Posts Tagged ‘splicing’

Shrinking Flowers to Get a Good Kill Point

April 5, 2019


As you hang wallpaper around a room, the pattern in the last corner will end in a mis-match, because the motifs on that last strip won’t match with those on the first strip. So you try to hide that kill point in an inconspicuous place, such as behind a door.

But this large dining room didn’t have any hidden corners. So we were likely to have a 6′ long corner of flowers that didn’t match one another.

But over the entry arch was an area only one foot high. Since this was very short compared to the other full-length walls, and since it was an area that was not going to be viewed much, it was a better place to put this kill point.

So I hung paper on the walls on the left side of the arch, then on the right side, and prepared to have strips meet at the center over the arch. When the strips met there was going to be a flower motif that repeated itself before the normal pattern repeat rhythm. In other words, there were going to be two flowers too close to each other, with one of them being chopped off abruptly at about 1/3.

After pondering different solutions, I figured that if each flower were a bit narrower, that 1/3 bit of excess could be eliminated.

I tested two different methods of “shrinking” the flowers. First, I tried cutting through the flowers vertically, then overlapping a little. This made the flower motifs narrower. See third and fourth photos.

In the second method, I cut around the right outside edge of the flower motifs, and again overlapped. This reduced the spacing between flowers. It did crowd the motifs next to the others a bit more than I liked. And the cut, being made in an unprinted area of the wallpaper, was a bit more noticeable than that made in the printed area in the first option.

I decided on the first option. Cutting through the middle of the flowers resulted in a less visible pattern mis-match, left the spacing between motifs as the artist designed it, and left less of a noticeable ridge at the point of the overlap.

In the second photo, you can barely see that some of the flowers are narrower than others. This looks a whole heck of a lot better than having a flower-and-a-half-flower next to each other over the arch.

Double-cutting (splicing) these areas would have resulted in perfectly flat joins. However, I chose to overlap instead, because this area was up so high and was only about 30″ wide, with no side lighting, that no one is going to notice any ridges from the overlapped areas. More important, I don’t like double-cutting because it almost always scores the wall, and once the paper dries and shrinks and pulls taught, that can lead to the paper pulling the layers of wall apart, leaving gaps that cannot be glued back down. Overlapping won’t allow the wall to delaminate, and it results in a much stronger join.

This pattern is called “Indian Flower,” and is by Jasper Wallcoverings.

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Repairing a Printing Defect

September 5, 2018

This custom-made “Meadow” wallpaper by Peter Fasano was very expensive, so I was disappointed to find a good number of printing defects in the material. I think it is digitally-printed, which is equally perplexing, because that process is much more precise than screen or block printing.

Either way, I encountered blurred ink, streaks, streaks of red running through the black & white print, and voids, like you see here in the top photo. This is one that I didn’t catch when I was hanging the paper (and you get to a point where you can only replace so many strips of paper, or you won’t have enough to do the whole room). The homeowner spotted it a few days later, so I went back to fix it.

Replacing the whole strip was too complicated (for many reasons) and would have used too much of their left over paper, and splicing in a patch would have damaged the wall surface, leaving it open to the possibility of curling edges. So I chose to do a patch. I could have simply cut a patch out of paper that matched the pattern of the flowers in the photo, but that would have placed a somewhat thick patch on top of the exisiting wallpaper. This would have been pretty unnoticeable, but I knew it would look better if the patch were thinner.

So I soaked the scrap of patch paper in water, and then worked carefully to remove the paper backing. Most wallpaper is made of at least two layers – the printed, inked layer, and the paper backing. Once I wet the paper backing, I was able to carefully and slowly peel the paper backing away from the inked top layer. See third photo. This process is a lot more delicate than it sounds.

Then I cut this patch to match the design on the wall, so the patch (now called an appliqué) would be as small as possible. See fourth photo.

Then I pasted the appliqué and applied it over the flawed area. Smoothed into place and wiped free of excess paste, the patch is invisible. See last photo.

A Good Reason Not to Double-Cut

April 10, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


A double-cut is a paperhanger’s term for splicing two strips of wallpaper together. The edges of the strips are overlapped about 1″ on the wall, and then, bracing against a straightedge, a sharp razor blade and plenty of pressure are used to cut through both layers of wallpaper. Remove excess paper from both layers, and you have a perfectly butted seam.

The only problem is that it’s virtually impossible to do this without scoring into the wall, slicing through the top layer (or more). This cut makes the surface unstable, and when the new wallpaper dries, it shrinks and puts tension (torque) on the wall’s surface. This shrinking and tension can cause the wall to split and curl back, leaving a gap or a gaping wallpaper seam.

This is what you see in the photo.

To remedy this, I wanted to bridge the gap with something that would move with any shifting in the drywall, and that would not cause ridges under the new paper.

The new wallpaper was a thick, textured material, so I was not overly worried about ridges from the patch telegraphing through it.

I used strips from the paper backing of the old wallpaper / grasscloth I had just stripped off the wall to cover the cut wall areas. I tore the patches, rather than cutting, because the “feathered” edges of the torn paper would be less noticeable under the new paper than a sharp, straight edge would be.

The strips were wet from having been stripped off the wall with water, and the wall’s surface had damp paste residue remaining on it, so the patching strips adhered nicely to the wall surface.

But, to be sure, I brushed on Gardz, a penetrating sealer and “problem wall solver.” It soaked in, bound the surfaces together, dried, and made a taught, strong surface for the new wallpaper to go over.

Still, I made sure that my seams did not fall in the same exact spots as these compromised areas of wall. That greatly reduces the possibility of seams in the new wallpaper from curling back or pulling away from the wall.

As it turns out, because of the way I engineered the wall and various other factors, I did end up doing a double cut splice over this door. But I made sure it was not in the same place as the compromised wall surface. In addition, I protected the wall by putting a thin polystyrene (plastic) strip under the wallpaper before I cut, so that when I pressed my razor blade hard to cut through the two layers of cork, it did not damage the wall. Sorry, no pics, but there are other photos of that process on my blog, if you want to do a Search.

Trimming Grasscloth Inside a Curved Arch / Working Clean

December 19, 2016
Digital Image

Digital Image

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here is how I trimmed the stiff, rectangular grasscloth to fit the arched top of the bookcase back. You see slits in the excess paper, which we call “relief cuts,” that allow enough ease that the paper can be tucked against the wall, and then trimmed with my razor knife.

The blue stuff is a trick I used to keep paste off the painted areas around the bookcase. This is nice because it saves having to wipe the paste off. It is also important, because with grasscloth, you can’t get any paste or water on the surface of the paper, because it will leave a stain. So even wiping paste off the woodwork with a damp cloth, which is commonly done with most wallpapers, could cause water from the cloth to get onto the grasscloth and stain the natural material.

The blue stuff is a special 2″ wide thin plastic tape, invented and sold by a colleague who is also a member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). The tape has other uses, like to keep paste off the flat paint on ceilings, and when overlapping and splicing (double cutting) strips of wallpaper.