Posts Tagged ‘paperhanger’

Innovative Kill Point – Between Moldings

August 4, 2017

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The kill point is where the last strip you hang meets up with the first strip you hung. This virtually always ends up in a mis-match of the pattern’s design. This is usually in a corner, and the paperhanger will try to place it in an inconspicuous location (such as behind a door).

But not all corners are hidden behind a door. In such cases, and depending on the design, the pattern mis-match will be noticeable, even eye-jarring.

Sometimes it’s possible to get creative and hide that kill point where it will be less visible. That’s what I was able to do today.

The first photo shows you the Chinoiserie pattern, so you get an idea of what it looks like. In this room, because all four corners were very visible, I wanted to keep the pattern intact in the corners. So I needed somewhere else to hide the kill point.

The room had a spot where the molding around the door came very close (6″) to the wall-hung linen cabinet. This was a good option to place the kill point, because it would be only 6″ wide, vs. my other option, which was a corner that was 5′ high. I’ll take a 6″ mis-match over a 5′ mis-match any day!

By manipulating the wallpaper pattern a little, it was easy to disguise the kill point and the mis-matched pattern. It’s there, in the second photo – but I’ll bet you will have a hard time spotting it.

Finally – A Toilet I Can Get My Hand Behind!

December 25, 2016

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Ideally, the homeowner would have a plumber remove the toilet before the wallpaper goes up. But removing and then replacing plumbing fixtures can be expensive, you have to coordinate the plumber with the paperhanger, and you have to live with a non-functioning toilet for a period of time. So most people just leave the toilet where it is.

Hanging wallpaper around toilets can be tough. Sometimes there’s barely enough room to slide the paper behind the tank, and then I’ll have to use a tool or yardstick to try to smooth the paper against the wall. And there are some toilets that are so close to the wall that it is impossible to get the paper behind, so it will have to be cut around and then tucked behind the tank.

Today I got lucky, because this toilet was far enough away from the wall that I could get my hand, arm, and smoothing brush behind the tank. That means that I can get the wallpaper stuck nice and tight to the wall behind.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Bungalow” and is by Thibaut Designs.

Soft Toned Map Mural for a New Baby’s Room

December 13, 2016
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These new parents-to-be chose not to know the gender of the baby ahead of time. Mom loves this cute wall mural map, and so she picked this neutral color for the baby’s nursery accent wall.

The mural was custom made to fit the wall. It came in four panels, each being 40″ wide. That’s a little wider than is comfortable for me to handle easily, but I came up with some tricks that made it manageable. It’s a somewhat heavy vinyl on a canvas type backing, and will be durable in a child’s room.

I was not 100% happy with the seams, as some were not cut straight and so there were a few “gaps and overlaps,” and there were areas where the seams did not lie as flat as I would have liked. But those are things that I notice, but most other people don’t. Once you stand a few feet back, all you see is the cute animals and the countries they come from.

I hung this in a newish home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Interestingly enough, a few days later, I visited a home where the new parents-to-be had chosen the exact same mural, but in a different color.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In both these cases, the homeowners measured the wall on their own and ordered the mural before calling a paperhanger. The result is that both custom made murals were too small. The homeowners didn’t realize that you need to add about 2″ on EACH SIDE of the mural, to allow for trimming at the ceiling and floor, and to accommodate for unplumb walls and unlevel floors and ceilings.

In the case of the mural pictured above, the husband had allowed a few inches on either side, and there was a wee bit of wiggle room on the height, so we ended up with about 3/4″ of gap at the bottom, between the mural and the baseboard. It’s so small that they will probably leave it alone.

In the other home, where the mural was made to the exact dimensions of the wall, there will probably be a wider gap at the bottom, and possibly on other sides, as well. They may need to get some decorative wood molding to fill in the gap.

Morale: Always call the paperhanger BEFORE your order your paper.

Hand-Trimming Wallpaper

October 4, 2016
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Two wallpapers I hung this week came untrimmed, with the unprinted selvedge edge still intact. This means that the paperhanger has to take a razor blade and a straightedge and trim off the selvedge, following trim marks from the manufacturer, or an element of the design.

It’s tedious and time-consuming, and you have to be mindful of what you are doing at all times, or risk getting a crooked cut, or a seam that won’t butt together properly.

Usually, it’s the higher-end papers that come untrimmed. Hmmm… you pay more for the paper, but the manufacturer puts in less work on his end. Hmmm.

Someone Had Fun Putting This Paper Up!

July 27, 2016
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I stripped this wallpaper off a powder room in River Oaks (Houston) today. It wasn’t the new homeowners’ taste, and I can pretty well understand why they wanted it gone, but, as a paperhanger, I had to admire the planning and plotting and math and workmanship that went into laying this out and putting it up.

Someone cut all those strips to the appropriate widths, perfectly centered both the striped and the toile patterns, and precisely mitered the corners. Some of the paper was overlayed and some was inlaid (double cut).

It was expertly hung and took a lot of patience and planning and precision. It was a treat for me to see this!

Pre Pasted Wallpapers

July 17, 2016
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Many of my paperhanger friends snicker at pre-pasted wallpapers, because they were originally developed to target the DIY crowd. But I love them*, and I’m not ashamed to say it!

They are much faster than papers that have to be pasted by hand, the paste is smooth and thin, and they slide around on the wall, offering optimum positionability. Here is have my water tray and towels laid out on the sidewalk outside a client’s home, and have already wetted my strip. It has been booked and rolled and left to set for a few minutes, to activate the paste and allow for expansion, and for excess water to run off.

I do roll a little extra paste on the wall, especially under the seams and along the ceiling and baseboards, to augment the manufacturer’s paste.

*Pre-pasted paper, that is. Most pre-pasted vinyl is …. crap.

Obtuse Angle Inside Corner

April 22, 2016
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Wallpapering around corners, either inside or outside, can be tricky. But when you toss into the mix a corner that is not the typical 90* angle, it gets a lot more tenuous.

On an inside corner (see photo), you don’t want to wrap the paper around the corner, because corners and framing and Sheetrock and contractors are never 100% plumb or accurate, and thus your strip of wallpaper will come out of the corner off-plumb or wrinkled or otherwise unmanageable, plus you can end up with sections that cling tightly to the corner, and others that pull free, leaving a bubble under the paper in the joint area.

To prevent this, you wrap a teeny bit of the paper around the corner, cut a new trip, and then overlap that new strip into the corner, plumb it up, and then work your way out from there. That looks good in 90* inside corners.

But with obtuse angled corners like this one (Photo #1 (smoothed wall with clear Gardz primer applied), the paper may lie flat and tight to the wall, but that cut and overlapped strip will be fairly visible. Other things can be done to get rid of the overlap by eliminating the need to cut the strip, and to minimize any wrinkling at the outer edges.

To encourage adhesion in the corner, I “Velcro’ed” the area by applying a thin layer of paste, and then letting it dry to a barely tacky, but potent, state.

The material is a scrim (woven fabric) backed, textured solid vinyl wallcovering. It is thick, and only a little bit pliable. Here in picture #2, I worked the paper into the corner, and used my Euni Tool (metal plate) and other tools to really push it hard into the corner. A heat gun softens the plastic just enough to help it remember where the wall is.

Even though the vinyl is clinging tightly to the corner, coming out of the corner and moving to the right, you cannot be sure that the right edge of the strip of wallpaper will be hanging either straight or plumb. So it’s risky to try to butt a new strip of wallpaper to this edge.

A good alternative is to make a double-cut, which is a paperhanger’s term for a splice. That is, you overlap the papers and cut through both layers, so you can splice them together.

This pattern was the perfect candidate, because there was no pattern to keep aligned and matched up. So the design was not a concern… but logistics and surface stability were.

Using a razor blade to slice through two layers of textured vinyl wallpaper takes a lot of pressure, and that can put deep cuts into the wall below. When the wallpaper paste dries, or even just with time and humidity and temperature fluctuations, the paper can shrink, and that puts torque (tension) on the wall, which can cause an unstable surface to pull away from whatever is beneath it. Bottom line, you could end up with wallpaper seams that come open, and pull paint or Sheetrock off, too.

So how do you double cut (splice) two strips of wallpaper to get a perfect seam, without damaging the wall underneath? The answer is to pad / protect the wall. Many people use scrap vinyl wallcovering. But I have some better stuff – Boggess strips. Named after a wallpaperhanging colleague of mine who invented them. You protect the surface of the wallpaper from paste with plastic tape or waxed paper, and then place these clear plastic strips under where you want to make a double cut. Your blade will slice through the two layers of wallpaper, but will not get through the Boggess strip. Voilà! Paper cut and spliced, and the wall in still intact.

Putting Paris On The Map

February 27, 2016
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This install worked out beautifully for both my client and myself. He had his wallpaper in-hand and was ready to have it put up, and I had had some schedule changes and had an open day. I was happy to be able to give him a three-day turn-around.

The mural is by photowall.com. The homeowners travel to Paris a lot, and one of them loves to cook, and the bright colors and map of the city called to him. The mural in the breakfast nook will inspire him while he cooks in the adjoining kitchen.

The home is in Rice Military (central Houston), and the couple is outfitting the home step-by-step, over time, with their own ideas (sans interior decorator). They are doing a fine job. The colors of this Paris map mural coordinate perfectly with the fabrics and artwork in the adjoining living room. And they are purchasing a banquette for the eating area that will be covered with a velour fabric in a dark teal that will perfectly compliment the greens and blues in the mural.

The PhotoWall company displayed the Paris map design on their website, but then was able to custom-adjust it to fit the homeowners’ wall. When doing this, it is important to add 2″ or so to each side of the mural, meaning, a total of 4″ additional height and width, beyond the actual dimensions of the wall.

Needless to say, it’s best to have the paperhanger figure the dimensions and the bleed area of the pattern to be printed, before ordering the mural. In this case, the width was good, allowing an additional 3″ of “ease” (1 1/2″ on either side of the wall). But the height allowed only 1″ of extra paper to be distributed between both top and bottom (a mere 1/2″ at top and 1/2″ at bottom) – which became much more tenuous because the south half of the ceiling line was off-level by 1/4″ over 6′ – which meant that some of Paris could be chopped off, or that some of the tan unprinted area would be left exposed on the wall.

I know, it sounds complicated. Ordering to allow a few extra inches on each side of the mural would have eliminated all this.

But the story has a happy ending, because I was able to plot the layout and position the paper so that none of the pattern was lost at the top or added to at the bottom of the wall.

This is a paste-the-wall product, which is why you see my paste brush and roller hanging on my ladder – so I can grab them easily while applying paste to the wall.

The mural fills the wall with an explosion of color that pulls in colors from adjacent rooms, the Paris theme has significance to both of the homeowners, the price tag was reasonable, and they have a kitchen and dining area that are personalized and meaningful.

Zig Zagging Across the Wall

November 25, 2015
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It’s been a month of “lines” type patterns, for me and for a number of paperhanger buddies around the country. The one I hung today on a headboard wall in an updated master bedroom in West University (Houston) is by Serena & Lily and is called “Etch.” It’s easy to see why!

Because the paper is dark, almost black, and because wallpaper often shrinks when it dries, leaving hair’s-breadth gaps at the seams that can reveal the white wall beneath it, I plotted where the seams would fall and then striped black paint under them, to prevent white wall from peeping out. The manufacturer helped, too, as you see in the fourth photo, where they have used a dark stock to print on, because a white backing might have shown at the seams.

Working your way around windows is always tricky with wallpaper, because the wet / pasted material stretches and expands and warps and twists, and that means that the piece you bring around and along side and finally down under the window might not butt up perfectly with the piece already under the window, and the pattern match might be off, too.

And that’s exactly what happened here… Although the wallpaper worked around the window on the right with no problems, on the window to the left (not shown), the wallpaper had twisted enough that it didn’t want to butt up against the strip under the window, the pattern didn’t match, and there was a large diagonal wrinkle running from the corner of the window to the left edge of the wallpaper. I don’t have a photo of it, but it was there.

This was an easy pattern to deal with that, though. What I did was, I cut along the bottom edge of one part of the pattern (see photo), pulled that strip up and smoothed out any wrinkles on the wall, then replaced it onto the wall, allowing it to overlap the bottom segment of that strip that was still clinging to the wall (see photo). Voilà! There is no wrinkle or twisted paper on the wall, everything is nice and flat and tight, and you absolutely cannot detect that the pattern is a wee bit off.

And, last photo, the entire day’s trash, all rolled up into one neat package, all ready for the recycling bin.

Sweet Song of Birds for a Baby’s Nursery

July 3, 2015
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The baby is coming home soon, and the nursery is just about ready. The three other walls have been painted a cheery peach color. But there’s still something missing … Oh, yes – WALLPAPER! Just look at how much personality and joy this pretty pattern adds to the room. Papering just one wall is economical, and won’t overwhelm the room with pattern.

This is a white-on-shimmery silver design, called “Birdsong” (#ER8134), and is by Waverly, which is made by York. Waverly was a big name in home décor 15 years ago, but has kind of fallen off the map. They were bought by York, as I understand, and are having a comeback. In fact, two of my paperhanger Facebook friends have hung this brand this same week. The white ink has a slight texture to it (raised ink), and the paper is prepasted. You don’t see much in prepasted goods these days, but I love the stuff – so much cleaner and faster to hang.

I have two more rooms to paper in this home in Timber Grove, near the Houston Heights.