Posts Tagged ‘run number’

Run Numbers Are Important

April 14, 2019


I hung two wallpapers today, both from Anthropologie, and in both cases, the homeowner measured and purchased paper before I had measured and figured how much to buy. In both cases, they were a double roll short. I told them that when they ordered the extra double roll, to be sure to ask for the same run number as the rolls they already had.

Unfortunately, in both instances, Anthropologie sent a different run. Probably, the guy in the warehouse didn’t get the message from the people in the order department, so he just pulled any old bolt of paper off the shelf.

Run numbers DO make a difference. As you can see in the second photo, the butterflies are clearly different colors. And in the third photo, the color difference (red flower, brown leaf) is less dramatic, but still noticeable. The white background is probably a slightly different color, too. If these strips were placed next to each other on the same wall, you would notice an abrupt color difference the full height of the wall.

So it’s important to make sure that all your bolts of wallpaper are of the same run number.

Run number, also called batch number or dye lot, refers to rolls that were all printed at the same time. The next time the manufacturer is ready to print up that pattern, he will mix up a new batch of ink – but that batch might be a slightly different shade than what was printed previously.

Because these color differences will be noticeable on the wall, it’s important that they not be used next to each other. You can use different runs on separate walls, but not on the same wall. If you are forced to use broken runs, as they are called, you’ll need to buy a little extra paper, because there will be more waste as you switch from one run to the other.

Anthropologie Gem Stones on Dining Room Accent Wall

April 11, 2019

Talk about going from boring to bold! The homeowner likes geology, didn’t like the boring beige walls, and wanted to pull in some blue to this dining room, because she has dark blue accents in the adjoining living room. What a great choice this paper is!

The paper is by York, in the Antonia Vella line, and was bought through Anthropologie – but it is available via regular wallpaper retailers, too, like my favorite source (see page at right).

This homeowner purchased her paper before I came out to measure and, like many people unfamiliar with measuring for wallpaper, she ordered too little. So I had her order one more double roll… which, even though she requested the same run of #58, they sent run #88. I ended up needing that additional bolt for just the two short strips over the window, so the color difference between the two runs was not really very noticeable.

The dimensions in this room relative to the dimensions of the wallpaper were amazing. Because the two walls on either side of the window were symmetrical, and because the homeowners had a buffet and a china cabinet centered on each wall, I wanted to center the pattern in the middle of each wall. This meant that as the strips of paper met over the window, there would be a pattern mis-match. But since it was only 10″ high, and since the pattern was so wild, I figured I could disguise the mis-match fairly well.

What’s cool is, each of those wall spaces turned out to be just a tad less than the width of three strips of wallpaper (27″). So when I centered the first strip, and then hung one more on either side of it, only about 3/4″ needed to be trimmed off each side – and the pattern remained virtually intact. Meaning that none of the swoopy lines got chopped off vertically.

And then, as I was bringing the two pieces over the window together in the center of the window, it turned out that the width of the window was amazingly just a smidgen less than the width of the two strips of wallpaper. So when the two strips met in the middle, there wasn’t much of a pattern mis-match at all. Only about an inch of paper was lost, and the pattern was not disrupted visually much at all.

I don’t think I’ve ever hung wallpaper on a wall where the dimensions worked out so miraculously perfectly.

This home is in the Timbergrove neighborhood of Houston.

Three-Dimensional Square “Dots” on Pale Neutral Grasscloth

April 2, 2019


Thibaut’s “Union Square” wallpaper pattern is a response to the popular Phillip Jeffries’s “Rivets.” Thibaut’s looser design and pattern placement make it much easier to align with the walls and woodwork – including rooms that are out of square and out of plumb. Which is just about every house in every neighborhood in every state.

The 3-D squares are made of some kind of plastic stuff, and are virtually impossible to cut through with a razor blade or a scissors (such as when trimming at the ceiling door or window moldings). I was able to engineer the room so that I did not have to cut through any of those rivets! Because the PJ pattern is much tighter, this would have been virtually impossible.

Also, I found that my soft short-bristled smoothing brush worked well enough to press the material against the wall while skimming over the 3/8″ high square bumps (sorry, for some reason, the photo did not turn out). But my beloved plastic trapezoidal squeegee smoother was just about useless, because it would not accommodate the 3-D “rivets.” So I had to adjust my install tactics a bit, and figure how to get along without the plastic smoother.

This wallcovering is made of grasscloth, which provides the subtle texture that homeowners are loving these days. But because grasscloth is made of natural fibers, there can be a lot of variations between bolts, and even between strips off the same bolt.

For that reason, Thibaut not only notes the run number of a bolt of wallpaper, but also the sequence in which the material was produced (see photo). The idea is that if you hang strips sequentially, you will see less shading or paneling (difference in color between two strips of wallcovering). Thibaut’s insert also includes a LOT of jargon about the color differences inherent to natural products, and the admonishment to use the bolts and strips sequentially.

I used three double rolls / bolts of grasscloth for this entry. Two of the bolts (the first two in the sequence) were pretty homogenous in color. The room was small and had low ceilings, and so I was able to keep the three strips needed for the longest wall all from the same bolt (#1).

I cut my other full-length strips from the second bolt (#2). That left the third bolt (#3) for the many short pieces needed to go over the four doorways in the room. As you can see from the last two photos, even though it was the same run number and printed at the same time, this third bolt was noticeably different in color from the previous two. The background color is the same, but there is a lot – a LOT – more dark brown fibrous material that got worked into the woven grass material.

Keeping these darker strips over the doors was a good way to minimize this color difference. The strips were only 9″ high. If these strips had been placed side-by-side on an 8′ high wall, the color difference would have been abruptly noticeable.

Color variations are to be expected with grasscloth, or any natural product. But helpful labeling by the manufacturer, and careful plotting by the installer, can minimize these differences.

This ’60’s-era ranch-style home in the Briargrove neighborhood of Houston is very much a “sea of tranquility,” as the whole house is entwined in off-whites, creams, and tans, with various textures like rough wood, sisal, and this grasscloth, used to pull in depth and warmth.

The interior designer on this project is Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors.

Different Runs

February 8, 2019


Look at the center of the photo. See that slight color difference between the strip on the left and the strip on the right? This is most likely due to the two strips coming from two different run numbers. These can also be called batch numbers or dye lots.

This means that all paper that is printed from one batch of ink is given a run number. Three months later, when the manufacturer is ready to print another lot of wallpaper, a new pot of ink is mixed up. Chances are that that new kettle of ink won’t be exactly-dactly the very same shade as what was used previously.

This means that the two batches of wallpaper will be ever so slightly different in color. If strips of paper from the two different runs are put on the wall next to each other, you will notice the color difference. So each batch of ink, and the paper that is printed with it, is given a run number.

That way, the installer can be sure that all the wallpaper for his job will be printed at the same time, of the same run number, and all the same shade.

Checking for run number is the first thing every installer should do, before starting to hang wallpaper. In fact, in my “how to prepare for install day” info pack, I ask my clients to check to be sure all bolts are of the same run number. That way, if there is a problem, there will be time to return the bolts and get new paper that is all of the same dye lot.

If you end up with a broken run (two or more different run numbers), it is possible to use the paper, but you have to keep the different runs on separate walls… your eye will not notice a subtle color difference if the papers are on different walls. But this uses up a lot more paper.

Run Numbers Running Wild – Not Acceptable

April 4, 2018


For this job, the vendor sent FOUR different run numbers, plus two bolts that had no run numbers at all. It all had to be sent back and exchanged for new paper – all in the same run, please!

Run numbers are very important. When wallpaper is printed, each batch is marked with a run number. The next time the manufacturer makes a batch of wallpaper, a new vat of ink will be mixed up, and it will be an ever-so-slightly different shade from that which was used before. So that new batch of wallpaper will be given a new run number.

These color differences are minor – but if they are placed next to each other on a wall, you will have a very noticeable color change from one strip to the next. In the second photo, you can probably see the difference in color between the red flowers, and maybe even the green and brown foliage.

In the third photo, a smaller rectangle of the wallpaper pattern has been placed on top of a larger rectangle. All around the perimeter, you can see a slight color difference between the reds, greens, nad browns.

But it’s important to realize that the background will also be of a slightly different shade.

When two strips of two different runs are placed next to one another on a wall, the shade difference will be obvious in the form of a floor-to-ceiling slight-but-noticeable color difference. https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/two-runs-are-not-fun/

It’s possible to work with this, by “breaking” the runs in a corner. But this uses up a lot more paper, and it’s too complicated to explain here.

This wallpaper was bought from an on-line mass-marketer. I like the quality of their products. But they seem to have no clue of how wallpaper works, and the customer service person had no grasp of what a run number was or why it mattered. From a vendor like this, you can pretty much expect that they have a bunch of stock shoved into shelves in the warehouse, and when someone buys some, a worker just goes out and pulls any old rolls from the stack, willy-nilly, with no regard to run number, damaged goods, and may not even check to ensure they are all the same product number – A coupla months ago, I got the same pattern but in two different colorways.

The bottom line is, buy your paper from a reputable source, check the run numbers when the paper arrives, and, if necessary, keep separate runs on separate walls.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

June 10, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


I have arrived at the home, ready to hang some wallpaper. Notice anything?

This box of wallpaper has never been opened. That means that the homeowner or interior designer has not checked to be sure that:

1. The right pattern has been received

2. The right number of rolls have been received

3. The rolls are all of the same run number

4. The paper has not been damaged in shipping

5. Any special instructions or requirements have been taken into consideration

Shaded Grasscloth

March 10, 2016

Grasscloth, Shaded
This grasscloth displays what we call “shading” – slight difference in color between strips.

Additionally, often the dye will be darker on the right and left edges of the paper, than it is in the center.  Sometimes, the color difference starts horizontally in the middle of a strip.

This paper is still on the roll. Imagine how it will look on your wall.

When each strip on wall is a slightly different color, we call that “paneling.”

All these bolts are the same run number / dye lot, meaning they were printed at the same time with the same batch of ink.

This is not considered a defect. It is what the manufacturers call “the inherent natural beauty of the product.”

They will not replace material that looks like this.

Not all grasscloth looks this bad, but many do. If you choose any sort of natural material, be prepared for your walls to look like this.

This brand is Schumacher.

Color Difference in Grasscloth

November 27, 2015

Digital Image

Digital Image


Here are two strips of grasscloth from the same run number / dye lot – meaning that they were printed at the same time from the same batch of ink. Notice the very visible difference in color between the two strips. Dry, on my table, the difference is noticeable. Pasted and up on the wall, the color difference can be jarring.

This is called “paneling” or “shading,” and is considered standard / acceptable when decorating with grasscloth. As the manufacturers put it, it is part of the “inherent natural beauty of the product.”

Same Grasscloth; Different Colors

November 15, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


The grasscloth on the right was bought a year or so ago. It was left over and the homeowners wanted to use it on a new project. They needed additional paper to do the space, and so ordered a new bolt of paper. As you can see, there is a noticeable difference in color and texture between the two bolts, manufactured at different times. This is known as “run number” or “dye lot.”

It is also called “shading” and “paneling,” which refers to the difference in color between strips on the same wall. I had enough paper to cut all my strips from the new bolt, so there was minimal color difference on this project.

Another Example of Paneling in Grasscloth

July 2, 2015
Digital Image

Digital Image

This finely textured grasscloth is by Phillip Jeffries, a fairly high-end brand. All the bolts were the same run number. Yet, as you can see, there is a noticeable color difference between strips. This is called paneling. Here – short strips, under and above the windows, somewhat obscured by drapes – it’s not too noticeable. But imagine if you had 9′ strips next to each other on a wide wall, with this color difference.

This is not considered a defect (and the manufacturer will not replace the wallpaper). This is normal, and it’s considered part of the “inherent beauty of the natural product.”