Posts Tagged ‘motifs’

Vinyl Faux Grasscloth in Guest Bathroom

February 3, 2023
Before. Walls primed and ready for wallpaper .
Vanity area done. This blue , brown , and metallic gold material has the warm look and texture of real grasscloth, but is much more water- and stain-resistant and consistent in color . It also has a pattern that can be matched , so the seams are much less visible than with real grass . Note that some of the lines you’re seeing in the photo are cast by the light fixture .
Going around these arched windows took a while!
Toilet wall without lights off.
With lights on, you see the true colors more accurately. Note the light fixture casting vertical stripes on the wall .
Like many thick, textured vinyl products, the edges curl back just a teeny bit, due to how the material is trimmed at the factory. Believe it or not, run your finger over this seam and you’ll feel that it’s perfectly flat. In fact, this look is typical with real grasscloth, because the edges tend to fray up a bit. From two feet away, you don’t notice any of this.
This material mimics the look and texture of real grasscloth .
Another wall, along the shower . One nice thing about grasscloth is that, since you don’t need to match pattern motifs, you don’t have to paper walls in sequence or order. We were a little tight on material on this job, so I hung my full length walls first, then went back and hung the shorter walls. This helped me plan usage – how many strips needed and how many strips I could get out of each roll / bolt of paper .
Made by York , one of my favorite manufacturers.

1 3/8″ Wallpaper Strip

February 2, 2023
Arrgh. This last strip of wallpaper in a master bathroom ended just shy of the shower tile surround . That’s a 1 3/8″ gap that needs to be covered with wallpaper. I’ve filled in pieces narrower – like, 1/2″ or less. But, still, it’s a PITA, and takes a lot of time.
And it will require a full 9′ strip of paper, just to cut off this 1 3/8″ wide bit from the right side. So a whole lot of unused paper is going in the trash can. As I like to emphasize, always purchase a little extra.
I don’t usually pre-trim strips in this situation, because walls are never straight so it’s hard to get the width perfect. And the fact that wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste , so your pre-trimmed strip may end up wider than the space. And because trimming the piece while it’s on-site gives a better, tighter fit.
Anyway, this time I did pre-trim. I measured carefully, and found that most of the space was 1 3/8″ wide. But three artichoke motifs up from the floor (about 2 1/2 feet), the width widened to 1 1/2.”
So I used my straightedge and fine ruler and trimmed accordingly. The pasted it and let sit for a few minutes.
Here I’m smoothing the strip into its little narrow gap.
Finished.

Un-Plumb, Un-Level

January 24, 2023
Shot of the finished breakfast room , for pattern reference.
Close-up view. The vertical lines are not wrinkles , but shadows cast by the macrame light fixture in this breakfast room .
The problem is, when walls aren’t plumb , and ceiling and floor and chair rail are not level , the pattern motifs won’t march across the wall at the same height on every strip . I’ve learned that, in most cases, it’s more important to match the pattern in the corner , and then allow the pattern to go off-track at ceiling or floor if necessary.
In this photo, note that the humming bird is sitting completely above the chair rail.
Here he’s dropped down to where his tail is swallowed up by the chair rail .
By the time we get to the left corner , half of the bird has dropped down and disappeared .
Here’s another bird motif doing the same disappearing act .
Feet and belly gone.
This house in the Eastwood neighborhood of Houston is nearly 85 years, so you can expect some settling and shifting on its foundation . But even brand new homes can have walls that are out of whack .
This beautiful pattern is by Cole & Son and is called Hummingbirds – it’s very popular and has been around more than 100 years … that’s older than the house!

Odd Streak Shows Through Non-Woven Wallpaper

December 17, 2022

Look to the right of my pencils. You can just make out this odd curved line through several feet of this wallpaper . Read my post above for more information about this.
The streak doesn’t really hit you in the face. But if you were standing back from the wall , I believe this subtle break in the pattern would catch your eye.
Manufacturer is Designer Wallpapers . It’s a non-woven / paste the wall material .
This strip of wallpaper was to have gone on this wall to the left. I believe the streak would have been noticeable ; a sloping vertical line against the horizontal texture and the lantern motifs . I discarded it.

Soft and Sweet Pattern for Accent Wall in Baby Girl’s Nursery

November 24, 2022
The crib will go on this wall. Originally it was textured grey paint , as you see on either side .
Here is the wall after I’ve skim-floated / skim-coated it, sanded smooth , and primed with a wallpaper primer called Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime . I have them put a little blue tint in it, so I can see where I’ve rolled it on.
This wallpaper comes in one continuous roll ordered by the yard , as you see on my table , as opposed to double roll bolts as most brands are packaged.
This cute pattern is called Thatcher . It looks like a simple repetitive pattern , but it was actually fairly complicated . Not all those starburst motifs , and especially not the fan shaped lines around them, are the same.
Looks hand painted with a paintbrush .
The paper has a clay coated surface , which give it a beautiful matt finish.
It’s lovely stuff to work with – seams melt away like butter , and trim lines are spot-on. (Many companies’ are not.)
This brand’s papers come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand.
You use a straightedge and single edge razor blade , and follow the manufacturer’s trim guide lines , to remove the selvedge. Today trimming this one bolt to do one wall took a full hour.
The brand is Pepper Home .
The home is in the Woodland Heights area of Houston .
installer

Different Rolls = Different Pattern Match

November 17, 2022
It’s important that all your wallpaper rolls have the same run number , also called batch or dye lot . This means that they were printed at the same time with the same ink . Paper printed later with another batch of ink may be every so slightly different in color / shade . Looks bad on the wall.
The same thing can happen with trimming at the factory. Different runs can be trimmed differently from each other.
With this paper that I hung in a dining room last week (see previous post), the labels on all the rolls / bolts listed the same run number . But there was one bolt that was wrapped in not one, but two plastic wrappers. This raised an alarm in my head, because this indicates that it may have been a roll sent back to the factory, for whatever reason, and then repackaged. When this happens, you cannot be absolutely sure that the run number is actually that which is printed on the label. Somebody at the factory could have just grabbed a handy label and stuck it inside the wrapper.
I tried not to use this double-wrapped bolt of wallpaper. But on the last section of wall, I got to a point where I just needed to use it, for just two 6′ strips. I was pleased that the color of both the background and the motifs matched perfectly.
But not happy with this pattern mis-match.
It was easy to see that the factory trimmers had been placed about 1/8″ to one side, from where they had been placed when trimming the previous rolls.
It’s a busy pattern, and, from a distance, this undercut wasn’t all that noticeable.
But on the other side, there was repetition of the motif , and this will really catch your eye.
Happily, this only affected one seam, and since it was a very busy pattern, from just a few feet away you couldn’t notice it. Still, it bothered me.
So I pulled this strip on the left off the wall, laid it on my table, and used my straightedge and razor blade to trim off that repetitive leaf tip – about 1/8″ from the right edge of the strip.
The second strip, since it came off the same roll and had been trimmed the same, matched perfectly . This was also my last strip, so no more drama with mis-matched designs at the seams .
What the overall pattern looks like.
The pattern is by Rifle Paper , which has been finding its way into a lot of homes lately. This brand is usually a good quality non-woven material , and can be hung by pasting the paper or by paste the wall . It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, and with minimal damage to the wall , when you’re ready to redecorate . Very cute , cheerful patterns , and good price-point .
Note that the run number is printed on the label.
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Meg Braff Bad Printing Job

November 15, 2022
The homeowner very much loves this simple, tone-on-tone shore bird pattern for her dining room – just the top , above the chair rail / wainscoting. Here I’m plotting where to best situate the pattern on the wall , between the chair rail and ceiling , while keeping the most important pattern elements and motifs intact . (no cutting off birds’ heads at the ceiling , nor at the wainscoting ) I’m also checking the pattern match .
It quickly became evident that the pattern match, as laid out by the factory, was incorrect . Match it at the bottom (by my thumb ), but as you move up , the pattern goes a little out of whack . This is actually not all that bad , and is considered acceptable – the industry standard allows for up to 1/8″ – 3/8″ mis-match .
Hand-trim screen-print materials such as this are particularly notable for pattern mis-matches .
For the record, they’re also known for curling edges , puckering , waffling , and other issues that make them difficult to hang , as well as questionability as to how long they’ll perform on your wall before wanting to resort to that curling at the seams .
More pattern mis-matching .
But the situation got worse . These high-end screen prints often come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand , with a straightedge (the blue metal thing ), a razor blade – and a steady hand.
If the trim guide marks printed on the material by the company are ” off ,” then you’re supposed to ” trim to the pattern .” This means that you find the design element on the left edge of the paper and then find the corresponding element on the right side, and place your straightedge so that your trim cuts will result in the two edges matching up perfectly. (Or at least within that 1/8″ -3/8″)
At this point, the white lines in the design – let’s call them ‘grapes’ – are abutting my blue straightedge , and should meet up perfectly with the corresponding white lines on the grapes on the opposite side of the subsequent strip of wallpaper.
But, unfortunately, with this material, that didn’t work. If I lined my straightedge up with the pattern design elements , as in the photo above this one, by the time I moved down a few feet , as you can see in this photo , the pattern begins moving away from the straightedge . The white grape outlines do not butt up against my straightedge.
The likely reason is that this material has been printed on the bias . That means that the artisan at the factory got his screens out of whompus , for lack of a better term.
” Trim to the pattern .” OK. So here I’m placing my straightedge at 1/8″ away from the ” hook ” in this design .
Still the same distance from the “hook.” But the white lines are starting to move away from the straightedge.
Here they’ve moved farther off. With this design, from a distance , you could maybe live with the white lines not meeting up perfectly.
But what you couldn’t find acceptable is that the tan area between these white elements would be growing wider diagonally as you move both up and down the wall. Look at the photo. You can see the tan area growing larger .
But it gets worse as it spreads farther … As that tan section grows wider like a “V” or a wedge as you move up or down the wall, it additionally pushes the design motifs at the top of the ceiling or at top of the wainscoting either up or down along the horizontal lines of the ceiling and wainscoting .
So not only do you get a widening tan line between each seam , you also get the birds’ heads moving up or down from where they’re supposed to be positioned below the ceiling or above the wainscoting .
I spent an hour and a half trying different placements and trimming methods . I knew the client loved this pattern and that she was willing to accept reasonable flaws in the pattern match and positioning.
But even given that, I wanted her to have a good looking dining room – not one with uneven spacing between strips, or grossly irregular positioning along the horizontal lines in the room.
I even consulted with several (five!) “high-end” installer buddies of mine. No one had a ” tip ” for making an improperly printed design fall correctly on the wall. In fact, all five of them said it couldn’t be done.
I determined that this material was unhangable.
As mentioned, I tried to find an installer buddy who could make this work and get this client’s dining room done in time for Thanksgiving dinner. But no one wanted to take it on.
I don’t know if the manufacturer will replace the paper or refund the $ spend. Manufacturers are usually keen on saying that “it’s the installer’s fault .” I can say that I’ve had similar issues with Meg Braff papers in the past.
The homeowner really loves this pattern. It’s possible – but not assured – that purchasing the same design but in a different run will yield a better factory printing job.
Just a note that printing defects , curling seams , wrinkling / quilting , and more, are somewhat common with hand-screened wallpapers . And here’s another reason why I’m happiest when clients stick with middle-of-the-road, or slightly upper priced , wallpaper options . Email me and request my Info Pack (or see the link on the right) for more information and brand name recommendations.
Sad to bow out and leave this client with an unpapered room, and no viable solution or direction . But better that than to take on something that I can’t assure will look good. I hope she tells me what she ends up doing and how all this turns out.

Stabilizing Section Over Door

November 8, 2022
I wanted to position this pattern so that the stripe ran right up along the right side of the door frame. That would be more visually pleasing than having half-sections of those angular motifs.
The stripe did run along the outer edge of the wallpaper strip, so I could have easily butted the edge along the door molding.
But that would have put a vertical seam running right up over the corner of the door. My experience has shown that this area gets a lot of stress, especially in the case of shifting foundations and walls. So I really avoid letting a seam fall there.
My solution was to take a strip and move the seam over – easy to do with this striped pattern.
We had very little paper for this job, so before cutting anything I made sure that reducing the width of this strip by one section of diagonal motifs would still allow me to reach the corner on the far right (not shown).
So I measured down a little more than the height of wall above the the door and kept that intact and full-width. The rest of the length of that strip I cut along the strip in the design, all the way down to the floor.
Here that strip is in place. Leaving the top portion a little long ensured that I had enough to cover this area, and then all I did was trim off the extra 1″ or so, just as you normally would trim around a door frame.
The best part is that we now have the paper reaching across that “danger zone” above the top right corner of the door, with no seam to split open or gap should the wall shift.
Here’s a close-up of the irregular strip as it falls alongside the door molding.
Here’s the left corner of that door. I did some tricks to get that strip straight along the edge of the door frame, too. No pics, but, in a nutshell, I cut vertically along the lines in the design over the door, to cut the sections apart. Then I overlapped the sections about 1/4″, with the vertical stripe disguising the overlap. This made each section of diagonal motifs narrower. Once I had narrowed the whole area by removing about an inch, I had pulled the full-height strip on the left over to the right far enough that the tan line lined up along the door frame, and above the door it butted up with the left edge of the last section of diagonal motifs.
Note that this is a very easy pattern to play tricks with, because, although there is a pattern match, it really doesn’t matter much if you ignore it. Also, the lines are not perfectly straight, but a bit squiggly, and that makes it much more forgiving.
In fact, because we were really short on paper, the only way to get the room done was to mis-match the design in most places. The homeowner was OK with that. In fact, she (and he) were delighted with how the room turned out.
This very popular pattern is called Feather and is by Serena & Lily . Just about everything they make, I love hanging. (not so fond of their non-woven / paste-the-wall option) This comes in many colors, and you can purchase directly from them on-line.
wallpaper installer houston

Narrower-ing A Strip For Better Seam Placement

October 11, 2022
Here I am moving from right to left across this wall, fixin’ to put wallpaper over, around, and then under this window .
The distance from the existing strip to the corner is 20.” The width of the wallpaper is 18.” This means that my next wallpaper strip is going to fall 2″ short of reaching that wall to the left. So another strip will be needed to cover that last 2.” That’s two full length, 9′ long strips to cover that small bit of wall space. And there will be a seam down the middle.
I’d like to use less paper and have less waste. And I sure would like to avoid having a seam down the middle. Both because installing it is a PITA and also because it would look better and be more stable without the seam.
If I could just make that next strip over the window narrower, it would pull the full-length strip a bit to the right, eliminating the second strip and the seam.
Each 18″ wide strip has two stripes of flowers running down it. There’s a little gap between these stripes, so it’s possible to split the strip in half vertically between the rows of flowers. Then I’ll have a 9″ wide strip filling the gap over the window, instead of an 18″ wide strip.
So here I’m using a straightedge and razor blade to split the strip. (Normally I do this on my table with my 76″ straightedge , but today I’m working on the floor and with different tools .)
Here is the piece viewed from the front. The pink bit of flower on the right side is going to match up with the corresponding flower on the existing strip over the window . I made sure that the left edge of this 9″ wide strip has no flowers or motifs crossing over the left edge. That way there is no pattern to match across the seam, so I can choose any piece I want for the final strip that will go in between the window and the corner.
Here it is in place. Now I have only 11″ of width to cover with wallpaper , and no seam down the middle .
Same procedure for under the window. Except I’m not trimming this piece to 9.” I’m leaving it about 2″ wider. One reason is because that full-height strip coming down between the window and the corner is likely to twist or stretch a bit, and thus won’t line up absolutely perfectly with the strip under the window. Having this strip under the window be wider will allow the strip coming down the side of the window, when it gets down to under the window, it will overlap the strip under the window by about 2.” So I’m going to double cut / splice these two pieces together.
I’m also not adhering this piece to the wall yet, because I don’t want the paste to start drying, as I will need wet paste and paper that is easy to pull off the wall, in order to do the double cut.
OK, so here we are over the window, getting ready to put in our long 11″ wide strip down alongside the window. Actually, I’m cutting this piece 12″ wide, to allow for trimming along that left edge in the corner. This will also accommodate if the paper twists or shifts over that 9′ drop from ceiling to floor.
I chose a flower to put at the top of the wall that is different from what’s on the existing strip, so there won’t be repetitive motifs. But the right edge of this strip of paper has a design part that is meant to match up with the corresponding flower on the left edge of the previous strip.
But we don’t have that corresponding flower, because I cut that strip down from 18″ wide to 9″ and thus lost the left edge of the paper, along with the corresponding flower.
I don’t want this half-motif to be hanging in the middle of nowhere. Even 9′ up above the window, it might catch your eye.
No problem. I took my straightedge and razor blade and trimmed off 1/2″, which got rid of that design element.
Note that I did this before I trimmed this long strip to 12.” If I had trimmed it off before, then this strip would have ended up 11.5″ wide instead of 12″ and might not have fit the space since wallpaper can twist and shift during that 9′ drop.
Sorry, no photo of that strip butting up to the piece over the window and then dropping down the space between the window and the corner.
So that strip is in place now, and here we are under the window, with that 9″ wide gap to fill.
So I take the strip I had set aside for under the window and position it next to the strip on the right. Remember that I cut this middle strip about 2″ wider, so it overlaps the strip on the left. I need this overlap to do the double cut / splice.
When splicing on the wall, it’s important not to let your blade score into the wall. If the wall surface becomes compromised, the torque created when the paste dries and the wallpaper shrinks a bit can tug at the wall and cause layers of paint or etc. to pull away from the wall, resulting in an open seam.
So I’m padding behind where my cut will be made with this strip of flexible Lexion plastic. It’s thin enough to not make much of a bump under the paper, but thick enough that you can’t cut through it with a razor blade.
If you’re interested in this cool stuff, email me and I’ll hook you up with the guy who sells it. wallpaperlady@att.net
There it is on the wall.
Now I put the two layers of paper over it . Note that this is a paste-the-wall wallcovering, so there is no paste on the strip on the right, so nothing to stain the paper below it. If this were a regular paste-the-paper material, you can use thin plastic strips (like painter’s plastic) to cover up that paste.
Trim guide in place, and I’m getting ready to make the cut with a new single edge razor blade. You have to press hard enough to get through both layers of paper in the first try, but not so hard as to cut into the wall.
I’ve plotted where my splice will go, to not cut through any flower motifs, and to be sure to cut off that little bit of flower you can see shadowing through from the wallpaper piece underneath – just to the left of the large flower.
Once the cut is done, I remove the excess paper on the left.
Then reach underneath and remove the excess paper from the bottom strip.
Another shot of pulling out that excess bottom paper. Next I removed the Lexion strip. I set those in a bucket of water to keep the paste wet until I can wash in the sink.
Bringing the two strips to meet up and then smoothing into place. No paste got on the surface, so no need to wipe the seam.
A double cut / splice makes the absolutely most perfect and invisible seam, because both pieces have been cut together and butt perfectly.
Here it is finished. Technically, due to slicing the strips in half vertically, the floral strip on the far left is about 1/2″ further away from the strip on the right than it “should” be. But – eh – who the heck is going to notice that?!
What’s important is that no flower motifs got cut in half, no identical flowers ended up next to each other, here’s no seam down the middle of that space, and only one 9′ high strip of wallpaper was required (instead of two).
Done. Oh my gosh – now I’ve got to do the same thing on the opposite side of the wall!!
The pattern is called Sweet Pea and is by Serena & Lily .
This went in a nursery in a home in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

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.