Posts Tagged ‘straight’

Keeping the Pattern Match While Coming Around a Bank of Windows

February 14, 2020


Hanging wallpaper around windows is tough, because getting the pattern to match above the windows, and then down the side and then match up with the pattern under the window is really tricky.

ESPECIALLY in a room where the walls are out of plumb, and the ceiling is not level, and also considering that wallpaper naturally stretches and warps when it is wetted with paste, plus various other factors.

I was lucky that this was a non-woven material, which is “dimensionally stable” – meaning it (supposedly) won’t expand, nor twist or warp when it absorbs paste. So, theoretically, after papering over and then under the window, the final full-height strip along the right side should butt up with the strip above the window, and then the strip below the window. That, actually, did work out perfectly.

But I still had to deal with the potential for the pattern to track off kilter, due to all those un-plumb and un-level factors. If it got off a little, I could tweak it a bit by pulling the last strip either higher or lower – the pattern is forgiving, and you would not notice a small pattern mis-match – especially 11′ up and behind drapes.

But I wanted to minimize a potential pattern mis-match as much as possible.

I figured that if the pattern stayed straight across the top of the windows, and also stayed straight across the area below the windows, it would have to match up with the final 11′ strip to the right of the windows.

To keep the pattern straight and at the right height on the wall, I used a level and pencil to draw a horizontal line that corresponded to the top of a leaf motif in the pattern. I did this both above and below the window.

Then, while hanging the paper, I made sure to keep that particular leaf at the same height of the line I had drawn on the wall.

It was a bit trickier than that, because it was a drop match, which means that that leaf only showed up on every other strip. But it all worked out.

One trick is to keep the strip “open,” which means that you put it into position, but don’t trim at top or bottom until you get the following strip into place. That way, you have the option of moving the previous strip either up or down to match the pattern, or, in the event that it won’t match perfectly, you can split the difference and spread the pattern mis-match between the two strips.

But I didn’t have to do much splittin’. By keeping the leaf at the height of my pencil line, by the time that last strip fell into place, the design matched up perfectly both above and below the window.

Roiling Clouds Wallpaper in a Montrose Bathroom

July 4, 2019


Historic British manufacturer’s Fornasetti Line “Nuvolette” wallpaper pattern… I have long wanted to hang this paper, and finally got my chance today!

The walls in this first-floor bathroom of a newish contemporary styled home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston were textured and covered with a semi-gloss paint. (top picture) It took me a day and a half to skim-coat the walls with smoothing compound, let dry, sand smooth, vacuum up the dust, wipe dust off the walls, prime, and let the primer dry. (second photo shows the smoothed and primed walls)

You would see this pattern better in a larger, less broken-up room, but here you can tell that it is a powerful depiction of roiling thunder clouds storming powerfully toward the west.

The product is unusual, in that it comes in a 2-pack set of “A” and “B” rolls. Each bolt is the same width and length as many Cole & Son papers. But the pattern is placed on those bolts very atypically, and the pattern match is equally unexpected.

Usually, wallpaper patterns match straight across from strip to strip. (straight across match) This means you see the same design element at the top of the wall on every strip. Or they drop down bit on every other strip, then pop back up to the top of the wall on the third strip. (drop match)

A much less common and much more complicated patter match is when the pattern motif repeats itself at the top of the wall only on every fourth (or more) strip. It can take a lot of mind-bending to figure out how to get the pattern placed correctly, and without wasting more paper than necessary.

Look at the upper left of the label, and it says that when placing the A strip to the right of the B strip, it’s a straight match. But when you position the B strip to the right of the A strip, it’s a drop match. This makes everything even wackier and more complicated!

What helped me here is that this home had plenty of room to roll out the bolts of paper, and plot out how the pattern would fall. (see photo) No one was home, so I had peace and quiet to concentrate and get my head around the intricacies of the pattern.

It turned out that the “straight match” indicated on the label was an error – no strips featured a straight match. Good thing I had all that floor space to roll the bolts out, so I could determine that.

Because the pattern match was so unpredictable, it was not possible to cut all of the “odd” and “even” strips ahead of time. And the very unlevel / unplumb qualities of the room also stepped in to make this impossible.

One thing that helped was that this was a non-woven material, which meant that the wallpaper did not need to be booked (left to sit and absorb paste and expand) before hanging. So as soon as I was able to figure out the pattern match for the upcoming strip, I was able to paste and hang the strip-in-hand.

If I had had to figure, measure, plot, paste, book, and then finally hang each strip individually, it would have taken a lot more than the eight hours it did take me to hang this 8-roll bathroom.

A big help on this pattern is that I belong to the Wallcovering Installers Association, and I check our Facebook page every day. (Sorry – it’s private … you can’t peek!) It was there that I learned about others’ experiences with this Nuvolette design, and how they tackled the pattern repeat and the install.

Crazy Multiple-Drop Pattern Match

November 15, 2016

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Most wallpaper patterns have either a straight match (all key design elements appear at the top of the wall at the ceiling line, for instance) or a drop match (every other key design element is at the top of the wall at the ceiling).

This pattern by Walnut had what’s called a multiple drop match, which means that the design element moved up and down the wall several times, before appearing for a second time at the top of the wall at the ceiling.

Multiple drop matches are not very common, and the manufacturer generally does not mark the product as such so you don’t know what you are dealing with, they can eat up a lot of paper, they can be extremely difficult to figure out, and it’s questionable as to whether or not they look pleasing on the wall.

I needed five strips of paper, each 8′ long, to cover this accent wall. That’s 40′. I had only 45′ of paper, which does not leave much for trimming at the floor and ceiling, and for matching the pattern – which was a very long 36.” To make things even more tight, I thought this was a simple drop match, and had already cut two strips, before I realized that something was amiss.

This paper was 27″ wide. Most all patterns will repeat horizontally, with either a straight or a drop match, within that 27″ width. But this pattern took two 27″ widths to make up the design, so the pattern repeated horizontally at a width of 54″.

In addition to that, the pattern had a multiple drop, which meant that each 54″ wide design did not repeat horizontally at 54″ and show up at the top of the wall at the ceiling line, but instead started to drop down the wall by a small amount.

As the pattern played out across the wall, the yellow sea urchins moved down from the ceiling line by a few inches with each horizontal pattern repeat.

To complicate things more, the designer used the same sea urchin motif at several points across the pattern, but he used different backgrounds … Look closely at the sea cucumbers and coral and hanging berries that surround the sea urchins – At first glance, these appear the same, but actually are different. Which makes it very complicated to ferret out the proper pattern match.

Once I snapped to the odd multiple-drop pattern match, and, factoring in the limited amount of paper that we had, and the fact that I had already cut two strips of identical pattern match, I spent about an hour and a half measuring, marking, plotting, rolling out right side up, rolling out upside down, etc., before I actually cut any strips, because I wanted to be sure we had enough paper to cover the wall.

Wall? Yes, one wall. Whew! I am glad it was only one accent wall, because I would have been sorely taxed to have had to have dealt with this crazy multiple drop pattern match for an entire room! And it would have consumed a whole lot more paper, too.

So the multiple-drop pattern match designs are complex and time-consuming. But, once they are figured out and up on the wall, do they look good? In this case, and in the case of the last one I did recently ( https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/crazy-wacky-mid-century-modern-look/ ), I have to say that I’m not crazy about them.

On one hand, the wide span of the design, and the disparate placement on the wall breaks up the rhythm of the pattern that can get repetitive and monotonous. But on the other hand, generally, the eye wants to see the same motif appearing at the top of the wall regularly. If the motif drops down instead, it can look either like the ceiling line is grossly un-level, or that the paperhanger has done a bad job of keeping the motif at the top of the wall.

Besides, these multiple-drop pattern matches are just too darned much work. And they use up / waste a lot more paper. I can’t remember having encountered this in the last 10 years – let’s hope it will be another 10 years before it pops up again! 🙂

Using My New Laser Level

August 17, 2016
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O.K. So some &*@#^$%!& broke into my van two weeks ago and made off with some of my equipment and supplies, including my laser level. Here is the one I bought to replace it. This one came with a clamp-on stand, which you can see in the top photo.

In the second photo, the red laser beam is projecting onto the wall, and I am going to use this line to hang my first strip of wallpaper against, to be sure it’s nice and straight and plumb.

I also used the laser level to get plumb cuts on either side of the desk area, as seen in the last photo.

Keeping Stripes Straight in a Corner

April 19, 2015

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One of the challenges of hanging wallpaper is keeping the pattern straight/plumb/level/all that jazz – especially factoring in Houston’s gumbo soil and shifting foundations. With a striped pattern, even a little variance is noticeable. Often, it’s not so important that the stripes hang true to plumb, but that they hang perpendicular to the corners and moldings in the room.

In the first photo, the corner is a little off-plumb (which is common). If the pattern had ended with the brown field in the corner, all would have been fine. But since the dark line fell in the corner, some of the “balls” in the pattern fell on the right of the corner, and some fell on the left, and that was obvious to the eye.

To disguise this, I cut my next strip and included the entire dark stripe along its left edge. Then I pasted this edge over the stripe in the corner (second photo), tweeking it a little, making sure that the stripes were on the left of the corner and the “balls” were on the right, and nothing was cut off.

Having the stripes absolutely plumb in the corner was not as important as how the stripes fell against the door molding to the right. Here, it had to be straight and parallel (but not necessarily plumb). You can see how I am using a ruler to be sure the length of the stripe is equidistant from the top of the door molding to the bottom.

Whew! Mission accomplished!

But all is not done … We still have the rest of the room to hang. And, as you can see, right above this door molding, the stripe looks like it is going off-plumb. Actually, it is an optical illusion, caused by the un-level-ness of the crown molding. It may be the trim carpenter’s fault, or the framer’s fault, or the Sheetrocker’s, or just blame it on the shifting gumbo soil under Houston. But, still, your eye sees this.

So, instead of butting my next strip of wallpaper against the piece in the photo, which would have committed each strip to being equally off-plumb, I cut the left edge of the strip along the striped design, and then overlapped the stripe of the new strip over the stripe on the existing strip, but, again, tweeking it just a little to make it look perpendicular to the crown molding.

This trick is blessedly easy to do with stripes, not just on headers (the short strips over doors and windows) but also, when necessary, and with a little more finesse, on full-length drops.

To reiterate: Keeping strips parallel with moldings or other key visual elements in a room, is more important than having them hang true to plumb.

It just sometimes takes a little work to reach that goal.