Posts Tagged ‘shrink’

“Shrinking” a Strip of Wallpaper, to Avoid a Bad Seam Placement

August 1, 2021
The strip on the left over the door was going to extend to the right, about 2″ beyond the door frame and wall corner. This was going to result in an awkward seam placement, and make for a difficult install of the next two strips. I could avoid this by moving that next seam to over the right corner of the door. To do this, I had to “shrink” the strip over the door. I cut along the pattern, and pulled out the right half of the strip. Then I hung the full-length strip to the right, making sure to position the motifs so they would line up with the motifs on the left.
Here I am placing that right portion of the strip next to the full-height strip on the right. I am lapping it under the strip to the left. (The blue plastic tape you see at the top is to keep paste off the ceiling paint.)
Trimmed at ceiling and molding, and smoothed into place. Because I sliced the paper vertically along the design of the tree trunk, once the pieces are smoothed back into place, you don’t notice at all that about 1″ of material and pattern are missing.

Preventing White From Showing At The Seams

July 8, 2021
Chalk pastels for coloring the edges of the wallpaper. (Do NOT use oil pastels – they stain wallpaper.)
Craft paint from the hobby store used to stripe the wall where the wallpaper seams will fall. Note the red vertical line from my laser level, which serves as a guide. I use a small square of dampened sponge to wipe on the paint. Be sure to let it dry before hanging the paper.

Manufacturers have a bad habit of printing dark wallpapers on white substrates. Since wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, and then shrinks as it dries, you have the potential for the white edges of the paper showing at the seams. There is also the possibility that the white wall behind the paper will be exposed, too.

To minimize these chances, I use chalk pastels to color the edges of the wallpaper, and diluted craft paint to stripe under where the seams will fall.

Overlapping At The Seams

June 30, 2021

Re my previous post … the strips on this 6-panel mural are intended to be overlapped, by about a full inch.

There are advantages to this. Since wallpaper shrinks as it dries, it an result in gaps at the seams. Overlapping the seams prevents that.

Wallpaper that is drying and shrinking is also tugging at the wall behind it, which puts stress on the surface. If that surface is unstable, this tension could cause the layers inside the wall to give way and pull apart, resulting in open seams and a delaminated sub-surface. Overlapping the paper redistributes and minimizes the tension, and it also eliminates an open area where the two sides of the seam could pull away from the wall.

A disadvantage of the overlap method is that you can see the cut edge of the paper (see photo), and you also end up with a 1″ wide ridge running under the paper the full length of each seam. In this case, with such a busy pattern, you are not going to see that ridge.

Helping To Hide Seams

January 23, 2021

Like most wallpapers, this Sure Strip by York can be expected to expand a bit when it becomes wet with the paste. Once it’s on the wall, it will dry and give up moisture – and that results in a tad of shrinkage. That usually means you might see just a teeny bit of a gap at the seams.

Not usually a big deal. But when you have a dark or bold color such as this on a light background and also printed on a white backing, if the paper shrinks and gaps, you can end up with a hairline’s breadth of the underlying wall surface and / or of the white wallpaper substrate showing through.

Layman’s terms: You might have a slight white line showing at the seams.

To help ward this off, I did two things. One was that I used red chalk to lightly color the edges of the wallpaper. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture, but you can Search here to see previous jobs where I employed that method.

The other thing was to stripe red paint under where the seams would fall.

This is a bit more complicated than it sounds. Because wallpaper will stretch when it gets wet with paste, making it difficult to guestimate exactly where the seam will fall, and thus where to run your red stripe.

Once you plot that out, you need a level to guide you by creating a plumb line at the appropriate point. And then mix your paint with water and use a brush or small sponge to run along that plumb line, straddling it widely enough to catch the seam wherever the gap might end up actually falling.

Also, the red paint needs to be good and dry before you put wallpaper on top of it. So this means you run the red stripe down the wall, and then get fans or a heat gun, or employ some other method to get the paint to dry quickly.

Oh, and … wallpaper works best when it’s hung on a wallpaper primer. Primers specific to wallpaper are designed to resist the tension created when wet wallpaper dries and shrinks a tad, putting stress on the seam area.

By running paint on the wall along the seam line, now you’ve covered up the wallpaper primer. There is no way to know if that perfectly pigmented craft store paint will hold up over the long run and keep the wallpaper seams tight to the wall.

That’s one reason I used a fairly light mix of the paint. A full-strength concentration of red paint might not allow the wallpaper paste to grip onto it. And definitely do not use a glossy paint. Nothing sticks to gloss.

As you can guess, this process adds a significant amount of time to your install. But it’s worth it, because, in the red room I hung pictured in previous posts, the seams were virtually invisible. I know that if I had not colored the edges of the paper as well as the wall, white would have shown just a teensy bit at the seams.

Mecca Mural – Re Previous Post

December 1, 2020

Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image


Here are some “finished” pics of the mural mentioned in my previous post.

This is one of the old-school (I hung this in 2013!) paper photo-murals that comes in eight panels, which are placed four across the top and then four across the bottom of the wall. See third photo, where three panels have been positioned on the wall.

The panels are overlapped about 1/2 inch at each seam. This eliminates gaps at the seams as the thin material dries and shrinks a tad. You are left with ridges along each of these overlapped seams. Not really very noticeable.

This type of material requires special powdered paste, which the manufacturer has supplied in the packet you see in the fourth photo. I use a kitchen hand-held submersion blender to mix it with water in a 1-gallon bucket. It has to sit for a half hour before using.

The material is more delicate and requires some special handling, compared to the newer non-woven material that most manufacturers are printing on these days.

This is a prayer room for a Muslim family in a suburb of Houston.

Dark Wallpaper Printed on Dark Backing

October 25, 2020

Usually, wallpaper is printed on a white substrate. But, because wallpaper tends to shrink a little when it dries, often you end up with hair’s width gaps between strips, which can show thin lines of the white backing, and also sometimes the wall itself.

This manufacturer went the extra mile and printed on a darker substrate. This greatly reduces the chances of white peeking out at the seams.

A Soaring Change!

October 21, 2020

The top photo shows the classic savoy pattern by Waverly that I have hung so many times – in the early ’90’s. Time for an update!

The new wallpaper maintains the same navy and white colorway, but in a stronger presence and with more upward movement. I mean, what lifts your spirits better than soaring shorebirds?!

I really like the way the navy background stands out against the white woodwork. Much of this kitchen is the area above the cabinets, and the color and pattern play out very well in that short area.

This wallpaper is by Anderson Prints. It is a traditional paper, and was fairly thick, compared to most of their papers. I think the extra heft was due to the manufacturer printing on a dark substrate. This helps keep white from showing at the seams as the paper dries and shrinks a tad.

Speaking of which, I was pleased that the paper did not shrink much at all. With a dark paper, even the smallest shrinkage will allow the wall surface to peek through.

The job is an older townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper was bought through Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet.

Textured Faux Crocodile in Montrose Powder Room

October 1, 2020


From flat and white to textured and black, this powder room took a trip to the wild and exotic. The embossed vinyl wallpaper mimics the look of crocodile hide.

I centered the design on the sink wall, so the pattern would frame the mirror evenly. Then, since the toilet wall is the first thing you see when you enter the room, I thought it would look nice to have the pattern centered on that wall, too. Usually, you can only balance the pattern on one wall, and after that, the design has to fall sequentially as it works its way around the room. But I did some engineering, and figured a way to place the pattern in the center of the toilet wall, too.

The material is an unusually thin and flexible embossed vinyl on a thin non-woven substrate. It’s my second time in this year to hang this, and I like it a lot – much better than most non-wovens, which can be thick and stiff and can bruise easily.

Non-wovens have some fiberglass in their content and do not expand when they are wet with paste, nor do they shrink as they dry. They can be hung immediately after pasting – or you can use the paste-the-wall method. Non-wovens are designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

This is in the SuperFresco line by Graham & Brown, one of my preferred manufacturers. You don’t need a retailer, because this can be bought directly from the G&B website.

The home is new build, contemporary in style, in the Montrose area of central Houston.

Warps and Wrinkles in a Non-Woven Material

August 25, 2020


Re yesterday’s install / post, one of the benefits of the newish non-woven wallpaper material is that it is dimensioally-stable, meaning that it will not expand when it gets wet with paste, and will not shrink or gap at the seams when it dries. So there is no need to paste the material, fold and book it, and wait several minutes before hanging. This characteristic allows you the option of hanging it by the paste-the-wall method.

This material by Wallmur, though, DID expand, as you can see by the wrinkles and bubbles in the photo. I was able to get the top area into place with a bit of wrangling. But the bottom half had more time to get wet with paste, and so swelled up more. Some of the wrinkles I could not get out.

My solution for that was to slice the paper vertically, along a flower stem and other vertical elements in the design. Then I smoothed out the wrinkles and overlapped the excess paper. In the finished photo, the area is to the left of the white daisy in the lower center of the mural. It is not noticeable. BUT … had this happened in the upper sky area, the slit and overlap might have been visible.

Most non-wovens contain a high fiberglass content. But I think this manufacturer used a lot of paper in his mix, which absorbed moisture and caused the material to swell.

If I had known this ahead of time, I could have done few things to mitigate the expansion. For one the paper could have been pasted on the back, instead of pasting the wall. Or, the back could have been very lightly dampened with a sponge or spray mister, and then allowed to sit for a few minutes. This moisture would have allowed the material to expand before the paper got to the wet paste on the wall.

Van Gogh Takes Sleepy to Vibrant

August 15, 2020


When the homeowner remodeled this mid 1950’s home in the Galleria / Tanglewood area of Houston, she thought she wanted a serene “spa-like” look. She soon realized that “bland beige” didn’t suite her “live wire / life of the party” personality.

As this Van Gogh-inspired wallpaper pattern in a brilliant aqua hue from the Van Gogh Museum Collection started covering up those boring walls, she was literally jumping with delight!

The design is the ideal scale for this master bathroom. The colors in the tree branches match perfectly with the floor tiles and countertop. The wallpaper even has a textured surface that mimics the brushstrokes of an actual oil painting. (see close up photo)

This wallpaper was a joy to hang. It is a very thin embossed (textured) vinyl on a thin non-woven backing. It is way more flexible and malleable than most non-wovens, so I could manipulate as needed. Like most N-Ws, it is dimentionally-stable, meaning that it does not expand or shrink. It requires no booking time, so you can paste and then hang it immediately. It is also designed to strip off the wall easily and cleanly and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.