Posts Tagged ‘paste’

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.

Keep Paste Off Adjoining Wall

January 31, 2023
Here I’m moving right to left, fixin’ to have my last strip of wallpaper meet up with the first strip I hung (which you see on the left). Because the corners are never perfectly straight, and because wallpaper can stretch when it gets wet with paste , and for other reasons, it’s not possible to pre-trim the width of this last strip, because it won’t be the exact perfect width.
So you cut this strip 1/2″-1″ wider than the gap. That means that it’s going to wrap 1/2″ or so around that corner. So you’ll have to trim off the excess. In this way, you’ll be able to get a custom fit into that corner.
But, you’ll also get paste slopped onto that strip on the left. Some papers you can wipe the paste off easily. But others are more delicate and can be damaged or stained . Why take a chance?
Here is the strip that’s going to fill that gap. I’ve paste it . Next I’ve run a strip of thin blue plastic tape along the edge that will be overlapped onto the existing wallpaper in the corner. This will keep paste from coming in contact with the wall on the left. I also like to place this tape on the top of the strip, to protect the ceiling. Especially important when there is not crown molding and the paste will be bopping into the flat paint on the ceiling (difficult to wipe off).
You can do a Search here to see other posts where I have photos of the trimming taking place, and then removing the excess paper and the blue tape. Here you see the finished corner .
This blue tape is pretty useful. It’s also helpful when double-cutting ( splicing ). Another great feature of this blue tape is that it snaps apart quite easily, so you don’t need a scissors or blade to cut your pieces. It’s imported from Japan. (Those guys have a lot of cool wallpaper tools.)
It can be purchased here https://www.wallpapertoolstore.com/product/blue-cut-tape/
Some people use waxed paper cut into strips, or yellow caution tape, or painter’s plastic cut into strips. But nothing parallels the usefulness and quality of this blue cut tape .

Battling Curled Rolls

January 29, 2023
Wallpaper comes in tight rolls. Often, when you cut a strip off the roll, it wants to remain curled up, as you see here. Some types of non-woven material are really bad about this.
Even with weights on it, it’s hard to keep this stuff flat enough to get paste on the back. And when you do, it’ll often curl up again and get paste on the surface of the wallpaper .
So I’ll take the bolt of paper and carefully roll it backward , securing it with an elastic hairband from the dollar store. This was a several-day job, so I let the rolls sit over night. But often all you need is a few minutes to eliminate what we call ” memory ” – the desire for paper to stay rolled up.
Look at how nice and flat and flexible this example has become.
Note: rolling backward can damage the material, particularly some non-wovens that are what I call “puffy” and thick. Folding these backwards can cause the fibers to crease – which doesn’t look good on the wall! So it’s important to roll the material around a form for support, such as an unopened bolt of wallpaper. And to roll carefully and slowly as you go. Once the paper is completely re-wound and the hairband secured, you can carefully remove the support. Still, with some types of N-W, you may still end up with creases.

Arts & Crafts Style Frieze in Heights Bungalow

January 21, 2023
Dining room before. This bungalow in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston is very true to the Arts & Crafts / Craftsman period. This style featured straight , clean lines , nature , and muted colors that mimicked those found in nature . The homeowner is a retired woodworker / carpenter and did much of the millwork you see here.
Done. The teal green is actually a little more muted than the photo shows.
From another angle.
Close-up. This wallpaper pattern is called Fir Tree .
A frieze is a wide wallpaper border , usually run around the middle or top of a room . The manufacturer is Bradbury & Bradbury . They specialize in period-inspired patterns from past eras, such as Victorian , Arts & Crafts , Oriental , Modern Age / Mid Century Modern , and more.
Bradbury prints on stock that’s about 28″ wide, and this border is about 13″ wide. So Bradbury prints two borders side-by-side , and then you need to use a straightedge and razor blade to cut them apart .
Although the border came about 13″ wide, the space between the beams was only about 11.5″ . So we were going to lose about 2″ . I consulted with the homeowner. He really wanted to see the copper metallic pine cones. We also felt the trunks of the trees were important design elements . We decided that the pattern could afford to lose more from the top , which would permit more of the tree trunks to show, all the while preserving those pine cones.
Here I am trimming 2″ off the top, so the overall height of the frieze is now 12″ . That will fill the space between the beams, and also allow a little bit to tuck down below the bottom beam (there is a gap between the wall and that beam).
The room was really dark , the wallpaper was dark , and my straightedge was casting a shadow where I needed to trim. So I grabbed my Big Larry flashlight from my toolbox and was able to see where to trim.
Bradbury uses inks that are quite delicate , and can be scratched or marred simply by brushing with my smoother brush , or my plastic trapezoid squeege smoother tool . Metal – like a trim guide or scissors – will also leave marks on it . Here I’ve wrapped tools in microfiber towels and baby socks , to soften contact with the wallpaper .
Bradbury inks and substrates can be finicky, and it’s important to use the paste recommended by the company for the particular colorway that you’re hanging . In this case, I had to use clay – based paste .
The inks and substrate aren’t always compatible , so when you add wet paste to the back , it can cause the substrate to absorb moisture and swell , while the inks on the surface are holding tight. This will result in wrinkles , warps , and bubbles on the surface . We call this quilting or waffling .
One trick is to lightly sponge clean water onto the inked surface. This will allow the surface to absorb moisture and expand hopefully at the same rate as the backing , hopefully eliminating wrinkles and bubbles .
On this install , I still had problems with uneven expansion . And with the paper drying out before I could get an entire strip up on the wall. So, while I was pasting the back, I also sprinkled a little water on the back and mixed it in with the paste . This did seem to even out moisture , and also help the material remain moist and workable during the installation .
In addition, I also had trouble with the edges of the paper drying out before I could get a full strip up on the wall. Part of this was because it’s winter time and the furnace was blowing hot air into the room and drying out the paper. My counter-attack was, again, to sprinkle a little water onto the back, to hydrate the material more. Also, once I had pasted a strip and rolled it up (see below), I dipped the edges into about 1/8″ of clean water. And then wrapped the pasted material in a plastic trash bag and allowed to book for a few minutes before hanging . This is standard procedure with wallpaper. Actually, what worked better was to paste, book, bag, and then just before hanging to dip the ends into water. This seemed to keep everything wet and workable better and longer.
Despite all this, some small bubbles did remain in the paper. As the paper dried, though, they flattened out.
When you book a strip of wallpaper, customarily you fold the top 1/3 down and the bottom 2/3 up. This keeps paste from smearing all over everything, and makes each strip shorter and easier to handle. And allows you to get the top section of the pattern lined up with that on the previous strip , before unfolding the bottom section and working that against the wall.
But it’s a little different handling a narrower border that’s maybe 12′-15′ long. What I do to make this manageable is to book the material in accordion pleats . See photo. Then I can unfold just a small section, work it into place, and then move along the strip, smoothing just a small section at a time against the wall.
Actually, with this install, I positioned my sections against the wall temporarily, to get the whole 15′ strip up there. And then went back and smoothed each section against the wall, working out bubbles and warps , and ensuring that the frieze was pressed tightly against the wall at both top and bottom .
There were four strips around the top of this dining room. On each strip I used a different install method. By the time I was done, I had learned how the material wanted to be treated.
The homeowners are in love with this period-authentic look for their vintage bungalow. The husband said it was like Christmas, because they had waited for so long to have this room completed, and now it’s finally finished and beautiful!

Whimsical Arabian Nights Dance in Powder Room

January 13, 2023
You’ve got to look at this close-up, to notice the antelope and flames / foliage .
You gotta make a decision … The light sconces (they are currently removed, but you can see the electrical boxes where they will be placed) were centered on the vanity top, but the faucet was off-center by about an inch. So I chose to center / balance the pattern on the sconces and countertop. The mirror will be hung between the two light fixtures, so we’ll end up with a pleasing, balanced look. The faucet isn’t exactly in the middle of the design motif, but no biggie – there’s going to be a mirror there, anyway.

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Corner going around shower. Note the window looking into the shower.
Although the website specs said this is a pre-trimmed non-woven material , that was incorrect. Turns out it had an unprinted selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand . Here I’m using my straightedge and razor blade to remove this selvedge. This takes precision and a LOT of time .
The manufacturer usually provides trim guides to help you know where to cut. But it’s usually better to trim to the pattern – determine an element in the design motif that will meet up with the corresponding motif on the opposite side of the strip when the strips are hung on the wall, and use that as your guide . Be sure to trim off the trim guide marks, or they will show on the wall.
The pattern is called Arabian Nights and is by Relativity Textiles . I’ve never worked with this brand before. I was not pleased . In addition to the incorrect information about the pre-trimmed paper , the mfgr’s specs said this was printed on a non-woven substrate . It was not. It wasn’t even printed on standard wallpaper stock . Instead, it was a pulp material – This is a sort of old-fashioned wallpaper , and is very brittle and prone to tearing and dragging (your trimming knife or razor blade will get snagged and you’ll end up with a ” chewed ” jagged cut, instead of a crisp cut . It also tears easily. It also has no coating, so it’s not stain-resistant … Not good in a busy household with a 3-year old toddler , or anyone splashing water or soap or air freshener .
It was also difficult to hang . Applying wet paste to the backing causes the substrate to absorb moisture and expand at a different rate from the ink on the surface. So you end up with wrinkles , waffling , and quilting .
Sponging a light bit of water on the front before pasting helps even out the moisture differential and ease installation . I’ve never before encountered a pulp that had this type of ink on the surface. One clue for this bad stuff is when you open the package and it smells like moth balls . Once I figured out how to work with it, , it went OK – although tedious . The seams did look very nice.
BUT … all this effort would have been unnecessary and the finished room would be more durable if the mfgr had printed on a non-woven substrate (as their on-line specs stated) and had used standard inks instead of this weird , smelly , high-end stuff. In fact, the material would have cost the homeowners a whole lot less $ if it had been normal ink on a non-woven backing .
The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston .
installer

Signing My Work for Posterity

January 6, 2023

Digital Image

Digital Image

When the next paperhanger comes along and strips off the wallpaper I hung today, he will find this.

It’s a note (in pencil, because ink will bleed through wallpaper) telling who hung the paper (me!), and on what day. Many of my friends leave it at that, but I like to also include info about the paper, and also what wall prep I did and what primer and paste I used.
To be honest, I usually forget to do this.  But it’s a cool concept, and would be helpful to the next installer .

Tools For Double-Cutting / Splicing

December 24, 2022
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that double-cutting was needed for that vinyl mural installation. This type of trimming is often used in commercial vinyl jobs (hotels, hospitals). Above are some tools that help make it go more smoothly.
~The clear plastic tape on the right is made of polystyrene plastic. It’s flexible, but thick enough that you can’t cut through it with a razor blade. It’s used to ” pad ” the wall under where your cut will be, so it goes from ceiling to floor. It’s wide enough that you can straddle where your seam will be, and have 2″ or so in which to make your cut. This stuff is really important, because you never want to score into the wall surface, nor even into the primer . If the wall surface becomes un-intact , then when the wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks a bit, it puts stress on the seams. If the wall is not intact under those seams, the wall surface may give way and you end up with a ” popped ” seam. It’s not the paper coming loose – it’s the wall itself coming apart, and is difficult to repair.
~The roll of thin blue tape is used to keep paste off the wallpaper. You put it on the under side / pasted side of your second strip where it’s going to overlap onto the strip that is already on the wall , which is the area where your splice cut will be made. This blue tape can be used for other purposes, too, when you want to keep paste off the ceiling , for instance, or your last corner where the last strip meets up with the first strip.
~That metal tool is a 20″ long trim guide. It has a non-slip strip under the left edge, and a point at the top to get right up against the ceiling. The handle makes is super easy to hold and manipulate . This comes in both shorter and longer lengths.
~All of the above were invented and are sold by members of the Wallcovering Installers Association . Contact me if you are interested in purchasing.
~And, of course – razor blades. When I D/C, I usually hold a single edge blade in my fingers. But some installers use a snap-off blade in a holder. Whatever works best for you!
~Once your trim cut is made, of course, you need to remove the two tapes, the cut-off strips, and then smooth the two pieces back into place.
~For more information and photos on how this whole process works, click and read here https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/stinky-ink-curling-seams/

Fanciful Mural for Baby’s Crib / Accent Wall

December 23, 2022
Typical textured wall in new homes in suburban Houston has been skim-floated , sanded smooth , and primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime wallpaper primer .
All ready for baby Noah! The parents-to-be will spend the weekend bringing in the crib and other furnishings .
This is a 4-panel mural . Here I’ve laid out the panels , to ensure correct placement , and get accurate measurements .
We had some ” issues ” and I wasn’t completely happy with this product / vendor . For starters, they custom-printed custom-sized the material to the exact dimensions I had asked. Problem is, these panels are intended to be overlapped and double-cut ( spliced ). That means losing an inch on every seam . The company should have accommodated for that by providing us with four extra inches. They did not, so I had a real math and juggling match trying to plot how to get enough paper to cover the width of the wall.
The grey colors go nicely with the current trend toward greys and beiges ; the rest of the home follows this color scheme .
i thought this was going to be a pre-trimmed non-woven / paste the wall material. I was caught off guard when I discovered it was a textured vinyl on a paper backing , untrimmed and had to be double cut . See other post and/or do some Searching here for more info on this DC process . I think a better material would have resulted in better seams . But – wallpaper is meant to be viewed from about 5′ away, and from there, the wall is perfect.
Remember the picture of the panels laid out on the floor . The panel on the far right had a cool train near the top. It was a prominent feature in the scene . But, as you see in this photo, that train was cut off by the door. So all you see over the door is blank sky . I really liked that train, and so did the mom . I wanted to put it where she could see it .
So I took the bottom portion of that last panel and found the train. I used a straightedge to cut the bottom edge, and then used a scissors to trim around the top of the train and its trail of smoke .
Vinyl is slick , and wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it. So I applied special paste designed to grab ahold of vinyl. Then I placed it over the door , butting it up against the right where it meets the adjoining wall.
But – dangnabit! I forgot to take a picture of it finished! It looked great. Over the door was no longer all that dead-air blank space. Now there is a streamlined train with wisps of smoke , heading toward the distant castle !
I’m not going to mention where this was purchased from, because it’s one of the sites that I hope people will steer away from – a place that sells batteries , jewelry , fishing tackle , and – oh, yeah – wallpaper, too,,, you’re just better off with one of the established companies that specializes in wallpaper .
nursery installer houston sienna

Trick for Keeping Paste on Edges Wet and Workable

December 22, 2022

After you paste a strip of traditional wallpaper , it needs to be folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side and then set aside for a few minutes, so the paper can absorb the paste , expand , relax , etc. Preferable to place it in a black trash bag while this is going on, to help prevent it from drying out during this booking time .
But sometimes papers still dry out , particularly at the edges . The composition of the substrate , as well as the type of adhesive will come into play here.
And some papers just want to curl at the seams when they get wet with paste .
One trick to help curtail this is to paste the paper, book as usual, roll up gently, and then dip just the bottom 1/8″ of the edge into a bucket of clean water. This bit of water helps keep that paste damp and workable , and also encourages the wallpaper edges to curl toward the wall rather than away from it.
In today’s instance, because I was working with delicate paper and a contrary clay -based paste , I chose to dip the edges in water before pasting. This was my first time to try this method, and it worked great .
You do have to ensure that the water doesn’t wash the paste off the paper, or dilute it. Because you need that paste there to hold the paper against the wall!
Note: Do not do this with non-woven papers , which are also called paste the wall . Excessive moisture can cause staining .

Cool Trick Going Around Door

December 18, 2022

I’ve finished putting short strips of wallpaper over this wide entry way . My next strip will be a 9.5′ piece going down the left side of the door molding .
The piece above the door ended 1/4″ from the left edge of the door molding. Normally, I would butt my next strip up against the existing piece. Then, as I move down the wall smoothing the paper into place against the wall, there will be a 1/4″ bit of it that laps over against the full length of the molding. I would need to use a straightedge and blade to trim this off. And then use my damp microfiber rag to wipe paste off the molding.
This non-woven wallpaper is thick and stiff , and hard to press tightly against the molding, so a bit tricky to get a sharp , tight trim cut . And also difficult to ensure that exactly 1/4″ is being trimmed off . So it’s easy for the paper to go off-kilter , and for the pattern to not line up perfectly against the molding . Not a big deal on a busy floral pattern , but with a rigid geometric, it might be noticeable .
So I decided to try this. I wanted to pre-trim the strip to take away that 1/4″ . This would save me from having to do any pressing or trimming. And also ensure that the pattern would fall perfectly straight against the doorway molding.
I measured down 16″ (the height of the ” header ” over the doorway , plus a couple of inches for trimming at ceiling and then at the top of the door molding ) .
Then I used my straightedge , razor blade , and fine ruler (from Texas Art Supply ) to measure over 1/4″ and trim it off .
Don’t think this is a simple task … It’s hard to measure exactly the width of the bit above the molding that should be trimmed off. 1/4″? 3/8″? 5/16″?
Also take into consideration that most wallpapers expand when they get wet with paste . So that 1/4″ I cut off could extend to 5/16″ or even more. That would mean a gap along the door molding.
Next, if the strip above the door is not perfectly plumb , or if the door molding below it is not perfectly straight and plumb , the wallpaper won’t butt up properly against it, and may start to show a gap or an overlap.
Sometimes you can manipulate the strip of wallpaper so that it does butt up against the door frame. But that can result in warps and wrinkles , or a pattern mis-match of the next piece . Also, like I said, this particular non-woven product is thick and stiff, and not happy about being asked to twist into another shape. Pasting the paper – instead of pasting the wall – does help to make it more pliable , so you have a better chance of manipulating the paper as you want.
Here is the strip going into place. So far, it’s butting up nicely against the molding. And no need to trim anything or wipe paste off the woodwork – except for that little bit at the top, which was my ” extra ” allowed for trimming .
FYI, that dark stripe you see along the woodwork is a shadow.
Here is the wallpaper as it falls along the side of the molding. The pattern is lining up nice and straight and precise .
To be honest, at the lower 1/3 of the wall, the paper did start to torque out of shape , and wanted to leave a gap at the molding, which was trying to grow from 1/16″ to maybe 1/4.” Not a lot – but it sure would look bad to have a 1/4″ gap between the wallpaper and the woodwork.
Trying to “mush” it to the right to butt up against the woodwork was causing warps and wrinkles .
I was a little surprised, but the paste had caused the stiff material to become softened and pliable – just enough that I was able to gently work out all those warps and wrinkles , so the wallpaper laid nice and flat against the wall. AND the left edge didn’t become distorted, but fell nice and straight enough that the next strip was easily able to butt up against it nice and tightly.
This trellis / Moroccan lantern / onion dome / geometric pattern is by Designer Wallpapers .