Posts Tagged ‘overlap’

Spoonflower – Overlapping Seams

April 5, 2020


Re my previous post … this manufacturer, Spoonflower, specs that the seams on its wallpaper should be overlapped – by as much as 3/4″.

On a busy pattern, you might not notice this. But when there is lot of blank space (white area), and when light is coming at an angle (see photo), you’re might notice it.

If you hunt, at every seam, you can spot a ridge the height of the wall, that’s about 3/4″ wide. To me, it’s not much of a big deal. Once yo uget used to it, you don’t even notice. In fact, I have authentic 1930’s and 1940’s wallpaper in two rooms of my home – with overlapped seams – and it doesn’t bother me in the least.

Truthfully, overlapping seams actually has many advantages. For one thing, when wallpaper gets wet with paste, it absorbs moisture and expands a little. Then when it dries, it can shrink a little. This is how you end up with tiny gaps at seams.

Second, overlapping the seams can reduce stress on the wall surface, and prevent the layers within from delaminiating, which can cause popped seams. (Do a Search here on “delaminate” for more info and pictures.

Bibliotheque Install Details, Pt I – Hand Trimming, Overlapping

March 18, 2020

Like many of the higher-end brands, this Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper had to have its selvedge edge trimmed off by hand. Unfortunately, they did not provide trim guide marks. Double unfortunately, I tried using the pattern as a guide, but, for a lot of reasons, this was a big fail – the edges looked like they had been trimmed with a hair curling iron. 😦

How, then, was I going to get good seams?

I was preparing to double cut (splice). But for many reasons, this was not presenting as a good option.

Then I got the idea to overlap. This turned out to be the perfect solution!

The edges of the “bookshelves” were not straight, so, instead of using my straightedge as a trim guide, I grabbed a new razor blade and free-handed my cuts along the design. (see top photo)

Then, after measuring, pasting, and booking my strips, I positioned them on the wall by overlapping one “shelf support” on top of the previous one. The second photo shows one strip being placed thusly.

Overlapping like this does leave a ridge under the wallpaper. But it is not very noticeable, especially since my design motifs were perfectly aligned.

What’s even cooler is that this overlap added a bit of 3-D to the room, which is what you would have if you had real wood and books in there.

Another advantage is that I could tweak the spacing if needed, to plumb up a strip that might have started going crooked.

Good Catch After a Mistake

November 19, 2019

Whoops! Somebody (me 😦 ) cut a wallpaper strip to 6’24” instead of 6’34”.

This William Morris wallpaper is expensive, and I didn’t want to just throw away the too-short piece. So I figured a way to use scraps to save it.

At the bottom of the too-short strip, I trimmed horizontally along an element of the design. From the scrap pile, I found a piece with a corresponding pattern, made sure it was the right length to reach the baseboard, and then trimmed the top horizontally to match up with the design on the piece already on the wall.

The reason I trimmed along the swoopy line of the design is that I wanted to eliminate a straight horizontal ridge showing under the two strips once they were overlapped on the wall. The eye might notice a wide, non-conforming, horizontal ridge, but it won’t notice a narrow overlap that follows the contours of the pattern.

I put the short strip in place, and the pattern matched perfectly.

But there was a slight sheen from above, glinting off of the cut edge of the wallpaper in just a few spots. You can just barely see this in the second-to-last photo.

So I pulled the two strips of wallpaper apart and put them back together, but reversed the sequence, overlapping the top strip onto the lower strip. Now there was no cut edge for light to catch or bounce off of, and now the overlap / ridge is completely invisible.

Note that the surface of this wallpaper was a vinyl (plastic) material. Wallpaper paste won’t stick to plastic very well (it’s too slick). There is a special adhesive called VOV – for Vinyl Over Vinyl – formulated to make this bond. But I don’t always trust it.

So I often use clear caulk, which I call Super Glue for Wallpaper. Under the right conditions, it’s a wonderful solution.

Note: There is a technique called a double-cut, which is a method of splicing two strips of wallpaper together. A double-cut eliminates the possibly-visible ridge that you get when you overlap strips of wallpaper. For various reasons too complicated to get into here, in this case, and especially down low and behind the toilet, I preferred to use the overlap-and-super-glue technique.

Jungle Paneled Installation, Italian Product, for a Nursery

June 22, 2019


The top photo shows a sample panel of the wallpaper taped to the wall of the nursery. You can see the sharply sloping ceiling line to the right.

The mother-to-be fell in love with the jungle theme and the colors of this paper. She bought it on-line from an Italian company. Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls, this product came in sets of panels, each of which was 27″ wide x 39″ long. In the second photo, you see the first three tiered along the left, and the next two strips positioned to the right. Other panels will be filled in above and below, and to the right.

Precious little information was available on how to install this product … and what there was came in Italienglish, which was little help. There was a brief on-line video, plus you could read the experiences of previous DIY clients in the customer reviews section. In such cases, you have to use the scant available information, along with your own experience, to decern an install method.

Turns out, this is similar to the old-school paper murals that come in panels and call for powdered paste. Except this company did not include paste (as most do), nor were the panels meant to be overlapped.

Luckily, I have sources for wheat, cellulose, potato starch, and other powdered wallpaper adhesives. These are mixed up on-site, are less aggressive as far as stickiness goes, and are more wet than the pre-mixed pastes used for most installations today.

More wetness, along with the particular type of paper these murals are printed on, means that the paper will absorb more moisture and can expand substantially. This is why most of these types of murals are designed to be overlapped at the seams. The seams of this product, however, were meant to be butted … which means that when that paper dries, it could shrink, and that could result in gaps at the seams.

Because the mural came in panels instead of continuous strips, the edges of the strips could not be lined up exactly perfectly, neither vertically nor horizontally. And this was exacerbated because each panel absorbed paste and expanded differently from the others, so there could be a difference in width or height between panels of as much as 1/8″.

This meant that there were some pattern mis-matches between strips. It also resulted in some seams overlapping. I left before the paper was completely dry, but I imagine there are areas where the some seams gap, too.

But I tend to overthink things, and fret about minute details that most people never see. The bottom line is, the accent wall looks fantastic, and will set a theme for the new baby’s room.

Note that this paper gets really wet when it’s pasted, and so you see a bit of blotchiness in the photos. This will disappear and the paper will be much lighter and brighter when it’s all good and dry.

The product is also not really technically a “mural.” But it comes in panels like many murals do, so I’m using that term for simplicity’s sake.

Besides the special paste, because this product was printed on a rather flimsy paper, I used a softer brush to apply the paste (as opposed to a roller), and I used a soft, long-bristled smoothing brush.
The video showed the guy using his hands to attempt to smooth the paper into place. If you looked closely, his finished wall had a lot of bubbles and wrinkles. My long soft smoothing brush was much more appropriate.

Tricky Twisting To Make Wonky Walls Look Straight

May 30, 2019


The townhouse where I worked today (Timber Grove area of Houston) had walls that were more like trapezoids than rectangles. Trapezoidal walls make wallpaper run off-kilter. With this rigid geometric print, that meant that the pattern would either mis-match badly in the corners, or start tracking (going downhill) badly along the ceiling line.

So I did this little trick, to keep the pattern straight and nicely matched in the corners. You’re looking at the strips laid out on my table; sorry, no shots of the paper up on the wall. But the pics will give an idea of the process. And it turned out perfect.

I split the strip of wallpaper in two vertically, using a straightedge and a fresh razor blade to follow along the pattern. When applying the paper to the wall, I was able to slightly overlap the left side of the second strip on top of the previous strip, with less overlap at the top and more at the bottom. This enabled me to keep the same design element in the corner to the right (not shown), all the way from the ceiling to the floor. When the next strip went up, the design matched perfectly.

Since the width of the overlap wasn’t more than 3/8″, the black lines of the design disguised any ridges that might be created by the overlap.

Overlapping like this caused some of the vertical lines to be closer to each other than they were supposed to be. See second photo. But the eye notices this much less than if the pattern were very broken up in the corners, which would effect both the horizontal and vertical elements.

Shrinking Flowers to Get a Good Kill Point

April 5, 2019


As you hang wallpaper around a room, the pattern in the last corner will end in a mis-match, because the motifs on that last strip won’t match with those on the first strip. So you try to hide that kill point in an inconspicuous place, such as behind a door.

But this large dining room didn’t have any hidden corners. So we were likely to have a 6′ long corner of flowers that didn’t match one another.

But over the entry arch was an area only one foot high. Since this was very short compared to the other full-length walls, and since it was an area that was not going to be viewed much, it was a better place to put this kill point.

So I hung paper on the walls on the left side of the arch, then on the right side, and prepared to have strips meet at the center over the arch. When the strips met there was going to be a flower motif that repeated itself before the normal pattern repeat rhythm. In other words, there were going to be two flowers too close to each other, with one of them being chopped off abruptly at about 1/3.

After pondering different solutions, I figured that if each flower were a bit narrower, that 1/3 bit of excess could be eliminated.

I tested two different methods of “shrinking” the flowers. First, I tried cutting through the flowers vertically, then overlapping a little. This made the flower motifs narrower. See third and fourth photos.

In the second method, I cut around the right outside edge of the flower motifs, and again overlapped. This reduced the spacing between flowers. It did crowd the motifs next to the others a bit more than I liked. And the cut, being made in an unprinted area of the wallpaper, was a bit more noticeable than that made in the printed area in the first option.

I decided on the first option. Cutting through the middle of the flowers resulted in a less visible pattern mis-match, left the spacing between motifs as the artist designed it, and left less of a noticeable ridge at the point of the overlap.

In the second photo, you can barely see that some of the flowers are narrower than others. This looks a whole heck of a lot better than having a flower-and-a-half-flower next to each other over the arch.

Double-cutting (splicing) these areas would have resulted in perfectly flat joins. However, I chose to overlap instead, because this area was up so high and was only about 30″ wide, with no side lighting, that no one is going to notice any ridges from the overlapped areas. More important, I don’t like double-cutting because it almost always scores the wall, and once the paper dries and shrinks and pulls taught, that can lead to the paper pulling the layers of wall apart, leaving gaps that cannot be glued back down. Overlapping won’t allow the wall to delaminate, and it results in a much stronger join.

This pattern is called “Indian Flower,” and is by Jasper Wallcoverings.

Animal Blocks in a Baby’s Room

December 25, 2018


A new baby will soon be welcomed into the home of this young couple in the Houston Heights neighborhood called Norhill (or Woodland Heights). Mom wanted something gender-neutral, and found this colorful and adorable shapes-and-animals-in-blocks print on line at Lulie Wallace.

This went on just one accent wall of the room, but it is tame enough that it would work OK if put on all four walls.

I skim-floated the walls first, to smooth out the light texture on them, then followed with a primer coat of Gardz.

This wallpaper is a bit atypical, because it is pre-pasted, which means it comes with a thin layer of paste on the back that you activate with water (instead of having to roll paste on the back of every strip). I do like the pre-pasted papers. I do roll a light coat of paste on the wall, to augment the manufacturer’s pre-paste.

Another dissimilarity is that the paper comes packaged in individual strips, rather than traditional rolls with several strips rolled up together.

Even more unusual is that the strips were meant to be overlapped, instead of butted together. Overlapping the seams creates a vertical ridge under the paper which is somewhat visible. You also have to have an adhesive that will stick to the acrylic coating on top of the paper.

There are some good aspects to overlapping seams. For one, this makes for a very strong bond. For another, it takes stress of drying and shrinking paper off the seam and distributes it across that 3/4″ of overlapped area. In this 80-year-old house, with it’s many layers of paint with a history of not sticking to each other, this is important, because it greatly reduces the chances of the tension on the seams causing the paint layers to come apart, which would cause gapping at the seams. See previous post.

Another positive feature about overlapping the seams, and how that worked with this particular pattern, is that, in this 1930 home, with its unlevel ceiling and floor and its greatly-out-of-plumb walls, I was able to manipulate the strips of wallpaper so that they looked straight and plumb – even though they were actually hung quite off-plumb.

This wallpaper pattern is by Lulie Wallace, and was bought on line.

Wonky Walls = Mis-Matched Corners

April 29, 2018


When wallpaper turns an inside corner, you split the strip vertically and place the first half of the strip so that just a teeny tad wraps around the corner, and then you overlap the remaining strip into the corner, using a level to plumb this strip. This keeps all your subsequent strips nice and plumb, and running straight at the ceiling and floor lines (assuming that these lines are truly level).

But when walls and corners aren’t plumb, wallpaper patterns will get distorted. The rule of thumb is to match the pattern at eye level, and then let it fall as it will above and below that point.

This pattern is busy enough that the mis-match is not all that noticeable.

Narrowing a Strip of Paper Over a Door

April 1, 2018


Here I am working my way along the wall from right to left, and am hanging short wallpaper strips over the door. The strip above the door is 1/4″ wider than the door, so it would continue down the left side of the door – but only about a 1/4″ width of it. It would me a major pain to deal with a strip this narrow – try to keep it straight, try to keep it plumb – not to mention using a full 9′ length of paper just to get this 1/4″ strip….most of it would end up in the trash, a real waste of paper.

In addition, the ceiling is not-level, so the wallpaper design is starting to track off-kilter (a particular motif in the design is not staying at the top of the wall, but is moving downwards).

I wanted to avoid having a skinny 1/4″ strip down the left side of the door, and I wanted to pull the design back up to the top of the wall. My plan was to position a new strip of paper along the left edge of the door molding, placing the design motif at the top of the wall. You can see how this is causing the short piece over the door to buckle, because of the 1/2″ excess paper.

The pattern is matched from this new strip to the short strip over the door. But, because of the un-level ceiling and the design tracking downward, the pattern on the short piece over the door does not match perfectly with the piece to the right of it.

I had a couple of options, but the solution I chose was to cut along one of the tree trunks vertically, slicing the short strip over the door in two. I then slid the right portion of this cut strip down, so the pattern matched the strip to its right. Then I smoothed both cut portions to the wall, overlapping that 1/4″ of excess.

Even though the paper is shimmery, the slight overlap is not noticeable, because it’s high overhead, and also because it follows the line of the tree trunk, which disguises it. See final photo.