Posts Tagged ‘popped seam’

Fun Over-the-Door Kill Point With Swirled Damask

October 10, 2021
Often when hanging wallpaper, you start in a corner. As you work your way around the room and make your way back to that corner, and your final strip meets up with the first strip, this virtually always results in a pattern mis-match (not shown). That’s why we try to hide it behind a door or in another inconspicuous place. But sometimes, as in this powder room, there is no out-of-the-line-of-sight corner to put the “kill point,” as we call it. I think the room looks better when the pattern matches in all four corners (as in the photo).
So, instead of ending with an 8′ long pattern mis-match in a corner of this room, I decided to put it in a 1′ high area over the door – where not many people are going to be looking, anyway. Here is the gap where my last strip (on the right) will meet up with the first strip (on the left) .
Positioning the last strip in place.
Here I have overlapped the final strip on top of the first strip. Amazingly, the pattern looks like it matches. (The pattern doesn’t really match, but the design is so similar that no one is going to detect the difference.)
Once the strip on the left is overlapped onto the strip on the right, I’m ready to make a double cut – a fancy term for a splice. I cut through both layers of wallpaper – in this case squiggling a little to follow the contours of the design, rather than make a sharp straight cut. In the photo, I’m removing the cut-off piece from the top layer.
Here I have removed both cut-off pieces, from the top and bottom layers, and am getting ready to fit the two remaining strips together.
Strips smoothed together, pasted wiped off the surface, and this looks pretty darned good!
Here I’ve done a few touch-ups with pencil, to soften the look of the two very small motifs that got chopped off straight. A little more artistry with colored pencils, chalk, or paint would disguise these even more.
It’s important to note that you don’t want to make your splice directly on the wall. You don’t want to risk that your razor blade could score the wall surface. Because if the wall becomes un-intact, when the wallpaper dries and shrinks and puts torque / tension on the seam (and this doesn’t always happen right away … it can happen over time, with changes in temperature and humidity), it can cause the disturbed / cut portion of wall to delaminate and pull apart. This means that this weak point in the wall can come apart, resulting in a seam that pops open, taking interior layers of the wall with it. This is a lot harder to fix than a strip of wallpaper that simply comes loose from the wall. The best way to prevent this is to not cut into the wall in the first place. The best way to ensure that is to use something to protect the wall when you make your cut. Some people pad the wall with scrap wallpaper, or strips of old vinyl. But I much prefer these ingenious strips of polycarbonate plastic (pictured). They are thin and flexible, but hard enough that there is no way you could push a razor blade through them. They’re about 2.5″ wide, and come in rolls of … I forget how many feet are on a roll. If you are interested in getting your hands on some of this stuff, send me a Message, or email me at wallpaperlady@att.net

Fudging The Pattern To Make It Look Like It Matches

June 15, 2019


Top photo – this wallpaper has a subtle stripe pattern formed by vertical blocks of squares. As I mentioned in the previous post (below), I centered the white stripe pattern on each wall. And that meant that as the wallpaper moved its way across the wall and up over the doorways, the squares making up the pattern would be out of sequence as they met in the center over the doors, resulting in a pattern mis-match.

To further complicate things, I felt the room would look better with the white stripe also centered over each doorway and window.

My challenges were to:

~ Keep the squares positioned so the horizontal lines of the pieces over the doors aligned with the horizontal lines on the full-height strips to either side. That was harder than it sounds, because on two of the doorways, the center point where I started was 6′ away from the target I was trying to line up with. In some cases, I trimmed the edge of a doorway header strip every so slightly at a diagonal, so as to move that top line of the square up or down, so it would match up with the target line.

~ Keep the pattern inside the squares looking like they were following the original sequence. In other words, I didn’t want a tan square to land abruptly next to a white square. All those squares had to ease into one another. The pattern was a bit forgiving, because the squares were of varying widths, so the eye wouldn’t notice if some were wider or narrower than originally printed. So I used a straightedge and razor blade to cut some of the header strips apart vertically, eliminating tan or white squares as needed. I could also cut some additional squares and insert them in between strips.

If this were a thin paper-paper, I could have simply trimmed along a vertical line and then overlapped the two pieces. But this non-woven material is thick, and an overlap would show, probably even from 9′ up and over the door moldings. So I used a double-cut (splice) technique.

In the photo, you see the opening I am trying to bridge. In the next photo, I have positioned a piece of paper so that it lines up with the horizontal lines on both the left and right. This piece overlaps an inch or two onto the strip to the right. You can just barely see a bit of the blue plastic tape I am using to keep paste off the piece that it is overlapping.

Now it’s time to make the double-cut. I have placed a strip of polystyrene plastic on the wall under where my splice will take place. This will prevent my razor blade from scoring into the wall surface below. This is important, because an un-intact wall surface may give way when the tension from drying / shrinking wallpaper tugs on it, causing a popped seam.

I found a spot among the vertical lines where I could have the spacing between lines and squares look similar to the natural rhythm of the design. Using a straightedge and new razor blade, I cut vertically through both layers of wallpaper. In the photo, you see the excess paper of the top piece, along with its protective blue plastic, falling away.

Not shown is removal of the excess piece from the strip of paper on the bottom, and also removal of the polystyrene padding strip. The blue tape was also pulled away.

The last shot shows the area over the door after the spliced pieces were smoothed back into place. Perfect!

Nobody would guess that the pattern is a tad out of sequence.

And, yes, all this takes engineering, concentration, and time. There were five sections over the doors and windows, each only 13″ high. I spent more than six hours on just these five sections.

Clever Kill Point – Eliminating a Pattern Mis-Match, Damask Pattern

January 15, 2019

When you hang wallpaper around a room, usually starting in a corner, the pattern on your last strip will never perfectly match up with the pattern where you first started. So we try to hide this in the least conspicuous place – like behind a door.

But in this room, there were no “hidden corners” that would be obscured by a door. Since all four corners were very visible, I wanted them all to have their pattern match perfectly.

So I had to find another place put that “kill point,” – where the last piece meets up with the first piece. I decided to put that over the door, a 20″ high strip. I figured that would be less noticeable than a 7″ length in a visible corner.

Sorry, for some reason, my “before” photo disappeared; it was a shot of the gap over the door where the last strip was coming to meet the first strip.

In the top photo above, I have overlapped the two strips, to see how “off” the pattern match will be. I am preparing to splice these two strips together, and will use some tricks to make that pattern mis-match less noticeable.

Next, I padded the wall with some scrap paper. This means that I placed a width of scrap paper behind these two pieces that will be spliced together. This is to protect the wall from being scored when I make my splice. You don’t want to cut into the wall when doing a splice, because, when the wallpaper dries and pulls tight, it can put tension on the wall, sufficient to cause the layers to delaminate and pull apart, creating a “popped” seam.

Next, I took a sharp, new razor blade and cut through both layers of wallpaper, using the swerving lines in the damask design as a guild – a swerving cut will be less noticeable than a straight like that cuts abruptly through the pattern.

This is tricky, because you want to cut through two layers of wallpaper, but not into or through the third layer that is being used to pad and protect the wall.

Second photo – I screwed up! For some reason, I had trouble cutting through the two layers of wallpaper. I tried twice, but each time I only cut through one layer. So I attempted it one last time, making sure to push really hard on the razor blade.

Well, now the razor blade was ready to do its job … But it was too zealous … This third attempt, the blade cut neatly through both layers of wallpaper, which is good. But it also cut through the third layer of wallpaper I had put behind everything, to protect the wall. And into the wall underneath. In the photo, you can see how the drywall was scored. This is bad.

To prevent the drying / shrinking wallpaper from tugging on those cut edges of drywall, I grabbed some special paper tape I keep in the van, and placed strips over the curved cuts in the drywall. These are very difficult to see, but the paper strips are there, in the third photo.

Then I fit the two strips of wallpaper back together, smoothing them into place over the paper tape. Then I made sure to wipe off any paste residue that was left on the surface.

Now, if those two spliced strips of wallpaper should shrink as they dry and put tension on the wall, the tension will not be on the cuts in the wall, but rather on the strips of paper. The strip of paper tape will disperse the tension over it’s 1″ width, and keep it away from the weakened areas of the cut drywall. This should prevent any delaminating of the drywall, and prevent any popped seams.

In the last photo, we are back to hiding that last seam, the “kill point.” From down below, your eye will never pick out any pattern mis-match. Mission Accomplished!