Posts Tagged ‘pattern repeat’

Please Buy the Amount of Wallpaper I Tell You to Buy!

January 24, 2014

Digital ImageI am only half-way finished hanging this large kitchen, and look at all the wallpaper that has to be discarded, due to matching the pattern or cutting around doors and windows.

This is important to keep in mind, when measuring for and ordering your wallpaper. You cannot use every square inch, and sometimes there is significant waste of unusable pieces.

It’s not uncommon for prospective clients to get out their tape measures and calculators, and then insist that they need less paper than I tell them to buy. It’s important to have a professional (me!) measure accurately, and to factor in the pattern repeat, elements in the room, and other contributors to waste.

Laugh of the Day

October 10, 2013

Digital ImageThe label says the pattern repeat is 6 3/4″.
Really, it’s more like 3/4″.

York Wallcoverings must have just been using some old labels, I guess.

Weird and Unnecessary Long Pattern Repeat

March 21, 2013

Digital ImageDigital Image“Pattern repeat” refers to how many inches go by before a design element (in this case, a particular leaf) is repeated on the paper. Depending on the exact height of your walls, a very long repeat can mean you need to buy a lot of extra paper, just to match the pattern. 25 inches is fairly long. A “Straight Match” means that the same leaf is at the top of the wall on every strip. A “Drop Match” means that the leaf drops down the wall 1/2 the distance of the pattern repeat on every other strip.

The label on this bolt of Thibaut wallpaper said it had a 25 1/4″ pattern repeat, and a drop match. I took the first photo because, as you can see, the repeat is only 5 inches, and it repeats horizontally straight across, not half-dropped.

But I got fooled today. And it was embarassing. And could potentially have cost enough paper that it would have been impossible to finish the room. Here’s what happened:

I laid the paper out to see what the pattern match was, as in the first photo. I cut the four strips needed for my first two walls. The first strip went up fine, and the second strip matched perfectly. But the third strip, cut from the same bolt of paper, did not match. It matched in some areas, along some stems and leaves in the pattern, but not in others. See the second photo.  (Click to enlarge.)  The pattern matches at the bottom, but is off a little at the top of the photo.

At first, I thought the manufacturer had miscut the paper. I studied, recut, rematched, rehung, rethought, redid and reflected. Finally I realized that every leaf that LOOKED the same was NOT ACTUALLY the same.

Take a look at the second photo. Right by the pencil, see the stem that is curved downward like an upside-down “U” ? Now look below it, and you will see the same upside-down “U” shaped stem. But look closer – it’s not EXACTLY the same!

On the upper stem, there are five leaves, and the bottom one points to the left. But on the lower stem, identical in shape, there are only four leaves, and the bottom one points to the right. Also, on the left side of the seam, on the top stem, right at the seam, there is an extra little short bit of stem. On the lower stem, there is none.

Man! You have to have good eyes, and a lot of patience, to see that. And it’s important, because even a little mis-match, even on a busy pattern like this, will be noticeable.

What I don’t get is, why would the designer make a pattern that is ALMOST the same, but not exactly? To relieve monotony? Naaah. In a busy pattern like this, your eye is not going to notice the tiny difference in one leaf pointing to the right and one pointing to the left.

The only reason I can think of is – to eat up more paper. And thereby to SELL more paper. You see, as mentioned above, long repeats can eat up a lot more paper. In this case, I think the long repeat is unnecessary, and a silly thing for the designer / manufacturer to do.

20.5, 27, & 10

November 1, 2012

Aviso:  Somewhat technical.  But it will give you a feel for what mental gymnastics we paperhangers go through every day.

There are two standard widths for wallpaper – 20.5″ and 27.” The 20.5″ wide bolts are 33′ long, and the 27″ wide ones are 27′ long; they both contain the same number of square feet, which is 56 (but you allow for only 44, due to waste in matching the pattern, trimming at the ceiling and floor, banged up ends, etc.).

Sometimes, the amount of paper you need to buy has less to do with square footage and more to do with the number of drops you can get out of a double roll (bolt).

On a job I’m doing this week, one narrow accent wall at the top of a stair landing, it’s a relatively small square footage – about 50. Since there are about 44 USEABLE square feet on each double roll, normally I would tell the homeowner to buy two double rolls.

But, trying to save the homeowner some money, as well as avoid unnecessary waste, I counted how many strips would be needed.  The wall is 45″ wide by 10’1″ high, and the wallpaper pattern she was looking at is packaged 27″ wide and 27′ long.  Two 27″ strips would be plenty wide enough to cover the width of the wall, and I could easily get those two 10′ 5″ strips (allowing 2″ for trimming at top and at bottom) out of the 27′ long double roll, with 6 feet left for matching the pattern, placing the main element of the pattern at a nice point on the wall, etc.  So, all she needed to buy was one double roll.

BUT…. When I got to work yesterday, it turns out that the paper that was ordered was not 27″ wide, but instead it was 20.5″ wide.  Now, this could pose a problem.  Two 20.5″ wide pieces side by side only equal 41″, and I had 45″ of wall to cover.  However, since the paper is narrower, each bolt is also longer, in this case, 33′.  Sounds good, right?  I should be able to get my three 10’5″ strips out of that 33′ long bolt, right?

WRONG!  Now we’re trying to get 31.5 feet out of a 33 foot long bolt of paper.  It sounds plausible.  But remember – we have to match the pattern, and not just on two strips, as with the 27″ wide goods, but now we have to match three strips, which takes up considerably more paper than matching just two.  And what about the banged edges, or ends of the roll that have tape plastered on them, that cause me to routinely cut off and throw away several inches or more?

In addition, I like to have the flexibility to be able to put a particular figure from the pattern at the top of the wall.  In other words, if the pattern has a monkey on it, you don’t want to have to cut off the monkey’s head!  Keeping the monkey’s head attached to his torso could eat up quite a bit of paper – and we have precious little paper in this case.

Luckily, this particular pattern is pretty much a bunch of swirls.  While I would like to put a whole swirl at the top of the wall, I quickly decided that it was more important to get ANY part of the pattern on the wall, rather than worry about a half swirl 10′ up.  It’s also not important to center any particular swirl on the wall, so that frees up a little paper, too.

This particular pattern spans the entire width of the paper.  If, instead, it were smaller and there were two or more of the pattern side by side on the strip, I would have the option of  splitting the strip vertically, being careful to keep an absolutely straight edge, and then splicing the pieces together, to make a full-length strip, which is what I did two weeks ago with some grey paper that had defects in the printing (see previous post).  Unfortunately, that is not an option in this case.

Depending on the length of the pattern repeat, I MIGHT be able to get the three strips I need.  With it so close, the only way to tell was to unroll the paper, measure out each strip, figure the repeat for all three strips and both matched seams – and keep my fingers crossed!

After carefully unrolling the entire double roll, measuring, marking, plotting, my consensus is that there WILL be enough paper to get my three strips.  There will be a lot of waste – 16.5″ wide by 10’5″ long, because the third strip will be only 4″ wide, but that’s how it goes.  Left on the roll, after I take those three strips, if I figured and measured correctly, we will have about four whole inches left!

Tomorrow I hang the paper, so tomorrow will tell!

Here is the pattern, by Graham and Brown: