Posts Tagged ‘ink’

Stinky Ink = Curling Seams

March 25, 2018


Some higher-end wallpapers are screen-printed with an ink that smells like moth balls. We call this stinky ink. And it’s a stinker to work with – because the edges curl badly. The inked surface of the paper absorbs moisture from the paste differently from the backing, so the backing swells and expands, pushing the inked surface away… resulting in curled edges. The top photo shows the edges curling on the pasted and booked strip, and the second photo shows the edges curling on the wall. I tried a lot of tacts, but could not get the seam to lie down.

This paper has a selvedge edge that is to be trimmed off by the installer(straight edge and razor blade and a steady hand). When I tried this standard technique, the seams curled and would not lie flat.

So I tried another approach. I put the pasted but un-trimmed paper on the wall, and then used the double-cut technique. A double cut is essentially a splice – you position one strip, then position the next strip, overlapping an inch or so of the second strip vertically over the edge of the first strip, all while lining up the pattern.

More clearly, you’re overlapping the left edge of the new strip onto the right edge of the existing strip.

Then, using the custom-made trim guide tool seen in the photo, and with a strip of 3″ wide heavy polystyrene plastic (called a Boggess strip, after the guy who invented and sells it) on the wall to protect it from being scored, I used a new single-edged razor blade to carefully cut through both layers of wallpaper.

In the third-to-last photo, I am removing the excess paper left at the seams after this trimming. In the second-to-last photo, I am smoothing the paper back into place. It’s also important to wipe off all paste residue left on the surface of the paper.

Who knows why, but this technique results in nice, flat, tight seams, with edges that do not curl.

Same paper, same paste, same wall – but no curl. Go figure.

Double-cutting takes more time, patience, material, and equipment. But when it’s called for, it might be the salvation for a contrary paper.

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Farrow & Ball Branding, Sequence

March 13, 2018



Farrow & Ball (who manufacturers the “Lotus” wallpaper design in my previous posts), is a British company, and they do things properly and meticulously. I liked their labels and the trademark design on the box their paper comes in. The box is corrugated cardboard and cushioned to prevent damage to the edges of the wallpaper rolls.

Each roll is individually wrapped, too, with it’s own sticker. Going further, note that each of those bolts is numbered, indicating the sequence in which it was printed. The idea is that each strip of paper should be hung sequentially. This will minimize any color differences related to ink as it works its way through the press.

Farrow & Ball Paint on Wallpaper – Smudges, Splatters

March 13, 2018


Farrow & Ball is a British wallpaper and paint manufacturing company. They are unique in that, instead of using ink to print their wallpapers, they use their paints. It is a hand-screened process.

Any type of hand-done work means that there can be human error. (Well, you can have errors with machine-produced goods, too, but here we’re focusing on higher-end, artisan-inspired, hand-crafted goods.)

Anyway, here you can see a few smudges, and a few platters of paint on the wallpaper. All of these are considered typical and normal for a product like this.

While you are looking closely, I encourage you to notice the three-dimensional quality of the ink on the paper. It’s almost as thick as gesso. This gives the paper a subtle dimension, and ensures that every screen will be a tad different from the others.

Don’t Mark The Walls With Ink

November 22, 2017

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The two holes in the wall are from picture hooks. See the little “X” under the holes? That’s from whoever was hanging the hooks. He was measuring and marking the wall, so he would know where to hammer in the nails for the hooks.

The only problem is that he used a ball point ink pen to make his marks. Ink is bad because, diminutive as this “X” is, it will bleed through wallpaper. It will bleed through paint and other materials, too.

Other substances that can bleed through wallpaper include water stains, oil, grease, wax (crayon), tar / tobacco, blood, rust, and more.

There are special stain-blocking sealers that can be used to cover these types of marks. KILZ Original is one that I like, and BIN is another.

Since this was tiny, and since I was skim-floating the wall to smooth it anyway, I just used a putty knife to dig the mark out of the wall. Gone! That way I don’t have to worry if a stain blocker will do its job sufficiently. Then I skimmed over the gouge with joint compound to smooth the surface.

Towel Bars & Light Fixtures … Homeowner Input

July 13, 2017

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Before I start a job, I ask the homeowner if she is going to use the same towel bars, toilet paper holder, mirror, light fixtures, etc., or if she plans to replace them. Then I know if I should save the mounting hardware and replace the fixtures, or if I should remove these things and fill in the holes in the wall.

This homeowner was away from the house when I arrived, so she left good instructions as to what she wanted done. She marked the fixtures she plans to reuse, and she also marked the mirror hangers that are not to be reused. She used Sticky Notes, which will not damage the wall, and which will not cause marks that will bleed through the new wallpaper (like ink or a Sharpie will). She also arranged to have the mirror removed, because it was too heavy for me to handle. (Isn’t it nice to have a husband and a teenaged son around the house? 🙂 )

“Sigourney” Wallpaper in China Seas Collection by Quadrille

June 16, 2017

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This “Sigourney” design by Quadrille is a well-loved wallpaper pattern. It comes in a large and a smaller scale. Today I hung the larger pattern.

This went in the large and sunny breakfast area of a new home in Oak Forest (Houston).

The wallpaper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, before the paper could go up. The heavy inks smell like mothballs, and fight against the paper backing, causing the paper to “waffle” (pucker) and the edges of the paper to curl.

My table-trimmed seams curled and didn’t want to lie down against the wall, so I ended up double-cutting (splicing) all the seams. Double-cutting involves a lot more steps and materials than simply butting factory-trimmed seams.

So this job took a lot more time and sweat than expected, but turned out looking fabulous.

Wallpaper – Twos are Bad News

May 6, 2017

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The homeowners were testing colors of paint for their woodwork. No problem with that. But what WAS a problem is that they labeled those choices by writing numbers on the wall with a Sharpie – in INK!

Ink bleeds through paint, and it bleeds through wallpaper. The stain might not appear immediately, but over time, the shadow of this “2” would eventually work its way through the new wallpaper.

There are sealers that will cover this (I like oil-based KILZ Original). But in this case, since the spots were small, I used sandpaper to scrub all traces of the ink off the wall.

For the record, there are other substances that will bleed through wallpaper, too. Ink, blood, rust, water stains, and any oil- or petroleum-based material, like crayon, lipstick, baby oil, cooking oil, grease, pet stains, etc.

Fun Wallpaper Pattern for a Not-Too-Serious Master Bath

March 17, 2017

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This fun and somewhat ethnic looking wallpaper pattern went into the master bathroom of a newly remodeled 1939 brick bungalow in Montrose (Houston).

The homeowner kept saying, “It changes it SO MUCH! Before, it was just all white. Boring white. This has personality, and the room feels larger, too.”

The wallpaper is by Hygge & West, an on-line company, and is called “Diamante.”  Unlike most of their papers, which waffle, and curl at the seams (see yesterday’s post), this one was a positive delight to work with. I am guessing that that’s because there is not as much ink on this pattern.

What’s Eating This Paper?

February 20, 2017

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I hung this 10-15 years ago, and was back for another reason. This is a powder room. Spots like this are along the edges of much of the woodwork.

I think the brand is Scalamandre, a higher-end wallpaper, and it was a hand-trimmed paper with ink that smells like mothballs.

It really doesn’t look like something the maid could have done, even if she got chemicals on the paper. I told the homeowner I think it’s bugs eating the ink or paper, but she says she’s never seen bugs in her house. Well, she did admit that she has seen silverfish.

Just for fun, Google “silverfish wallpaper paste.” Ah-HA!

My suggestion was to get some bottles of 99c craft paint and a small brush and color in the areas.

Preventing Stains by Sealing Ink with KILZ

December 8, 2016

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See that red vertical line just to the right of the paint can? The previous wallpaper installer had used a red Magic Marker to color the edges of his vinyl wallpaper. This is a good way to cover the white edges so the seams don’t show, especially with a dark paper. But it’s better to use chalk or colored pencils, because oil or ink can bleed through and will stain the new wallpaper or paint.

In this photo, the previous dark red wallpaper has been stripped off, but the red ink that was used to color the seam’s edges has soaked into the wall. The wall has been skim-floated with a light coat joint compound and then primed with the penetrating sealer Gardz. Yet the red ink has bled through. If wallpaper is hung over this red line, it is quite likely that, over time, the ink will work its way through the various layers and up to the surface.

The best way to prevent that is to use a stain-blocker. KILZ Original oil-based sealer and stain blocker is about the best product on the market for this. Brush it on, it dries quickly, and then you are safe to apply wallpaper, paint, or other materials.

KILZ will also block stains from oil, smoke, rust, water, ink, crayon, tobacco, and more.