Posts Tagged ‘panels’

World Map for a Worldly Little Boy

August 5, 2018


The five-year-old boy who has this bedroom in a newish house in the Heights neighborhood of Houston is “map crazy” – so says his mom. Interior designer Stacie Cokinos found this colorful map full of primary colors that kids relate to, and that will satisfy his wanderlust, too.

The mural came 12′ wide by a little more than 8′ tall, and came in four panels – two across the top, and two across the bottom. (see third photo) Since the wall was shorter than the map, we decided it was better to lose the excess paper from the bottom, which was mostly water; that saved the more interesting land and country portions for the more visible top section.

Those four panels turned out to be 6′ wide. But my wingspan is more like 3′. Yikes! How to handle these awkward panels? No problem – I ran home and grabbed my other ladder. By placing the two of them next to each other (see fourth photo), I was able to walk from one to the other, and could easily manipulate the 6′ wide material. It also helped that this product was a paste-the-wall installation.

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Wild Wallpaper In Frames That Will Be Hung On The Wall

July 31, 2018



Here’s some really cool, custom-made wallpaper that, expectedly, costs a ton. The homeowners wanted to accentuate two rooms (dining room, master bedroom) with these patterns, but, considering the investment, wanted to be able to take it with them, should they move.

After much deliberation and investigation of backings, weight, sturdiness, etc., it was decided to mount each mural on plywood, wrap each of those with a wooden frame, and then mount them on the walls with brackets that attach invisibly to the back.

The largest one, which already has its frame attached, and which you see in the top photo, measures about 7′ x 7′, and weights 80 pounds. Imagine getting that thing up two flights of stairs!

The top photo shows the large mural finished. It consists of two panels spliced in the middle. It was trimmed in place to fit inside the good frame you see around it.

The second photo shows the smaller mural being laid out. It will be applied to the board you seeing lying on the floor in the third photo. The plywood board has been sealed with KILZ, to prevent knotholes from bleeding through, sanded smooth, and then primed with a wallpaper-specific primer. I used Roman’s Pro 977 Ultra Prime.

These wallpaper panels are custom-made to fit the project’s dimensions, and have a few extra inches “bleed” area on each side to allow for trimming and adjusting for wonky walls. The bordering silver area will be trimmed off, as will an inch or so of the printed area on each side of the mural.

On the smaller, dark mural, someone forgot to add an extra inch for the top and bottom, so the mural was centered as perfectly as possible, but a little bit of the white plywood peeked out on both the top and bottom. Don’t worry – a black frame will be constructed to cover the edges of the plywood, and it will have a lip (rabbet) that will cover this teeny gap.

The last photo shows one page of the instruction sheets, which includes drawings from the manufacturer detailing the layout and dimensions of each mural. The large mural came in two panels, which had to be overlapped in the center, carefully matching the pattern, and then double cut, or spliced.

Double cutting involves overlapping the edges of the two strips of wallpaper, while carefully matching the pattern. Then you take a straight edge and a brand new, very sharp razor blade and cut through both layers of paper. This paper was very thick, so I had to press really hard to get through both layers in one sweep. You want to avoid making multiple cuts if possible.

To keep from scoring into the plywood below (and it’s even more important if you are cutting on a wall made of drywall and / or many layers of paint and primer), I put a strip of polystyrene plastic on the plywood surface to keep the razor blade from cutting into the bottom surface. Once the double cut is made, the excess wallpaper, as well as the polystyrene strip, are removed, and the two edges of wallpaper smoothed into place. This makes for a very perfect seam.

All this takes a lot of time. It would be really cumbersome in a larger or more complicated room. But protecting the subsurface is important, because, once the wallpaper starts drying, it shrinks a little and pulls taught, and if the surface below is not intact (due to a cut from a razor blade, or from something else like dust on the surface or layers of incompatible materials such as old oil based paint covered with latex paint), these layers can come apart (delaminate), and the wallpaper seams will pull apart. This is not the paper “coming loose,” and it cannot be “glued back.” It is actually layers of the wall delaminating.

Anyway, back to today’s project, and, sorry, a little out of sequential order, but all important information. These panels were to be hung on the walls, but had not been hung yet. This allowed me to do them flat on the floor, which I think was easier. The instructions said to paste the paper, but that was extremely difficult because they were much wider than my work table. I didn’t want to crease or damage the material. Most non-woven products can be hung by pasting the wall, so that’s what I opted to do. Except, in this instance, they were laid out on the floor. 🙂

The material was a thick non-woven on a mylar plastic, and was very thick and somewhat difficult to work with. In addition, the panels were much wider than normal wallpaper, and hard for me to manipulate. I was glad that the interior designer was hanging around and was game for helping me position these pieces.

As I said, the material was thick and stiff, and no matter how hard I pushed or what extreme tool I used (metal plate), it would not press tightly into the corners of the gold frame enough for me to get a satisfactory cut – meaning that there was a slight (1/16″ – 1/8″ gap between the material and the frame. No matter… The interior designer was easy going, and said she will add a small piece of molding to the inside of the gold frame, to cover any gap, as well as to prevent the thick material from curling up. On the smaller, dark mural, the black frame to be constructed will include a lip (rabbet) that will cover the open edge and help hold it down, as well as cover the outside edge of the plywood panel.

This gutsy wallpaper is made by Calico, a husband-and-wife team out of New York City that is just a few years old – not many people have this stuff – and even fewer have the balls to put it on their walls!

The interior designer for the project is Elizabeth Maciel, and the location is a newish home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.

Wallpaper on a Window Valance

June 12, 2018


I hung a beautiful grasscloth in the West U. living room of this empty-nester couple a month ago. They were putting the room back together, including hanging the curtains. This window valance had been covered with padded fabric which matched the drapes. Since the drapes are being changed, the valance no longer worked. The couple thought that the valance would look better covered in the same material as the walls.

So … I brought the valance home, along with some left over wallpaper scraps, and covered it.

The photo is deceptive – the thing is about 7′-8′ long. At first I thought I could take it to work with me and do it while I was waiting for primer to dry, for instance. But it’s way too big and loppy to haul into someone else’s home and, would, of course, take more time than anticipated.

So it sat in my garage for a couple of weeks, until I finally found a spare moment (three hours, actually) to pull out my tools, set up my table, get out the measuring tape, and slap some paste on that puppy.

The homeowner had removed the upholstery and the padding, and hammered the staples down as flat as possible. Then I sealed the wood with oil-based KILZ Original stain blocker, to prevent any wood sap from bleeding through the wallpaper. Since wallpaper paste won’t stick to most oil-based products I followed that with a coat of wallpaper primer (Ultra Prime, Pro 977 by Roman’s). On the driveway under the June Houston sun, that didn’t take long to dry. 🙂

Then some careful measuring to get panels of equal width, pasting, and applying the grasscloth to the wooden frame. I used a special “super glue for wallpaper” (clear silicone caulk 🙂 ) for the edges, to be sure the grasscloth would be able to grip on to the uneven and rough wooden surfaces.

I was pleased with the way it turned out. And I know the homeowners will be happy to get the valance up on the wall, their curtains up, and their room put back together and ready to enjoy.

Wild Color for Twin Baby Girls

April 6, 2018


No soft pink ribbons and polka-dots for these two baby girls… This mom wanted a room full of color! This is a mural, so there are no repeating design elements. It came in eight panels. But the wall was narrower than the eight panels, so the homeowner chose to eliminate the right and the left panels. The width of the remaining six panels worked out perfectly with the width of the wall.

The mom wanted this mural to “float” on the wall, so I did some measuring and line-drawing and plotted to move it in from each side and up from the floor by 6.” You can see my white wallpaper primer inside the area where the mural is to go. A 2″ wooden frame will be built around the outside of the mural. That will leave 4″ of painted wall around the whole thing, effectively letting it “float” on the wall. I plotted the height so the wooden frame would line up with the top of the doorway to the right.

In the third photo, I am using the red vertical beam from my laser level as a guild for trimming that right edge 6″ from the end of the wall.

This mural was bought through Anthropologie, and is made by York, in their Sure Strip line. It was prepasted, easy to hang, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

“Smoke” On A Floating Wall

January 13, 2017
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This wall in the dining room of a very contemporary new home in the Spring Branch area of Houston “floats” in the middle of the room. This breath of smoke floating across the wall adds a distinctly ethereal feel.

The interior designer on this job is Neal LeBouef, of L Design Group, who was expertly assisted by Anthony Stransky. I love working for these guys. And homeowners love their creations, which are crisp, sleek, modern, a bit edgy, yet still warm and comfortable.

The smoke mural was custom made to fit the wall, and came from Murals Your Way https://www.muralsyourway.com/ , a member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). Their murals can be printed on various materials, and I chose the vinyl on an Osnaburg backing.

Each of the three panels was about 42″ wide, and they were meant to be overlapped and then double-cut (spliced) at the seams. Great care was taken to not get paste on either the surface of the mural or on the ceiling, and to not score the wall while splicing.

I have a specially made 2 1/2″ wide plastic tape that keeps paste off surfaces, and another special 2″ wide polystyrene plastic strip that protects the wall from cuts from the razor blade, and a specially made non-slip straightedge used as a guide while trimming. All of these were invented and made by fellow members of the WIA (Steve Boggess and Eunice Bokstrom). Probably boring for the average blog-reader, but exciting stuff for us paperhangers. These things really helped make this job turn out perfect.

Plotting a Mural Before Hitting the Wall

September 1, 2016
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Most murals come in strips or panels, which can be either vertical (as shown here) or horizontal. Before hitting the back with paste and attempting to put the paper on the wall, it’s a really good idea to unroll all the panels an spread the mural out on the floor.

This will allow you to organize the panels into the sequence in which you want them to be hung. You will also need to check the dimensions of the mural as compared to those of the wall, and decide which, if any, of the design will have to be cut off and discarded. You’ll also be checking to see how (well) the pattern matches across the seams.

“Etched Arcadia” Mural in a Powder Room

July 22, 2016
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This young family lives near Rice University (Houston), on South Boulevard, a street revered for its huge Live Oak trees that meet and canopy over the street. The homeowner wanted her traditional style home to carry on the look of this historic neighborhood. She had a vision of bringing the beloved trees into her home, while maintaining the old-world feel.

She could not have found a better choice than this mural. It combines the feel of aged trees with the look of centuries-old etchings. Because it’s a mural, the pattern plays out as one large picture, with no repeating elements.

I have done murals like this on single walls, but this is the first time I’ve put one on all four walls of a room. I have to say, the homeowner had a great eye, and the finished room is stunning.

The first photo shows how many murals come; in panels. This one was packaged as one large bolt, and I had to cut the 8 panels apart, then lay them out and line them up to be sure the pattern matched and that the sequence was correct.

The mural was 9′ high by 12′ wide (pretty standard dimensions), and the room was wider than 12′, so two murals were needed. Originally, I thought that the right side of one mural would match up with the left side of the other mural, so that the two murals could be joined seamlessly – but that was not the case.

In addition, the homeowner favored the trees more than the sky, so, since the walls were 7 1/2′ high, I opted to move the pattern up, to cut off more sky but reveal more trees. A vanity that rose 32″ off the floor further complicated the pattern placement.

Without going into mathematical or geometrical details, I spent a lot – a LOT – of time plotting the room’s layout, so that we would see more trees and less sky, and to avoid a mis-matched seam where the two murals met, and to disguise the one mis-matched corner that could not be avoided.

The pattern was forgiving, the paper was lovely to work with, and the finished room looks fantastic. This was one of my favorite projects this year.

In addition, the homeowner didn’t like the A/C vent and the exhaust fan leaving big white blobs in the middle of the wall. So I covered these with scraps of wallpaper, too. This is more tricky than it sounds, because wallpaper doesn’t like to stick to plastic or metal (too slick), and especially not metal with air blowing past it, possibly carrying along condensation / humidity. So special adhesives are called for, and you have to have a back-up plan, in case the paper detaches over time.

Also, because murals don’t have repeating pattern motifs, there were no scraps of paper that I could use to cover these objects with a matching pattern. So I found scraps that had reasonably similar designs.

In the end, I could not get the paper to conform to all of the many curves on the exhaust fan cover, so I opted to leave the outer area as-is, and just covered the inner, flat area with paper. This doesn’t totally disguise the white cover, but it sure does minimize it.

This mural is by Sure-Strip, a York brand that I love working with, and is on a thin, non-woven material, which should – “should” – strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.