Posts Tagged ‘razor blade’

Mural’s Too Short – Filling The Gap

January 19, 2022
The homeowner purchased this graffiti mural before consulting with me, and didn’t realize that it was not tall enough to fit the 9′ high walls in her sons’ room. So here you see the 4.5″ gap along the bottom. At first she was just going to leave it, because once the beds got pushed back into place, most of this gap would be hidden.
But I wanted to cover up the gap. The mural was too short for the wall, but it was also too wide. That meant we had a full unused 29″ wide panel to play with. There was a section that had a lot of asphalt area. So I took my straightedge and a razor blade and ruler and trimmed strips that were 5″ high.
Here I am applying the strips over the gap. I’m using clear adhesive latex caulk along the top edge of the strips where they overlap 1/2″ along the bottom of the mural … The surface of the mural is vinyl, and wallpaper paste doesn’t like to stick to a slippery surface like vinyl. The section that matched the asphalt in the mural best I placed in the center of the wall, where there would be a small space between the two beds. The beds look like race cars, BTW.
Here it is finished. From a distance, you would never think that the bottom was pieced in.

Solution to Spacing Discrepancy

January 8, 2022
Re previous post ,,, this wallpaper came with an 1/8″ strip of pattern on the right side of the paper. That little diagonal nub of an arm was posed to complicate matching the pattern to the next strip. Too complicated to get into here. I determined that it would be easier and faster to match the pattern and hang the paper if that nub were not there. And losing 1/8″ of black background would not be noticeable.s
My solution was to take my fancy new straightedge and a razor blade and trim off that 1/8″. This gave me a new edge that ended right along the outer side of the gold line.
Trimming 12 rolls (six double roll bolts) is meticulous work and it took me about an hour and a half. But it saved me time in matching up the pattern, and eliminated minute mis-matches at the seams.

Fun Kill Point With Schumacher Versailles

December 3, 2021
The kill point is your last corner in a room, where your last strip of wallpaper meets up with the first strip you hung hours ago. This virtually always results in a pattern mis-match, In the photo above, if I were to add the next strip of wallpaper to the right of the striped section, in the order it’s supposed to be hung, a mis-match would result when that design lands in the corner and bumps against the leaves and flowers to the right.
I thought I could make it look better. Instead of matching the pattern in proper sequence coming from the left, I decided to cut a fresh strip and match it with the strip on the right.
This gave me a perfect pattern match. But left me with a 1″ gap between the strips.
I could fill that gap in with a strip of plain blue paper, cut from scrap wallpaper in the trash pile. But this particular pattern didn’t have any areas with 1″ width of unprinted paper. So I used my straightedge and a razor blade and cut two 1/2″ wide strips of paper the height of this area over the door.
Here I have placed the first of these next to the strip on the right.
Here I have butted the second 1/2″ strip up against the first one, and am tucking it underneath the striped strip to its left. The vertical lines in the design will disguise any ridges caused by the overlap. Besides – who’s gonna notice this 9′ up, anyway?
Here it is, finished and smoothed into place. Note that these strips are still wet, and will be homogeneous in color once they all dry.
Here’s the finished corner. Remember – it still needs to dry. You can’t notice that there’s an inch of extra blue space in there.
From a distance.

“Reveal,” “Shadow Line,” “Floating Wall” in Contemporary Construction

October 17, 2021

I’m not sure exactly what this effect is called, but I see it now and then in modern styled homes. It’s a 3/8″ or so gap between the baseboard and the drywall up above. The idea is to make the wall look like it’s floating.

When I hung wallpaper in this bathroom, instead of trimming the excess at the bottom against the baseboard, I wielded a single-edge razor blade (near the bottom left in the photo) and trimmed it at the bottom of the “floating” drywall, leaving a tiny gap, which creates a sort of shadow line when viewed from above.

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

Door Hidden By Wallpaper

August 4, 2021

Not many homes have hidden doors.

But this one did. It’s hiding a simple medicine cabinet.

The most notable thing is that the cabinet is not over the sink, as in most bathrooms. Instead, it is on the opposite wall, over the toilet.

There is plenty of room here for the door to open and close without the thickness of the wallpaper causing a log jam.

I hung the paper in the usual way, and then used a new and very sharp razor blade to cut around the door opening.

Rectifying a Mistake

July 2, 2021
Whoops! This wallpaper strip ended up too short. I suspect I forgot to add the 3″ extra for trimming at ceiling and floor. Sure would like to avoid replacing this whole strip.
I could have spliced a piece in horizontally. But that would have left a (slightly) visible horizontal seam, as well as put stress on the wall if the razor blade scored the surface. So I opted to patch in a piece. To disguise the patch, I cut along the design, and discarded the bottom piece.
Then I used scrap paper and cut along the same part of the design, making sure to leave a thin part of the design that would be overlapped (don’t want any gaps showing).
This patch was placed under the piece on the wall, with the top piece overlapping from above (less noticeable when viewed from above … the direction of lighting also affects this). Once all pieces were smoothed into place, it’s intact and homogeneous, and, best of all – undetectable.

Created Wallpaper “Border” to Separate Bookcases from Wall

June 12, 2021

thought the left edge where the wallpaper meets the molding of the bookcase was too much white-on-white.

To create some definition between the two surfaces, as well as to continue the them of the wallpaper, I took some scrap paper and custom-cut a strip of blue. I cut the right edge straight, Then I used a razor blade to trim along the irregular outline of the design.

I pasted the strip, and then appliqu├ęd it over the wallpaper in the corner.

Now there is a visual break between the two walls. Even though the blocks on the left edge of the wallpaper are less than full width, your eye doesn’t notice it.

The eye is fooled into thinking it’s seeing a complete panel of the wallpaper pattern.

This is called “Feather” and is by Serena & Lily – one of my favorite brands.

Hand Trimming Wallpaper

May 13, 2021

Some wallpapers (usually the higher-end brands) are not pre-trimmed at the factory. They come with an unprinted selvedge edge, much like fabric. This needs to be trimmed off before the paper can go up on the wall.

If you’re lucky, the manufacturer will have provided printed trim guides / marks. And if you’re really lucky, the trim guides will be “true” (accurate).

Trimming off this selvedge takes concentration, precision, and the right tools. Here you see my table, protective polystyrene strip, brass-bound straightedge, plus a good old trusty single edge razor blade.

Burnished Copper Colors in Home Bar Area

May 6, 2021

tThe homeowner loved the coppery-hued colors in this “Carousel Stripe” pattern by Cole & Son. The colors mesh beautifully with the wood tones, and also the brass faucet, in this home bar area.

What’s interesting is that I think the colors (especially the red) are more intense now, than in the samples she got from the vendor. In fact, one complaint of hers was that the vendor sent just one small snip of the paper, and didn’t show the full color spectrum of all 10 stripes that make up the pattern.

No matter. The finished effect really sets off the bar backsplash, and will be a fabulous backdrop once the bottles and glasses are back in place.

This wallpaper is a non-woven material, which is made of synthetic fibers rather than wood or cotton pulp. Instead of the paste-the-wall installation method, I chose to paste-the-paper. This made the material more flexible and manageable, which helped a lot, because when it was dry, it really wanted to crease and flake.

TFor instance, the racks sitting on the counter in the first photo could not be removed. Manipulating, fitting and trimming the wallpaper around the sharp bends and angles without marring the wallpaper was very difficult.

The non-woven, synthetic-origin material (think fiberglass) was also really hard to cut. Even with a brand-new razor blade, I had trouble getting perfect cuts around moldings, and also in a whole lot of other simpler areas.

These two rooms were hard enough, with minimal angles and corners and intricate moldings. If this had been a bathroom, or another room with a lot of turns and fancy cuts, it would have been really difficult to prevent creases and other damage to the wallpaper.

As it was, I spent about nine hours hanging these four single rolls of paper.

This is a wonderfully restored 1939 home in the Rice University area of central Houston.