Posts Tagged ‘plumb’

Plumbing Up Coming Out Of A Corner DRAFT

January 29, 2023
Here I’m hanging wallpaper, moving from right to left, preparing to turn this corner . You don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner (see previous post for more information). So I’ve cut a new strip, trimmed off excess on the right so the pattern on the new strip matches that on the existing strip, and am getting ready to proceed to the left.
But corners are never straight or plumb , and chair rail and ceilings are never perfectly level . So if I butt the new strip right up into the corner, if that corner is off-plumb , it will cause the new strip, and all subsequent strips, to be off-plumb. And that means that the design motifs will start tracking up or down hill as we move across the wall.
You want all the motifs to be at the same height along the ceiling and chair rail – within reason, of course, because if those features are not level, the motifs can’t help but move up or down.
Anyway, the best you can do is to hang your new strip perfectly plumb . So here you see I’ve shot my laser level at the wall at the far edge of the new strip. I’m butting my new strip up to that red line. I’m also using my 2′ bubble level as an extra guide.
Note that sometimes this means the new strip will not butt up perfectly in the corner, because it may tilt a bit to the left or right. When that happens, you just trim off the slight overlap. This means you may end up with a slight pattern mis-match in the corner. Usually not too noticeable.

What’s A “Fat Cut” ?

January 28, 2023
Here, I’m hanging paper from right to left, and have just come around a corner , which is in the center of the picture. You almost never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner . Corners are never straight , and the paper will buckle in the corner . And the edge will not be straight , nor plumb , and thus the next strip won’t butt up perfectly against it . And it’s also probable that the strip will torque off either up or down, causing your pattern to creep up or down the ceiling and floor lines.
The answer is to stop the strip of wallpaper in the corner , and cut a new piece for the subsequent wall.
But you can’t just trim tightly to the corner. Because most likely there will be gaps (remember I said that corners are never straight?), so some of the wall will show.
So what you do is wrap the paper just a teeny amount around the corner , and then overlap your new piece over that. This does mean that you will lose some of the pattern in that overlap.
I can’t stand that pattern mis-match, so most of the time, the way I do it, I’ll take a fresh strip of wallpaper for the next strip (to be placed on the left in the photo) and trim it so the pattern matches as perfectly as possible. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the fat cut …
In the photo, I’ve cut my strip on the left 1/2″ wider than needed to fit this wall. I don’t want this 1/2″ of wallpaper under my overlapped new strip, because the leaves a visible ridge. But you do want a little underlap, because you need that to prevent a gap from showing in the corner.
So in the photo, I’ve trimmed off most of that 1/2″ and trimmed it down to an unnoticeable 1/8″. How on earth can you get a trim that thin and that consistent?!
I use this handy metal plate with a rolled edge (on the left).
This plate has bends and other edges of other thicknesses , rounded edges , won’t leave marks on wallpaper, so it has many uses.
Here’s a close up of the trim guide edge that allows for that 1/8″ fat cut .
Back side of the plate. (Don’t mind the blue tape – it’s just there temporarily.)
This edge is a little thinner , and would cut too close for use in a corner. But it does have a use if you need a trim in an area where you don’t want the paper trimmed tightly into the edge / corner.
You’re looking at where wallpaper meets crown molding. This join edge has gaps between the molding and the wall in some areas, and other areas have gunk and uneven areas. Trimming with my usual trim guide would cut too close and let some of these icky things show. So here I’ve used the thicker trim guide. As you can see, it allows the wallpaper to wrap ever so teeny much of a bit, so it covers the bad area, but doesn’t creep onto the molding.
Here’s another example, along door molding. At the top, I used my usual thin trim guide (see below). But this allowed a bit of a gap to show, due to decades’ build up of paint , caulk , dirt , etc.
So, midway, I switched to using the steel plate as a trim guide. This made the cut just fat enough that the wallpaper wrapped a hair and covered the icky area.
Here’s my usual trim guide . I’m guessing it’s about 9″-12″ long .
You can see that the edge is very thin . In most cases, this is ideal, because it allows for good, tight trims right smack into corners and edges.
That steel plate shown above was invented by a colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) . They are all the same length, but they come with three different degrees of angles , and can be used for lots of wallpaper installation tasks .
The colleagues has them manufactured and then sells them to us paperhangers . She sells other cool tools , too. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these , or seeing what else she has, go here https://www.facebook.com/customwallpapertools or here https://www.wallpapertoolstore.com/?fbclid=IwAR2NFrG2gWSzNClNMB0gHDiQHbnkhyNhthaOFQaK8MCaU7rBYVQhYQkO0nc
Her name is Eunice , so we call them EuniTools .

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 .

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

Ceiling is NOwhere NEAR Level

November 29, 2022
We wallpaper hangers / installers like to have a nice straight ceiling line . Meaning, that the same pattern motif will show up at the same height on the wall on every strip . For instance, the top of the sailboat will touch the bottom of the crown molding all the way around the room.
But in old houses, poorly-built houses, or just plain old wonky houses (which are most homes in Houston! ), you can’t count on ceilings and floors being level , nor on walls being perfectly plumb .
When I used my level to check the ceiling in this 1926 home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood , I admit – I laughed out loud!
When a surface is level, the air bubble will be in the middle of the two black lines . It’s common for the bubble to be a little “off.” But this one isn’t even trying to be in the middle. Meaning – the ceiling is nowhere near level. The ceiling line is moving up and / or down as it moves across the room. The discrepancy can be as much as an inch or even more from one end of the room to the other.
Meaning, there is no way that that sailboat is going to be just below the ceiling on every strip.
Luckily, this particular wallpaper pattern was such that you aren’t going to notice much.
The other thing is, most people who live in older homes, or homes with shifting foundations , or even new homes , understand that walls and floors rearrange themselves over time . So they’re understanding if sailboats drift down the ceiling line , or if patterns don’t match absolutely perfectly in the corners.

Welcoming Room for Mother-in-Law

August 24, 2022
This young couple hosts the mother / mother-in-law a few times a year, and are lucky enough to have a private spare bedroom for her. To make it special, they wanted to jazz up the area a little. Enter this fun and whimsical wallpaper pattern .
The room before was a pretty shade of murky teal – but needed personality and warmth.
The wall started out with a light orange peel texture . I skim-floated the wall, and then sanded it smooth .
Along the baseboard at the floor , here’s the dust from sanding , along with the sanding sponge I use – this is a modern take on the idea of wrapping sandpaper around a block of wood .
I tack painter’s plastic across the wall from ceiling to floor to prevent dust from getting into the room or onto the furniture .
Here’s the wall smooth and primed , ready for wallpaper .
Since this is a dark wallpaper and I want to be sure that the white wall does not peek out from behind the seams, I stripe dark paint along the wall under where the seams will fall. Because non-woven papers don’t expand when wet with paste , it’s simple to measure the width of your strips and plot out where each seam will fall. Use the laser level as your guide . Do a Search here (upper right hand corner) to read more about this technique.
I use craft paint from Texas Art Supply (or any hobby store ), diluted with water from a Gatorade bottle cap , and applied with a scrap of sponge .
Further insurance is taking a chalk pastel (never oil pastel – oil bleeds and will stain wallpaper) and running it along the edge of the wallpaper strip – from the backside to avoid staining the surface – to cover the white substrate the wallpaper is printed on. This is to prevent white from peeking out at the seams , which can happen with dark papers.
Centering the first strip in the middle of the wall, and using my laser level to ensure the strip is nice and straight and plumb .
Note: The strip is not centered on the wall. The dominant pattern element is. Notice that the center of the dominant pattern motif – the white circular flower – is 3.5″ to the right of the left edge. This means that I had to position the left edge of the wallpaper 3.5″ to the left of the center of the wall, in order to get the round white flower to fall down the center of the wall.
When you look again at the finished photo, you’ll notice that the white flower falls down the middle of the walls, and that it also appears at equal distance from both the right and left walls.
Most people wouldn’t be able to put their finger on this symmetry , but it is something they subconsciously notice , and it lends a feeling of orderliness to the room.
As orderly as you can be, that is, with pigs dancing around the meadow dandelions !
Finished accent wall . The three other walls painted in blue were a bit of a surprise, because one would think the more dominant color of green would be used. But with so much green in the wallpaper, green on the walls, too, would have been too much, perhaps. I like the cool feeling that the blue creates .
There is plenty of the exact same blue in the wallpaper pattern to tie the walls and wallpaper together.
Close up shows the stamped printing technique .
You’ve gotta love a frolicking pig in a hand-knitted sweater!
This pattern is called Hoppet Folk and is in the Wonderland line by Borastapeter , a Scandinavian company .
It’s a nice, sturdy but flexible non-woven material that can be hung via the paste the wall installation method .
In addition, this product will strip off the wall easily and in one piece , with no damage to your walls, when it’s time to redecorate.
This is a very popular pattern, and I’ve hung it more times than I can count, just in the last two or three years. It does come in other colors – but most people gravitate toward this black version.
The townhome is in the Rice Military area of central Houston .

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.

Sneaky Snaky Dining Room Accent Wall

August 6, 2022
Beautiful symmetry …
But look closer – those intertwining lines aren’t fronds of vegetation – they’re snakes !
The wall before. It’s a mid-century home, but the drywall here is new. Per my request, the contractor left it taped and floated , but not painted or covered with any coating .
I had planned to simply prime this wall. But after examining it more closely, the surface was a little grittier than I like. So I ended up applying a very light skim-coat and sanding it smooth .
Here the smoothed wall has been primed with Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime .
I’m plotted out the center of the wall and am using my laser level to ensure that the design in my first strip falls right along the center, and also is nice and plumb .
My work table with two strips of wallpaper . Spoonflower packages its wallpaper differently from other companies. It comes in widths of 24″ and lengths of your choice of 3,’ 6,’ 9,’ or 12.’
Get their Pre-Pasted Removable Smooth option, which is water-activated , and is wonderful stuff.
Do NOT get the Peel & Stick , nor the Traditional Pebble . The P&S and the Traditional are both very difficult to work with, and can lead to bubbles and creases on your walls , plus cause damage when the wallpaper is stripped off later.
Back to the photo – the blue cube thing in front is my laser level , shooting its red line at the wall.
Close-up
I’m using this blue plastic tape on the edge of this strip of wallpaper. This will prevent paste from getting onto the wall or ceiling.
The accent wall stops in this left hand corner, so I need to trim off the excess. But I don’t want to get paste onto the un-papered wall. Paste can cause the wall paint to crackle and flake off.
So here you see how the blue tape is keeping paste off the wall. Once I finish trimming, I’ll check the back to make sure all of the blue tape has been removed. Any areas where the blue tape might be still on the back of the wallpaper , the paper won’t adhere to the wall .
This tape is available to paperhangers / installers . If you’re interested, shoot me an email wallpaperlady@att.net
Another thing about Spoonflower , the seams are meant to be overlapped, by 3/4″ . Note that this does create a ridge that runs vertically the length of each seam. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t very noticeable.
Actually, there are advantages to overlapping seams in this manner. No worries about white substrates showing at the seams, nor the paper shrinking and leaving gaps at the seams.
Also, in case of unstable walls that might come apart ( delaminate ) under the tension of the drying / shrinking wallpaper, overlapping disperses the tension and helps prevent wall failure.
This pattern is called Serpents and Apples and is by Spoonflower . Spoonflower has a lot of cute designs , and also a good number of fun avant garde patterns like this one.
The homeowners have some other non-typical d├ęcor that will meld perfectly with this wallpaper. Think life-sized skeletons .
… Notice how that light fixture hanging in the center of the wall kinda looks like a skull ? …
The home is in the Oak Forest area of northwest Houston .

Leopards Prowl Inspired Powder Room

August 5, 2022
Vanity wall was originally textured and painted with a semi-gloss . Here it’s been skim-floated , sanded , and primed – ready for wallpaper.
Finished. There’s a cool light-up mirror that will hang on the brackets under the light fixture .
Opposite corner before.
Finished. This room wouldn’t have half the impact without the black moldings and ceiling. The homeowner said she envisioned a jewel box – all tufted and lined with velvet . Well, I’d say she nailed the look!
As the dark and mysterious wallpaper moved from left to right, the room began to take on a mood . I love the juxtaposition between a clad wall and a bare wall.
Close-up.
Detail.
The husband is handy, and I really appreciate that he removed the vanity and sink . This made it a lot faster and easier for me, and ensured better adhesion of the wallpaper around the plumbing pipes . And also eliminated stress and creases on the paper that can happen when bending and folding to work it around obstacles.
Here is the modern looking vanity that will go into the powder room .
To keep white primer from showing at the seams , I striped black paint on the wall under where each seam would fall. Do a Search here to read previous posts about this technique.
I use matt finish craft paint from the hobby store , a scrap of sponge , and a bottle cap full of water . Do a Search here to read previous posts about the process and materials .
I also run chalk along the edges of the wallpaper, to cover up the white substrate , to ensure there will be no white peeking out at the seams . Again, do a Search on key words to learn more about this technique .
Dang it! I forgot to take a picture of the label! But this wallpaper is by York and is called On The Prowl .
It’s vinyl on a non-woven backing . The instructions said you could paste the wall for installation . But I pasted the paper, and I think with this product it’s better, because it did seem to want to expand a bit. If you paste the wall and then the paper stretches, you’ll end up with buckles at the seams or bubbles within the strips .
The material was fairly flexible , which was nice because it allowed me to “mush” the paper to conform to some pretty un-plumb walls.
Although York is one of my favorite brands , I wasn’t real crazy about this particular wallpaper. Still, it seamed up nicely, didn’t shrink, has a vinyl surface that will resist splashes and fingerprints , and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate .
This is a townhome in the Rice Military area of central Houston .

Don’t Assume the Width

June 30, 2022
Here’s a finished map / mural on an accent wall in a child’s room in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston.
It’s made by Rebel Walls ( rebelwalls.com ), one of my favorite mural companies, and was custom-sized to fit this wall.
The mural came in a set of nine panels. The instructions above explain how the mural should be hung.
Careful measurements are important, both before ordering (note: Always let the wallpaper installer calculate rollage and mural dimensions before your order ) and then before you start hanging the mural.
This one large roll was cut apart into nine panels. You see them rolled up at the top of the photo.
Each of those panels was 19.75″ wide. So based on that, you might start measuring and calculating and plotting where to position your panels on the wall.
STOP!
Just because the manufacturer’s stock comes 19.75″ wide doesn’t mean that the printed part of each panel fills that full width.
The mural was custom-sized to fit the wall, right? The width of the wall is not an exact multiple of 19.75″. That means that the printed portion of the last panel will be narrower than the others. As you can see in the last photo, that narrow portion turned out to be just 2.5″ wide.
So it’s important that you unroll every strip / panel and take careful measurements of both the wall and the wallpaper , before cutting anything and definitely before pasting anything to the wall.
One more thing, while we’re on the topic of murals. Please don’t order until the paperhanger has measured and figured . It’s very important that the mural NOT be printed to the exact dimensions of the wall. FOUR INCHES of ” bleed ” are necessary to be added to EACH DIMENSION (meaning, four inches added to both width and height ). This will allow for trimming at floor and ceiling , and will accommodate walls / ceilings / floors that are not perfectly level or plumb.