, as with many hand-screened prints that are made with “stinky inks” – the ink smells like mothballs – the ink, substrate, and moisture from the paste all fight each other, resulting in what we call curl. (4th photo) There was also some warping and stretching. It took quite a bit of time and effort to finesse that strip in the fourth photo to lie flat and tight to the wall.

Once the paper started to dry, the seams laid down tighter to the wall.

If you’re curious, that blue plastic tape in the fourth photo is placed on the edge of the wallpaper to prevent paste from getting onto the marble tile wall. Once the wallpaper is trimmed along that edge, the tape is removed. Voilà! No need to wipe paste off the stone!

The home is off Braeswood in Houston.

Farrow & Ball Difficult Paper – Taming the Beast

September 13, 2020


Farrow & Ball is not among my favorite wallpaper manufacturers. For starters, they coat their wallpaper with their paint, instead of ink like every other manufacturer in the world uses.

Paint is not a good substitute for ink. It flakes, it doesn’t apply evenly so if you are standing at the right angle, you can see unevenness in the ground (background color). Plus, it burnishes with even the lightest brush stroke across it. Do a Search here to read my previous posts about this.

Look at the first photo, and you will see what we call gaps and overlaps. This happens when the trimmer blades at the factory are wobbly and / or dull, resulting in edges that are not cut straight. Thus, when two strips are butted together, you end up with some areas gapping and some areas overlapping.

Also, the seams like to give argument to staying down tight against the wall. Again, so a Search for previous posts about this.

This “Lotus” install was a little less problematic than my experiences with other patterns. The gaps and overlaps due to poor factory cutting were still present.

But the burnishing was less of an issue, because this pattern has so much printed area that there was not a lot of ground exposed to my smoothing brush.

I also found a way to get the seams to lie down better. For starters, I used a bit more paste (their special brand of powdered cellulose paste), than usual, and that wetted the paper out better, which made it want to hug the wall better.

Next, I found that if, before hanging each strip, I rolled a thin layer of paste onto the wall under where the seams would fall, the edges of each strip would grab the wall and lie down more tightly and uniformly.

In the second photo, you can see my laser level marking the vertical line where I will run my roller of paste.

Most British manufacturers are printing on the newish non-woven substrates, which offer many positive features. Farrow & Ball, however, continues to use the traditional British pulp. When coated with their paint (instead of ink), this stuff tends to be pretty thick and stiff. The thickness adds a bit to the visible seams as seen in the top photo.

Also, once the paper becomes wet with the company’s cellulose paste, it becomes quite flexible and delicate. Meaning that it can be difficult to cut, as it often drags along even a brand new razor blade, leaving jagged edges. It tears easily. And, while unbooking, it sure felt like some of the strips were so weak that they wanted to break in two.

All in all, this install went well. But I sure would prefer if F&B would get with the rest of the wallpaper world and print on a better substrate, as well as ditch the paint in favor of good, reliable ink. And outfit their factory with some straight and sharp trimming blades.

Always Buy Extra Paper – Damaged Material

September 3, 2020


Unlike with paint, you cannot use every square foot of wallpaper on the roll.

This photo shows unusable paper at the beginning of two bolts – the one on the left has ink smudges, and the one on the right has creases.

Flaws like this are pretty much expected, and it’s very common that several feet will have to be cut off and discarded.

Rust From Water Damage Will Stain Wallpaper

August 11, 2020

Look to the right of the can. Notice the tiny spots of red. This is rust, and rust is bad because it (along with certain other substances, like ink, tar, oil, tobacco, water stains, wood sap (knots), mold, mildew) will bleed through wallpaper. Maybe not immediately, but, over time, it will work its way through the primer and the paper and to the surface, leaving a spot that cannot be washed off.

Actually, there was a whole lot of rust along the entire height of this wall’s corner. An air conditioning leak had kept the drywall wet for a period of time, and rust had formed along much of the metal corner – called a “bead.”

I skim-floated over the affected area with joint compound, and that buried the rust … for a while. But rust (and other substances), will eventually work their way to the surface, leaving spots on the wallpaper.

So a stain blocker was called for, which will prevent any stains from bleeding through. For this I love KILZ – but only the “Original” oil-based version. The water-borne products just don’t measure up

Some reasons I skim-floated over the area was to provide a buffer space between the rust and the sealer in hopes that the rust would not make it all the way up to the surface, to create more material over the very corner itself that could soak up the sealer, and because the stain blocker would soak into the porous smoothing compound more so than to the sharp corner of the metal bead.

Flaw of the Day – Smudged Smeared Ink

July 30, 2020

Luckily, these streaks of smeared ink ran through only about 5′ of one bolt of wallpaper.

Still, this cost us a full strip.

Another reason to always buy a little extra paper.

The Reading Room – Brunschwig & Fils “Bibliotheque” in a West Houston Powder Room

March 13, 2020


Why are people drawn to books in bathrooms??

Oh, well, it’s a common theme – and a bit of a tongue-in-cheek, wink-wink joke.

Either way, this one came together gorgeously.

I don’t usually like dark woodwork or ceilings, but in this case, the deep black / eggplant color works dramatically with the wallpaper.

The color is rich and saturated, and the ink has a beautiful matte finish – one glance and you know that this is a high-end and classy material.

The home is in the far-west side of Houston.