Posts Tagged ‘motifs’

Powder Blue and Mint Small Print in West U Bungalow Bathroom

July 21, 2022
Before, primed and ready for wallpaper.
For various reasons, removing these mounting brackets for the light sconces would have created more problems than it solved, so I left them in place and worked carefully around them. The difficulty is that the sconces are exactly the same size as the mounting plates, so it’s difficult to trim around these plates that jut out from the wall and still get the paper close enough that no gaps show around the base of the light fixtures. When possible, it’s much easier to remove them and put the paper behind them.
I chose to center the design on my first strip in between those two sconces, rather than on the faucet. Good thing this is a small and busy pattern, because neither the mirror nor the sink faucet were centered between the sconces. But no one’s gonna notice.
If you look in the middle of the photo, you’ll see the vertical red line of my laser level. I’m using this as a guide to place the motifs down the center of the space.
Here’s a shot of my laser level. Less than $100 at Lowe’s maybe eight years ago.
Finished sink wall. The hooks are for the large, white framed mirror.
Window corner next to the toilet. The mint green paint on the woodwork next to the light blue wallpaper print ties this room in beautifully with the other rooms on the first floor of this house. The colors also coordinate beautifully with some artwork in the dining room just steps away.
The pattern is called Aboreta and is by Thibaut , one of my favorite brands. It’s a traditional paste-the-paper material , and was nice to work with. Thin and breathable and should hold up nicely in a humid bathroom.
This was purchased from my favorite source for wallpaper and for help in finding what you’re looking for – Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Her hours vary, so call before you head over.

Making A Corner Look Straight When It’s Not

March 25, 2022
Here I’m hanging wallpaper from right to left, working around this corner. I’ve wrapped the paper 1/8″ around the corner, and then cut a new piece that will overlap that 1/8″ and continue to move to the left. (Search here to learn more about turning inside corners.)
This is a 100 year old house, and this corner is way off-plumb – on both the right side and the left side. The chair rail, however, is perfectly level.
Here, the pattern matches nicely at the bottom of the wall. But as it moves up, the crooked corner takes over, and the pattern becomes mis-aligned.
By hanging the paper crooked, I can match the wallpaper pattern perfectly in the corner. But that will skew the left edge of this new strip off-plumb by slanting it to the right. That means that every subsequent strip will track off-plumb … and the motif at the top of the chair rail will start to climb uphill.
Since the chair rail is so prominently visible, I think it’s more important for the pattern motif to be straight along the chair rail, than to be perfectly matched in the corner.
But I didn’t like the way the pattern was getting un-matched at the upper part of the wall. I thought I could make it look better.
This design gave me something to fiddle with.
One option was to cut the paper vertically between the two rows of “swoops.” Then I could match the pattern in the corner, and pull the excess paper to the left, overlapping one strip on top of the other about 1/4″ at the top and tapering down to nothing at the chair rail. It’s a thin paper in a room with not-great lighting, so this overlapped lip would not be very noticeable. Still, I thought I could make it look better.
I could make the overlap invisible by trimming the paper along the design. Here I’ve removed that corner piece.
On the left is the strip I’ve cut off.
Here I’m putting the strip into place, and making sure that the pattern matches nicely in the corner. This pushes the upper part of this cut strip further to the left, so it overlaps the other strip of paper just a little
Now, instead of a visible straight overlap the full height of the strip, the overlap comes along the rounded edges of the design. That black line disguises the overlap beautifully!
Here it is nicely matched in the corner, with invisible overlap along the curved black line.
The excess still needs to be trimmed off at the ceiling and chair rail.
Mission accomplished! The design matches nicely in the corner, the paper moving to the left is hung perfectly plumb, and the motifs are all at their proper heights along the chair rail and ceiling.
This fun retro mid-century modern pattern is by Designer Wallpapers.

Classic Chinoiserie in Heights Powder Room

February 10, 2022
Before. The previous installer did a beautiful job with this earthy grasscloth. But it didn’t suit the homeowner’s taste, nor did it fit with the feel of this 1939 cottage in the historic Norhill section of the Houston heights.
Done! The dark towel and mirror really set off the pattern and colors.
Wall behind the toilet. This Asian-influenced design, with its pagodas and minstrels, is referred to as a Chinoiserie . These designs have been popular for centuries.
Close-up. The green and blue tones coordinate beautifully with adjoining rooms in the house.
I rolled the wallpaper out on the floor, so I could see the full-size design. This one has a 46″ pattern repeat, which is awfully long, and means there can be a lot of waste. This design had a straight pattern match, and came packaged in a 24″ x 33′ bolt, like traditional wallpaper. It did not come as an A-B set, as many M&K products do.
I couldn’t find a full-size room-set photo on-line, so I availed myself of the Milton & King ‘s ” chat ” feature … I was connected with a live and knowledgeable representative in mere seconds, and he very quickly sent me a link to a picture of this pattern in a room.
In the photo, I’m using my yardstick to determine a centerline of the design motifs.
As are most of Milton & King ‘s wallpapers, this one was on a non-woven substrate. Rather than paste the wall, I chose to paste the paper, which works best in a bathroom with things to cut around and tuck paper behind. mi
The pattern is called Mulberry . Milton & King’s bolts come packed individually in protective boxes – no worries about banged edges with this outfit!

” Shrinking ” a Strip to Make for a Good Corner

February 5, 2022
I’m hanging wallpaper moving from right to left. The wallpaper is 21″ wide. The width between my last strip (over the door) and the corner is 19″ wide. This means that my next strip is going to wrap around the corner by 2″.
This is not good. You never want to wrap wallpaper around an inside corner, especially a tiny amount like 2″. Corners are never straight, and thus the wrapped bit will be warped and un-straight. The next strip will never butt up correctly with it, leaving gaps and overlaps. You will also end up with a new strip that is not hanging plumb.
Also, wrapping around corners doesn’t allow for movement in the corner as the temperature changes in the room, or as the house shifts on its foundation.
The goal is to wrap the corner by about 1/16″ – 1/8″, and then overlap the new strip on top of that narrow wrap.

This is how I want my strip to land in the left corner.
Bottom line – if I want my next strip to wrap just 1/8″ around the corner on the left, then it’s going to overlap by 2″ onto the existing strip on the right. If that happens, we’ll lose 2″ of the pattern and have some eye-jarring cut-off pattern motifs.
So, somewhere, I need to “lose” 2″ of paper. Looking at the short seam above this window, I see where I can remove some paper without messing up the pattern too much.
I’ve removed the strip and used my straightedge and a razor blade to slice off 3/4″ of paper.
The blue plastic is there to keep paste off my table, and the shiny thing is a protective plastic strip I use to keep from cutting into the wooden table.
3/4″ removed.
Slid back together, you don’t much notice the very minor pattern mis-match created by the absence of the narrow strip.
This could work on a longer strip as well, depending on the pattern motifs.
Now the left corner is how I want it.
But the right edge of the strip is overlapping 1″ or more over the existing strip over the window. You can see there is a pattern mis-match, not to mention a bump where these two pieces overlap. So I’m going to do a double cut and splice these two strips together.
Splicing means you press hard to cut through both layers of wallpaper. Your blade will probably cut a bit deeper and dig into the wall, scoring the surface. This is bad, because an un-intact surface can give way when wallpaper paste dries and the material shrinks, tugging at the surface. This can actually cause layers of the wall to come apart ( delaminate ), which means the wallpaper will come up at the seam. Do a Search here to learn more.
To prevent this, I’m using a Boggess Strip (a clear, thin, flexible strip of polycarbonate Lexon plastic padding ) to put under where the splice will take place, to protect the wall. You can’t cut through this stuff!
The strip in place.
I’ve smoothed the left strip back into place overlapping the existing strip. Next I’ve used a short straightedge and a sharp (important) new (important) single edged razor blade to slice through both layers of wallpaper. Here I’m removing the top strip of excess cut-off paper.
Now I’ve pulled back part of the strip on the left so I can remove the excess wallpaper on the bottom. Note that the cut is a little uneven in areas, to cut around the leaves in the design.
Removing the Boggess Strip. This does put tension on your wall, so you’ve got to have a good wallpaper primer underneath, applied over a sound surface.
The two strips smoothed back together.
The view from below.
I used a pencil to touch up the edges of the leaves, to make them look more rounded and natural.

The polycarbonate strips are named after the inventor, Steve Boggess, a colleague and fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association. Get them here: https://www.steveboggesspaperhanging.com/lexanpage.htm

Lots of Defects in Today’s Paper

September 24, 2021
There is a lot of “fuzzy stuff” along the edges of the seams.
But most concerning is that the seagulls do not match from one strip to the other.
This photo shows you why. Look at the gull next to my finger, and compare it with the gull by my pencil. The gull at the top of the roll is fatter – it has more white wing area. Obviously this run of wallpaper got trimmed “on the bias,” meaning that the rolls were not cut straight, but at a slight diagonal … sort of like a very long trapezoid. This results in the motifs being cut at an angle, with some wider than others. That means that the motifs are not going to match up perfectly at the seams.
In addition, one double roll bolt had abraded areas, as if something at the factory swept across the material and scraped off some of the ink. I cut off and discarded the worst of this. Luckily we had a little extra paper.
More fuzzy stuff. This shows on the surface. And it prevents the seams from meeting properly. I was able to remove some of it with a sanding block. But some of it remained, and affected the look of the finished job. Luckily, not extremely noticeable.
Anderson Prints

I’ve hung this paper before and not had these problems. I hope the issue is unique to this run, and subsequent runs will be back to being perfect.

I usually have the client order enough wallpaper that we can work around issues like this. Also, because of the layout of the room, and the fact that there is only one motif that has to be matched across a seam, and it’s relatively small, I’m going to be able to finish the room with it all looking O.K.

“Shrinking” a Strip of Wallpaper, to Avoid a Bad Seam Placement

August 1, 2021
The strip on the left over the door was going to extend to the right, about 2″ beyond the door frame and wall corner. This was going to result in an awkward seam placement, and make for a difficult install of the next two strips. I could avoid this by moving that next seam to over the right corner of the door. To do this, I had to “shrink” the strip over the door. I cut along the pattern, and pulled out the right half of the strip. Then I hung the full-length strip to the right, making sure to position the motifs so they would line up with the motifs on the left.
Here I am placing that right portion of the strip next to the full-height strip on the right. I am lapping it under the strip to the left. (The blue plastic tape you see at the top is to keep paste off the ceiling paint.)
Trimmed at ceiling and molding, and smoothed into place. Because I sliced the paper vertically along the design of the tree trunk, once the pieces are smoothed back into place, you don’t notice at all that about 1″ of material and pattern are missing.

Rolling Out The Paper Out To Get An Overall View

June 18, 2021

Rolling out two bolts of wallpaper side-by-side on the floor is a good way to see the overall pattern. This helps me gauge where I want to place certain elements of the design on the wall. I can also observe the pattern match. And I can determine what motifs I want to place at the top of the wall – or, in some cases, at the top of a chair rail or wainscot.

Jimmying the Kill Point

November 3, 2019


This is a shot of the last corner in a room, a spot we call the kill point. Almost always, this last corner results in a pattern mis-match.

In this case, the heavy vertical tree trunk was going to land just 5″ away from the identical tree trunk, which was originally close to the corner in the photo.

Two heavy tree trunks, both curving in the same direction, covered with the same leaves and flowers, would be very obvious to the eye. Not a big deal, because this is in a far corner up over a door. But, still, I thought I could remove the repetitiveness and make it look better.

Without going into a lot of detail, I took some scrap paper that did not match the pattern, and tucked its right side under the vertical tree trunk.

I used its left side to paste on top of / cover up the tree trunk that was originally in the corner.

Instead of cutting exactly in the corner, I allowed some leaves and flowers to wrap around the corner, trimming around them with a scissors so they were not cut off abruptly, but wrapped naturally around the corner in a continuation of the motifs.

Compensating for Crooked Walls

July 17, 2018

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Today I was to hang this cute bear wallpaper on one accent wall of a baby’s nursery.  The walls were 0ff-plumb, and the ceiling was not level, and the pattern was very plotted and symmetrical.  So let’s just say that the room presented challenges.

One thing that helped was the way the blocks of bears are printed on the wallpaper.  See Photo 1.  Unlike most wallpaper designs, the motifs did not cross the seams, so there were no elements to be matched from strip to strip.  This left me free to place the bears’ heads at the top of the wall with every strip.

Normally, when the ceiling is not level, the wallpaper pattern (the heads of the bears) would start to move up or down the ceiling, and that means that the heads would start to get chopped off horizontally.

But since this pattern did not cross the seams of the wallpaper and I didn’t have to match any parts of bears across the seams, I was able to pull each strip up to the top of the wall, and eating a uniform line (or head-count 🙂 ) at the top of the wall.  It meant that the lines of bears were not perfectly level from strip to strip – but that was not very noticeable, and was a whole lot better than seeing heads get chopped off.

The walls on either side were also not plumb.  As a test, I hung the first strip of paper butted into the corner, so it is parallel with the wall.  The second photo shows my laser level red line against the side of the paper.  If you could see above the top of the photo, that red line is butted against the edge of the paper at the top of the wall.  Yet as you move down the wall, the strip of wallpaper moves away to the left of the red level line.

I could pull the strip of paper into plumb so that it aligned with the red laser line – but that would cause a slew of bears to get their heads sliced off vertically where they hit the adjacent wall.  As well as when they got to the opposite wall.

Also, since the ceiling was not level, the bears’ heads would start marching either up or down the ceiling line, and, again, some bears would get their heads chopped off.

What to do?

I checked for plumb on both outer walls, and found that both walls were off-plumb by a fairly significant amount.  Luckily, both walls were out of plum parallel with one another.  This meant that I could hang the paper off-plumb and butted into the right corner, and it would come out on the left side of the wall nicely parallel to the opposite side (right corner).

So the pattern aligned nicely with both the right and left walls.  But since to do this I had to hang the paper off-plumb, it would also go off-level at the ceiling.  And since the ceiling was already no where near level, it was very likely that the pattern was going to track up or down that ceiling line, with a bunch o’ bears getting their heads cut off.

Here is where the placement of the pattern on the 20.5″ wide wallpaper made a difference… Because I didn’t have to match a bear’s head to a bear’s head horizontally across the seams. I could position each strip so that the tips of the bears’ ears were at the top of the wall.  (Read previous paragraphs.)

But because the ceiling was off-level by such a great degree, some of the pattern did get crooked, and so you see a couple of black feet starting to appear above the brown bear at the top of the wall (See photo 3).

But I’d rather have a few paws showing at the top of the ceiling, than have a bunch ‘o bears get chopped off vertically at the corners.  But still, I didn’t like looking at those paws hanging down from the ceiling.

The fix was easy.  I took some scrap wallpaper and from it I cut some thin strips of white paper that I then pasted over the offending paws.  Voilà!  No visible dangling paws.

AND the pattern looks amazingly equal in each corner,

This is a new townhouse in the Cottage Grove neighborhood of Houston.