Posts Tagged ‘pasted’

Grasscloth Engineering and Logistics – Technical Details Post

August 21, 2022
Grasscloth is a natural material that cannot be matched from strip to strip, so all the seams will be visible . In addition, there is usually a slight but noticeable color difference between strips / panels (called shading or paneling ) . So it’s important to plot the layout of the strips to give the most visually pleasing overall look. Usually this means balancing the width of strips so they are all equal , at least on the same wall . We call this engineering .
This wall presented particular challenges , due to the widths of the elements. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide . You can use your straightedge and a sharp razor blade and trim it down to any width you want.
The width of both the large wall spaces to the right and left of the bank of windows was 34.” The width of each window was about 35.” The width of the two spaces in between the windows was 7.”
So you’d think I could trim my panels on either side of the windows, and then over the windows, to about 34″-36″ – give or take a few inches (or fractions thereof).
But that would leave me with two 7″ wide strips between these 35″ panels. Although the look would be uniform and mirror-image from the center outward, moving from right to left you’d have: 35,” 35″, 7,” 35,” 7,” 35,” 35,” … those 7″ breaks were just not going to look right.
One option was to determine the width of the wall (189″) and make each strip an equal width. This worked out to six strips, each at 31.5″ Not good, because this would mean a seam down either far side. And since those sides were 34″ wide, that would mean a 31.5″ wide strip and a strip 2.5″ wide. Not attractive at all, and it would use up an extra strip of wallpaper.
This six strips @ 31.5″ wide scenario might also land with a seam smack in the middle of those 7″ wide interludes in between the windows. Not attractive at all.
So I decided to make the two outer strips 35″ wide. That left 119″ of wall space above the windows to be covered with wallpaper. Do some math and you get four panels of 29.75″ wide. This gave a balanced and uniform look to the area over the windows, and also prevented seams from landing between the windows.
Moving right to left, I cut and hung the full length outer strip first. Then I cut and hung the strip over the window on the right. Then I measured to find the centerpoint of the window in the middle. Turns out it was a bit less than 29.75″ away. So I trimmed that next over-window strip accordingly.
Once that was in place, I measured from that center point above the middle window out to where my left full-height panel would fall, 35″ out from the wall. Took the resulting measurement and divided by 2. Lo and behold, each of the next two panels over the window was going to be a bit wider than 30.” No problem. No one (but a paperhanger or maybe an engineer) is going to notice a 1/4″ or even a full 1″ difference in widths between this strips over the windows.
Another thing to point out … it’s important that I took measurements before cutting these strips for this second left-hand section. Because, since grasscloth comes at 36″ (and walls can be wonky), if my strips had been narrower (say, 28″), that last full-height panel on the left might have ended up needing to be 37″ wide – and that wouldn’t work because it only comes 36″ wide – plus you need at least 1/8″ to wrap around the corner.
Luckily I had the flexibility to be able to trim the panels over the windows to any width needed, to accommodate all this.
If you’ve followed all this so far, let me also toss in that we also need to figure how to get paper in between those windows. More on that below.
In this scenario, I’m moving from right to left.
Area beneath the windows needs to be treated in the same way, and preferably with widths that match what’s going on above the windows. In addition, it’s tricky because after you move across 12′ of wall space, the strips above and below the windows are going to twist and torque out of shape, so that last full-length panel on the far left might not butt up perfectly with the last strip under the windows.
The grasscloth is black , and my wallpaper primer is white . It’s common for teeny gaps to appear at the seams . In this case, it’s likely that white wall would peek out from those gaps. So I like to stripe under where the seams will fall with dark (diluted) paint . This takes measuring , plotting , and also a heat gun to get the paint to dry before the wallpaper hits it, to avoid staining. You can do a Search here to read more about this technique .
Now let’s talk about getting wallpaper in between those windows.
As you can see in the photo, if I hang a 30″ wide strip, a whole lot of paper is going to be cut off and thrown away. Also, a whole lot of sticky, pasted paper is going to bump against that window molding and maybe even the window glass. A lot to clean up! And unwieldy, to boot.
My solution was to stop the wallpaper just a little below the tops of the windows. Then I would patch in a 7″ wide strip in between the windows. This is trickier than it sounds, because, if it were a paper wallpaper, I could simply cut along a design motif and overlay the 7″ wide piece. But grasscloth is thick and overlaps don’t look good. Also grass has no design elements , and the reeds of grass don’t necessarily fall perfectly horizontal , and even if you cut everything perfectly true to square , if the window molding is a teeny bit off-plumb , then your edges won’t butt up perfectly.
So that’s a good reason for striping the black paint under where the butt join will occur.
Same thing for the sections under the windows. I measured and positioned the strips so that the top edge (which I had trimmed to be perfectly horizontal) fell between the narrowest part of the windowsill molding, for less visibility.
I admit, instead of butting the two pieces, here I did overlap the 7″ wide strip about 1/4″ onto the piece under the window, right at that narrow junction. It’s only about 3″ wide, and I figured no one is going to be examining it that closely, anyway. This saved me about a half an hour of measuring, trimming, testing, repeat, repeat.
This is my second window interlude, and by this time I had realized that it’s hard to trim stiff grasscloth around intricate moldings precisely . So I used paint to fill in the edges around the window molding, just in case there might be any gaps between the grasscloth and the molding, so you would see black instead of the white molding paint. I did this with a small sponge; if I had used an artist’s brush it would have been a bit neater and tighter to the conforms of the molding. But sometimes you’ve gotta relax and realize that no one’s going to be scrutinizing the insides of moldings below shin-level.
Area over windows finished, with drapes back in place.
Turns out this particular grasscloth is so uniform in color (quite unusual, I will add), that you can’t really see the panels , nor their equal widths , anyway. I’m still glad I took the time to do all this math and trimming.
Area below the windows, done. That last seam on the left bears some explanation, too. Moving across the top of the windows, I measured that that last strip – the full-length strip – would need to be exactly 35″ wide. It butted up nicely to the last strip above the windows.
But, due to twisting , shifting , expansion , unlevel and unplumb walls and ceilings , and other factors, there is a really good chance that that last 35″ wide strip would not butt up perfectly with the last 30″ wide strip under the window . So I planned to splice these last two strips together.
Yeah, the drapes are hanging there, I coulda overlapped the two strips about 1/2″ and the drapes would have covered it. With a thin wallpaper, I probably would have done this. But grasscloth is thick, and an overlap would be visible , and also the adhesive / paste can’t be trusted to adhere as well to grass as it would to paper .
So I plotted for a splice. Instead of trimming my last strip under the window to 30″ (read above), I trimmed it to 32″ wide. That way, when I hung the last full-length strip to the left, which was 35″ wide, it overlapped the piece under the window by a few inches. Then I did a double cut and spliced the two pieces. See below for details about that technique.
Grasscloth is 36″ wide, and this wall area is wider than that. So two strips were needed. This means you’re going to have a seam, and since grasscloth seams are always visible, it looks best to plot to have the seam fall down the center. It uses more wallpaper to do this, but it looks much better than having, for example, a 36″ wide strip next to an 8″ wide strip.
As mentioned above, in case you get thin gaps at the seams, a dark stripe of diluted craft paint under where the seam will fall, will prevent white wall from showing through.
Rounded / bull-nosed edges and corners have been popular in new construction for at least 10 years. I wish they’d go away. They’re very difficult to trim around, and hard for the paper to conform to and adhere to.
It’s very hard to trim around that rounded edge, because the paper is hanging over and blocking your view, because grasscloth is thick and stiff and your fingers can’t feel through it, and because the edges aren’t necessarily true and plumb so a laser level or other level won’t help you much.
I use this little gadget as a trim guide. It’s actually a small section of the same corner bead material that drywallers use when they assemble these walls. Cut to about 1″ long and notched in different places where you might trim along the edge of the wall.
It’s intended that you place your trimming knife in one of the notches and slide the gizmo along the edge and make your cut. I find that awkward and also inaccurate. So I prefer to use the notches as a guide and mark where I plan to trim with a pencil. Since this wallpaper is black, I used this marking pencil from my home sewing kit instead. Chalk might work, but I was afraid it might now wipe off completely.
The pink pencil line was barely visible, but it was enough for me to use a scissors to trim along the grasscloth. I like this better than using a razor blade as I can see better, and also less chance of scoring into the primer or wall. Which raises its own set of issues – do a search here to find previous posts.
Inside view of the trim guide.
Finished arch. Note the four panels of equal width above the arch. And two flanking full-height panels also the same widths.
I was lucky that there was no pattern to match, so I was able to butt my two flanking strips right up to the edge of the bull-nosed corner. No trimming needed! Then I measured the remaining width between these two strips (the area over the arch), divided by four, and cut four strips of equal widths.
I hung the two on the left, and then one on the far right. This left one strip still to be positioned to the right of center. So the pieces are going to meet over the arch, rather than the last strip falling in a corner.
Same as the last strip under the window (discussed above), it’s really difficult to get your last piece to fit in here perfectly. I’ve done it, but it takes a lot of measuring, trimming, testing, retrimming, and often starting all over again.
So I did a double-cut / splice.
A double cut involves cutting each strip an inch or so wider than it should be, and overlapping the two. Then you take a straight edge and sharp razor blade and cut through both layers. This handy tool is a wonderful non-slip guide for this process. It was invented by an installer colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) and she has them fabricated in various lengths (along with other cool tools ) and sells them on-line. Contact me if you’re interested.
Anyway, it takes a lot of strength to cut through two layers of grasscloth, so somewhat difficult for lil’ ol’ me.
You also want to be sure to not cut / score into the wall, because the tension of drying wallpaper can tug at the wall and cause it to actually come apart, leaving an open seam that’s difficult to repair.
So you’ve got to put some padding under the wall where the cut will take place. I use special strips of polystyrene (hard but flexible plastic) to pad the wall. Also invented by a colleague in the WIA , who also sells other cool tools and supplies. Contact me if you’re interested.
This black grasscloth was printed on a white substrate. If the seams aren’t absolutely tight, there can be worries about the backing showing through to the front. So sometimes we’ll take a piece of chalk or pastel (never oil pastel or permanent markers because they bleed and stain ) and run it along the edge of the paper – from the back, and taking care to not get chalk on the surface.
I do this frequently with dark papers ( do a search here to see previous posts ) but opted not to do it with this grasscloth. It wasn’t necessary, and might have stained the porous reeds of the grass. It was beneficial, though, to have striped dark paint on the wall under the seams, as mentioned above.
Ugh. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide, and this section of wall is 38″ wide. It’s not visually pleasing, nor is it easy from an installation point of view, to have a 36″ wide strip next to a 2″ wide strip. Or to use scraps and put a 25″ wide strip next to a 13″ wide strip.
So best to plan two strips of equal widths. Two strips, each 19″ wide, with the seam down the middle.
Actually, the strip on the left was 19″ wide, but I trimmed the strip on the right to 21″, because I like the wallpaper to extend 2″ over the top of the door molding. This provides a more stable surface in case of shifting foundation or walls, and less likelihood (knock on wood) of the seam opening up should the house / drywall experience shifting.
Note that design “rules” caution against seams down the middle of spaces. But it would have been more visually distracting (and used up more paper) to have made three strips of each 12.75″ wide. And would have looked even dumber to have used scraps left from other walls and put together two strips of disparate widths.
So the homeowner and I discussed during our initial consultation , and she was happy with the center seam. Once it was all finished, this particular grasscloth was so even in tone that you barely see the seams, anyway. Win-win!
This did use up additional paper, though, as noted in a previous photo above.

Wrong Electrical Boxes for These Sconces

August 13, 2022
This is the mounting bracket for a sconce / light fixture . The fixture itself is exactly the same size as the bracket.
So it’s unfortunate that the electrician used an electrical box that is too large . As you can see, the blue box shows on both the left and right sides of the light fixture.
(I will also add that I think this light fixture is narrower than most – I suspect it was made overseas where boxes and codes are different from here.)
In addition, the blue box juts out from the wall and will create a bump under the wallpaper , plus prevent the paper from adhering tightly to the wall . The jaggedly cut drywall will leave impressions under the paper, too.
Here the plastic electrical box is recessed better into the wall. But there are still gaps on the left and right sides of the bracket.
To get the wallpaper around the brackets without gaps showing , I removed the brackets, and then brought the wallpaper in to cover the electrical junction boxes by about 1.” (no photo)
If the electrician needs more space for his wires , he can always trim the wallpaper back a little.
In the instance of the box in the top photo, there will still be wallpaper that can’t sit tight to the drywall , but once the sconce is replaced you really won’t notice.
I also had the option of leaving the mounting brackets in place and then placing the wallpaper over the metal plates. But first of all, I think this is against building Codes. And second, if the sconces are changed out later, or if someone needs to access the electrical connections, removing the mounting plates would most surely tear the wallpaper in the process.
So, best to have the wallpaper behind the plates, rather than pasted on top of them.

Inexplicable Pattern Match

July 17, 2022
This happens not infrequently, and it’s puzzling to me. At the top of the wall, the pattern match drops down to the right.
Yet at the center of the wall it matches perfectly.
But get to the bottom of the wall and it drops again, but this time to the left.

Yes, some papers do stretch / expand when they get wet with paste. But that’s not the situation here, because this is A.) a non-woven material, which generally do not expand, and B.) every strip was treated the same way. In other words, if every strip is pasted, booked, and left to sit for the same length of time, ALL the strips should expand the same amount, right? And the pattern should match at the top, middle, and bottom. Right?

But even that argument doesn’t apply, because this, again, is a NW / non-expansion material, and, besides, I didn’t paste the wallpaper but pasted the wall instead. So the material had no chance to get wet or swollen with paste.

I believe this is a factory trimming issue. Somewhere along the line, the trimmers got off-track, or started trimming on the bias, just enough to throw off the pattern match.

In cases like this, the rule of thumb industry standard is to match the pattern as best as possible at eye level (middle of the wall) and let nature take its course, as they say, on the upper and lower sections.

Luckily this particular pattern only had one motif area that matched across the seams, and there were only three of those per the height of each strip. So the two slight mis-matches were both way above and below eye level, so not very noticeable.

This pattern is called Palm Leaves and is by Cole & Son . Other than this printing snafu, it’s a good quality wallpaper. See previous post

Bright Colorful Wildness On Bedroom Accent Wall

May 29, 2022
Textured wall has been skim-floated, sanded smooth, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
Here’s how we got there …. First, this is a non-woven , paste-the-wall material. It’s nice paper, but very stiff and wants to remain curled up. So to get it to cooperate, after cutting my strips, I roll them backward, backing side facing out, and secure with an elastic hairband.
This helps get rid of the curl, and also ensures that when I’m on my ladder at the wall and unroll the strip, the face will not bump into the pasted wall.
After finding the mid point of the wall, and the center of the wallpaper pattern (beware – it’s usually not perfectly in the center or at the edge of the paper), I draw a plumb line (or use my laser level) and hang the first strip against it.
It’s important to start in the middle, first to get the pattern centered.
Next, because ceiling lines are never perfectly level, the pattern can start to go off-track as it moves across the wall. Meaning, the motif I placed at the tip of the wall may start drifting up or down.
By starting in the middle and working outward, any drifting is lessened because it’s split between the right and left sides of the wall.
Close up.
Called Amazon , this is by Clarke & Clarke, in their Animalia line. I hung some very colorful zebras from this same company just a few weeks ago – go Search and find the photos!
Matching pattern on the throw pillow, and a bolster pillow in the same colors against the white bedding really pulls the room together, and gives the colors more impact. The homeowner dabbles in interior design , and has really put together a Wow Factor guest bedroom !
The home is in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston . installer

Logistics for Hanging Jungle Wallpaper Mural in Nursery

May 19, 2022

Let’s do some engineering so we can get this mural on the wall. The wall is a few inches less than 12′ wide, and 9′ high.
The mural comes as a set of four panels, and the total width of the mural is 6′ wide x 9′ high.
Therefore we need two 4-panel sets to span this wall.
Here is the first set of four panels, pasted and hung. A really tricky thing with murals is that the strips / panels you place next to your first set need to match up with the existing pattern. Meaning, the panels need to be able to be hung consecutively next to each other and have the pattern continue uninterrupted.
Not all murals are designed to continue from one to the next. Some will only fit a wall of certain dimensions.
Still others are custom made to fit specific sizes … but that’s a topic for another blog post.
You’re looking at two sets of mock-ups of the mural, side-by-side. The dotted lines show each individual panel.
Toward the center, you see where Panel 4 of the mural on the right meets up with Panel 1 of the mural placed on the right. You can see that the trees and other elements from the mural on the left match up with the motifs on the mural to the right. This is good! It means that we can place murals next to each other to cover a wider wall space.

Here is the finished wall with two murals placed next to each other, with the trees and animals continuing from one mural to the next.
Second issue: The wall height between crown molding and baseboard was exactly 9′ high. The mural came exactly 9′ high. This might sound perfect – but it ain’t agonna work.
The wallpaper / mural needs to be a few inches (preferably 3″-4″) taller than the wall itself. (Same goes for width) This little bit of wiggle room allows you to trim at the top and bottom of the wall. And it allows for walls that are not perfectly plumb and floors and ceilings that are not perfectly level.
In this case, it wasn’t going to be possible to get the mural to fit inside that 9′ high space across a 12′ wide wall without going off-track a bit. We needed about 2″ of extra height at BOTH top and bottom.
Well, you can’t make the wallpaper mural any taller, so we opted to make the wall shorter. The builder added an extra tall baseboard along the bottom of just this one wall.
This reduced the wall height by about 3″, which gave us just enough extra paper length to split between the ceiling and baseboard. A little will be trimmed off at the ceiling line, and a little off the bottom / baseboard.
If you look at the picture of the finished wall, the 4th photo, you’ll see that there are more “important” design elements at the bottom of the mural than at the top. The manufacturer does this on purpose, because they know that some of the mural will need to be cut off, in order to accommodate different wall heights, and for trimming at the ceiling and baseboard. Nearly a foot can be trimmed off the top of this mural without losing anything like an animal or a tree top.
The same is not true about the bottom, though. As you can see in this photo, the designer has let elements run all the way down to the bottom of the mural … leaves, plant stems, and, as in the photo above, a bird’s feet.
I tried to raise the strips up as high as possible, to avoid cutting off his feet. But I had to leave enough to accommodate trimming and wonky walls. So, as you see in the photo, the poor guy got his feet cut off.
Still, all this is happening at the bottom of the wall, and no one is really paying attention to this area. Plus, there will be furniture in front.
Still, all worth noting.
Jungle Wallpaper Mural is by Lulu and Georgia and is in the Sure Strip line made by York .
Some take-aways from this post that I hope you will keep in mind …
~Never order a mural to the exact dimensions of the wall. Add 4″ to height & width
~Consult with the paperhanger before ordering any material
~Rather than a mural that comes in one set size as this one does, consider a custom-sized mural that can be made to fit your specific wall. I like among others.

Run Numbers Matter – More

April 19, 2022
When you hang wallpaper, you need to make sure that all the rolls / bolts are from the same Run Number / Batch Number / Dye Lot. This means that the rolls were printed at the same time from the same batch of ink.
Another batch of ink that’s mixed up and then printed a few weeks later may be a very slightly different shade. You can easily see that color difference in this photo.
Placing strips from two different runs next to each other on the same wall will result in a subtle but unpleasant striped effect.
Besides the color differences of the ink, the printing press can be positioned differently, too.
Look at the bottom strip, at the left of the photo. The vertical line on the left is wide.
But now look at the strip on the right, which is on top. It’s from a different Run.
Here the vertical strips is narrow.
If strips of wallpaper from these two different runs were placed next to each other on a wall, not only would you see a color difference between them, but you would have an unpleasant striped effect, because one vertical stripe element in the design would be unnaturally wide, and another would be much narrower. In between would be other stripes that are the standard medium width.
Very un-uniform and very un-pleasing.
Before any wallpaper rolls get cut, pasted, and stuck to the wall, check to be sure the run numbers are all the same!

Wild & Crazy & Fun Tiger Wallpaper

April 28, 2021
Before. The textured walls have been skim-floated and sanded smooth, and then primed.
Welcome to the Jungle!
Notice the watercolor-y look of this design. It reminds me of impromptu sketches by artists who work in “plein aire.”
“Frida” by Pepper Home

The homeowner was browsing Pepper Home’s website and was instantly smitten by this rather uncommon theme and design. It’s called “Frida.” It sure is fun!

This paper is sold by the yard, was custom-printed, and came in one continuous bolt (54 yards!). It had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand (see future posts). The inks are clay-coated, which imparts a rich matt finish, and the substrate is way better than what many other companies are printing on.

I positively loved working with it. The trim marks were spot-on, minimizing a pattern mis-match at the seams. Once pasted and booked, the material became very supple and flexible, and it could be “worked” much better than standard brands. Even better – the seams virtually melted away (became invisible).

I ran silicone caulk along where the wallpaper meets the top of the sink. This will prevent splashed water from pooling on the sink and then wicking itself up into the new wallpaper – which could cause the new wallpaper to curl and peel away from the the wall.

The home is in the Memorial area of Houston.

Hand Trimming Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpapers come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand before the paper can go up on the wall.

Hmmm … they charge you more because it’s a “designer brand.” But they give you less, because it takes a lot of time, precision, and razor blades to trim this off, when the company could have simply done it at their factory.

O.K., moving past that … To trim off the selvedge, I used my 6′ brass-bound straight edge and lots of new, sharp, single-edge razor blades. The “Trim” mark guides printed on the material by the manufacturer were pretty much on-target.

Thus the pattern on the trimmed strips matched up very nicely once pasted and hung on the wall.

10″ Head Space – I Can Do It!

December 13, 2019

Not only was there only a mere 10″ of clearance between the cabinet and the ceiling, the niche was way deeper than the typical cabinet, because below it was a 36″ deep refrigerator. Even standing on the very top of my ladder (ya know – the step that OSHA says NOT to stand on!), and contorting my whole torso on top of the cabinet, it was difficult to reach the back wall. And even more difficult to maneuver my hands and tools.

I managed to skim-float the area, sand it smooth, and prime it. Today it was time to get paper onto it.

The fewer tasks I had to do, the easier (and safer) it would be to accomplish.

The first thing I did was to trim the paper horizontally at the point where I wanted it to meet the ceiling. This eliminated the need for me to squeeze in a straightedge and trimming blade and try to manipulate them in the deep, narrow space.

Likewise, I wanted to avoid having to trim in the last corner (on the right). So I measured carefully, and pre-trimmed my last piece to fit. It was 3 7/8″ at the top, but widened to 4″ at the bottom.

After the strip got pasted and booked, it expanded a tad, so I had to trim off a teeny bit from the right edge. And also a little more off the upper right, due to the wall being un-straight at that point.

I was able to get my plastic smoother and damp microfiber cloth into the space, to smooth the strips to the wall and wipe off any paste residue.

Textured Wallpaper for Headboard Accent Wall in the Heights

August 20, 2019

A distant shot to show you the warmth, and a couple of close-ups to show the texture.

This wallpaper went on all walls of a small vestibule leading into a master bedroom, and then on the headboard wall of the bedroom itself. The remaining walls were painted a coordinating grey color.

This is a thick textured vinyl material on a woven fabric (scrim) backing. Unlike most wallpapers, this is quite durable and stain-resistant – it’s the same type of stuff they use in hotels and hospitals, where it’s going to get banged into by carts and washed every now and then.

It is also extremely heavy. I’m betting that each double-roll bolt weighed at least 15 pounds. I could barely carry three at a time. A pasted strip 9′ long took about all my strength to lift higher than my head and position on the wall (while balancing on a ladder!).

Because it is so thick, it was hard to press tightly against the wall/ceiling junctions, so it took a little work to get a nice, tight cut. It was also difficult to cut through, so I had to press really hard, and went through a lot of razor blades, and still had to use my scissors to finalize some of the cuts, particularly to cut through some of the string backing.

My shoulders and arms are sore!

This embossed, textured pattern made a lovely, soft backdrop to the bed, and added a warmth that the paint alone could not.

The manufacturer is Thibaut. The older home has been beautifully enlarged and updated, and is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design.