Posts Tagged ‘straightedge’

Horizontal Cut To Ease Installation in Tight Spot

October 2, 2022
This is an under-the-stairs cloffice ( closet turned home office ). Wallpaper needs to go along the wall on the right. Over the top of the shelf alcove on the right, over the top of the shelf on the left, down the center, into the niche above the desk area on the left, and then down and under into the knee / kick area under the desk on the left.
Easily accomplished with paint. But tricky with wallpaper – which can twist, crease, tear, buckle, etc. Not to mention paste getting slopped onto all that nice newly-painted woodwork.
The part above the desk is not so horribly tricky, but this portion under the desk is, mostly due to the narrow transition point.
Another issue is that the strip of wallpaper is set to extend to the right about 5″ over the shelf alcove. This means that paste will be getting onto the woodwork, as well as adding weight and stress to the whole strip.
Since the wallpaper comes in a rectangular strip, a whole lot of the top section is going to overlap onto that sloped ceiling area, getting paste on that, too.
To make all that easier and cleaner, here I have roughed in some cuts, measuring and templating ahead of time, to reduce the amount of paper that will overlap onto the shelf woodwork and the ceiling.
Once this strip is pasted, I’ll use my blue plastic tape on the pasted side of the paper, to keep paste from getting on to the navy blue paint. No photo of that, but you can Search on ” blue tape ” to see previous posts about that cool stuff.
As mentioned above, it was going to be really difficult to manipulate the wallpaper down the wall and then down and under the desk area without damaging the paper.
So I decided to eliminate stress on the paper by cutting the strip into two sections – one for above the desk and one for under it. I used my straightedge and a razor blade and cut along a horizontal element of the design.
Here I have the top section in place. No need to wrestle a 24″ wide strip down that narrow area and then down and underneath the desk.
Here I’m about to position the bottom piece.
Here it is in place.
All finished! No stress on the paper, no creases or tears. And no swearing during the installation!
This wallpaper pattern is called Florida Toile and is by Katie Kime in their very popular Cities Toile collection .

Grasscloth Engineering and Logistics – Technical Details Post

August 21, 2022
Grasscloth is a natural material that cannot be matched from strip to strip, so all the seams will be visible . In addition, there is usually a slight but noticeable color difference between strips / panels (called shading or paneling ) . So it’s important to plot the layout of the strips to give the most visually pleasing overall look. Usually this means balancing the width of strips so they are all equal , at least on the same wall . We call this engineering .
This wall presented particular challenges , due to the widths of the elements. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide . You can use your straightedge and a sharp razor blade and trim it down to any width you want.
The width of both the large wall spaces to the right and left of the bank of windows was 34.” The width of each window was about 35.” The width of the two spaces in between the windows was 7.”
So you’d think I could trim my panels on either side of the windows, and then over the windows, to about 34″-36″ – give or take a few inches (or fractions thereof).
But that would leave me with two 7″ wide strips between these 35″ panels. Although the look would be uniform and mirror-image from the center outward, moving from right to left you’d have: 35,” 35″, 7,” 35,” 7,” 35,” 35,” … those 7″ breaks were just not going to look right.
One option was to determine the width of the wall (189″) and make each strip an equal width. This worked out to six strips, each at 31.5″ Not good, because this would mean a seam down either far side. And since those sides were 34″ wide, that would mean a 31.5″ wide strip and a strip 2.5″ wide. Not attractive at all, and it would use up an extra strip of wallpaper.
This six strips @ 31.5″ wide scenario might also land with a seam smack in the middle of those 7″ wide interludes in between the windows. Not attractive at all.
So I decided to make the two outer strips 35″ wide. That left 119″ of wall space above the windows to be covered with wallpaper. Do some math and you get four panels of 29.75″ wide. This gave a balanced and uniform look to the area over the windows, and also prevented seams from landing between the windows.
Moving right to left, I cut and hung the full length outer strip first. Then I cut and hung the strip over the window on the right. Then I measured to find the centerpoint of the window in the middle. Turns out it was a bit less than 29.75″ away. So I trimmed that next over-window strip accordingly.
Once that was in place, I measured from that center point above the middle window out to where my left full-height panel would fall, 35″ out from the wall. Took the resulting measurement and divided by 2. Lo and behold, each of the next two panels over the window was going to be a bit wider than 30.” No problem. No one (but a paperhanger or maybe an engineer) is going to notice a 1/4″ or even a full 1″ difference in widths between this strips over the windows.
Another thing to point out … it’s important that I took measurements before cutting these strips for this second left-hand section. Because, since grasscloth comes at 36″ (and walls can be wonky), if my strips had been narrower (say, 28″), that last full-height panel on the left might have ended up needing to be 37″ wide – and that wouldn’t work because it only comes 36″ wide – plus you need at least 1/8″ to wrap around the corner.
Luckily I had the flexibility to be able to trim the panels over the windows to any width needed, to accommodate all this.
If you’ve followed all this so far, let me also toss in that we also need to figure how to get paper in between those windows. More on that below.
In this scenario, I’m moving from right to left.
Area beneath the windows needs to be treated in the same way, and preferably with widths that match what’s going on above the windows. In addition, it’s tricky because after you move across 12′ of wall space, the strips above and below the windows are going to twist and torque out of shape, so that last full-length panel on the far left might not butt up perfectly with the last strip under the windows.
The grasscloth is black , and my wallpaper primer is white . It’s common for teeny gaps to appear at the seams . In this case, it’s likely that white wall would peek out from those gaps. So I like to stripe under where the seams will fall with dark (diluted) paint . This takes measuring , plotting , and also a heat gun to get the paint to dry before the wallpaper hits it, to avoid staining. You can do a Search here to read more about this technique .
Now let’s talk about getting wallpaper in between those windows.
As you can see in the photo, if I hang a 30″ wide strip, a whole lot of paper is going to be cut off and thrown away. Also, a whole lot of sticky, pasted paper is going to bump against that window molding and maybe even the window glass. A lot to clean up! And unwieldy, to boot.
My solution was to stop the wallpaper just a little below the tops of the windows. Then I would patch in a 7″ wide strip in between the windows. This is trickier than it sounds, because, if it were a paper wallpaper, I could simply cut along a design motif and overlay the 7″ wide piece. But grasscloth is thick and overlaps don’t look good. Also grass has no design elements , and the reeds of grass don’t necessarily fall perfectly horizontal , and even if you cut everything perfectly true to square , if the window molding is a teeny bit off-plumb , then your edges won’t butt up perfectly.
So that’s a good reason for striping the black paint under where the butt join will occur.
Same thing for the sections under the windows. I measured and positioned the strips so that the top edge (which I had trimmed to be perfectly horizontal) fell between the narrowest part of the windowsill molding, for less visibility.
I admit, instead of butting the two pieces, here I did overlap the 7″ wide strip about 1/4″ onto the piece under the window, right at that narrow junction. It’s only about 3″ wide, and I figured no one is going to be examining it that closely, anyway. This saved me about a half an hour of measuring, trimming, testing, repeat, repeat.
This is my second window interlude, and by this time I had realized that it’s hard to trim stiff grasscloth around intricate moldings precisely . So I used paint to fill in the edges around the window molding, just in case there might be any gaps between the grasscloth and the molding, so you would see black instead of the white molding paint. I did this with a small sponge; if I had used an artist’s brush it would have been a bit neater and tighter to the conforms of the molding. But sometimes you’ve gotta relax and realize that no one’s going to be scrutinizing the insides of moldings below shin-level.
Area over windows finished, with drapes back in place.
Turns out this particular grasscloth is so uniform in color (quite unusual, I will add), that you can’t really see the panels , nor their equal widths , anyway. I’m still glad I took the time to do all this math and trimming.
Area below the windows, done. That last seam on the left bears some explanation, too. Moving across the top of the windows, I measured that that last strip – the full-length strip – would need to be exactly 35″ wide. It butted up nicely to the last strip above the windows.
But, due to twisting , shifting , expansion , unlevel and unplumb walls and ceilings , and other factors, there is a really good chance that that last 35″ wide strip would not butt up perfectly with the last 30″ wide strip under the window . So I planned to splice these last two strips together.
Yeah, the drapes are hanging there, I coulda overlapped the two strips about 1/2″ and the drapes would have covered it. With a thin wallpaper, I probably would have done this. But grasscloth is thick, and an overlap would be visible , and also the adhesive / paste can’t be trusted to adhere as well to grass as it would to paper .
So I plotted for a splice. Instead of trimming my last strip under the window to 30″ (read above), I trimmed it to 32″ wide. That way, when I hung the last full-length strip to the left, which was 35″ wide, it overlapped the piece under the window by a few inches. Then I did a double cut and spliced the two pieces. See below for details about that technique.
Grasscloth is 36″ wide, and this wall area is wider than that. So two strips were needed. This means you’re going to have a seam, and since grasscloth seams are always visible, it looks best to plot to have the seam fall down the center. It uses more wallpaper to do this, but it looks much better than having, for example, a 36″ wide strip next to an 8″ wide strip.
As mentioned above, in case you get thin gaps at the seams, a dark stripe of diluted craft paint under where the seam will fall, will prevent white wall from showing through.
Rounded / bull-nosed edges and corners have been popular in new construction for at least 10 years. I wish they’d go away. They’re very difficult to trim around, and hard for the paper to conform to and adhere to.
It’s very hard to trim around that rounded edge, because the paper is hanging over and blocking your view, because grasscloth is thick and stiff and your fingers can’t feel through it, and because the edges aren’t necessarily true and plumb so a laser level or other level won’t help you much.
I use this little gadget as a trim guide. It’s actually a small section of the same corner bead material that drywallers use when they assemble these walls. Cut to about 1″ long and notched in different places where you might trim along the edge of the wall.
It’s intended that you place your trimming knife in one of the notches and slide the gizmo along the edge and make your cut. I find that awkward and also inaccurate. So I prefer to use the notches as a guide and mark where I plan to trim with a pencil. Since this wallpaper is black, I used this marking pencil from my home sewing kit instead. Chalk might work, but I was afraid it might now wipe off completely.
The pink pencil line was barely visible, but it was enough for me to use a scissors to trim along the grasscloth. I like this better than using a razor blade as I can see better, and also less chance of scoring into the primer or wall. Which raises its own set of issues – do a search here to find previous posts.
Inside view of the trim guide.
Finished arch. Note the four panels of equal width above the arch. And two flanking full-height panels also the same widths.
I was lucky that there was no pattern to match, so I was able to butt my two flanking strips right up to the edge of the bull-nosed corner. No trimming needed! Then I measured the remaining width between these two strips (the area over the arch), divided by four, and cut four strips of equal widths.
I hung the two on the left, and then one on the far right. This left one strip still to be positioned to the right of center. So the pieces are going to meet over the arch, rather than the last strip falling in a corner.
Same as the last strip under the window (discussed above), it’s really difficult to get your last piece to fit in here perfectly. I’ve done it, but it takes a lot of measuring, trimming, testing, retrimming, and often starting all over again.
So I did a double-cut / splice.
A double cut involves cutting each strip an inch or so wider than it should be, and overlapping the two. Then you take a straight edge and sharp razor blade and cut through both layers. This handy tool is a wonderful non-slip guide for this process. It was invented by an installer colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) and she has them fabricated in various lengths (along with other cool tools ) and sells them on-line. Contact me if you’re interested.
Anyway, it takes a lot of strength to cut through two layers of grasscloth, so somewhat difficult for lil’ ol’ me.
You also want to be sure to not cut / score into the wall, because the tension of drying wallpaper can tug at the wall and cause it to actually come apart, leaving an open seam that’s difficult to repair.
So you’ve got to put some padding under the wall where the cut will take place. I use special strips of polystyrene (hard but flexible plastic) to pad the wall. Also invented by a colleague in the WIA , who also sells other cool tools and supplies. Contact me if you’re interested.
This black grasscloth was printed on a white substrate. If the seams aren’t absolutely tight, there can be worries about the backing showing through to the front. So sometimes we’ll take a piece of chalk or pastel (never oil pastel or permanent markers because they bleed and stain ) and run it along the edge of the paper – from the back, and taking care to not get chalk on the surface.
I do this frequently with dark papers ( do a search here to see previous posts ) but opted not to do it with this grasscloth. It wasn’t necessary, and might have stained the porous reeds of the grass. It was beneficial, though, to have striped dark paint on the wall under the seams, as mentioned above.
Ugh. Grasscloth comes 36″ wide, and this section of wall is 38″ wide. It’s not visually pleasing, nor is it easy from an installation point of view, to have a 36″ wide strip next to a 2″ wide strip. Or to use scraps and put a 25″ wide strip next to a 13″ wide strip.
So best to plan two strips of equal widths. Two strips, each 19″ wide, with the seam down the middle.
Actually, the strip on the left was 19″ wide, but I trimmed the strip on the right to 21″, because I like the wallpaper to extend 2″ over the top of the door molding. This provides a more stable surface in case of shifting foundation or walls, and less likelihood (knock on wood) of the seam opening up should the house / drywall experience shifting.
Note that design “rules” caution against seams down the middle of spaces. But it would have been more visually distracting (and used up more paper) to have made three strips of each 12.75″ wide. And would have looked even dumber to have used scraps left from other walls and put together two strips of disparate widths.
So the homeowner and I discussed during our initial consultation , and she was happy with the center seam. Once it was all finished, this particular grasscloth was so even in tone that you barely see the seams, anyway. Win-win!
This did use up additional paper, though, as noted in a previous photo above.

Saving Paper, Right and Left

August 16, 2022
Here I’m hanging wallpaper , moving from left to right. The wallpaper is 21″ wide . The width between my last strip on the right and the wall is 15″.
That means that I will have to cut off 6″ width of paper – which usually ends up on the trash pile. Here I am using a straightedge to cut that off.
Since that strip of wallpaper is 9′ long, we’re losing 4.5 square feet just in this one small area.
(Another reason to always buy a little extra wallpaper … you can’t use every square foot !)
Note that I’ve actually cut my strip to 15.5″, so I’ll have a little excess for trimming at that right wall.
Back to that 6″ (actually 5.5″) wide strip on the trash pile. I never throw anything away until the job is finished. Because I just might be able to use a piece somewhere. As in this case …
After the right side of the wall was finished, I started moving to the left. When I came to the left corner, my last strip needed to be 1.5″ wide.
Instead of cutting a whole new 9′ long strip off the roll of wallpaper, I reached for that scrap pile and pulled out that narrow 5.5″ piece that had been trimmed off the opposite edge of that strip on the other side of the wall.
This was the correct pattern match to meet up with the strip on the left side of the wall in the photo above.
Here I am trimming a 2″ strip (1.5″ + .5″ for trimming allowance) off the appropriate edge of that scrap piece. Note: Be certain you are trimming from the correct side of that scrap! Or the pattern won’t match and you’ll have to cut a fresh 9′ length after all. 😦
Here the wall is finished. For the two corners, only one strip was used, due to being able to cut both a right and a left piece out of only one strip of wallpaper.
Now I’m going to get into a little more technical stuff, that usually only a paper hanger will understand. The pattern above is what we call a straight match . This means every strip is the same. And that a particular design motif (like the pink flower) hits the top of the wall at the same position on every strip. My right-left trick above only worked because this was a straight pattern match.
But … you can make it work with a drop pattern match, too. A drop match means that every other strip is the same. On a drop match, the pink flower will be at the top of the wall on one strip, but drop down a few inches (half the length of the pattern repeat ) on the second strip. By the third strip, it will be back up at the top of the wall.
This also leads to using A and B strips. Confusing – but we wallpaper installers get it.
Anyway, my trick explained above works for straight matches, with all A strips. But if your right corner of the wall ends in an A strip, and the left corner needs a B strip, your scrap from the A strip won’t match the pattern repeat needed on the left side of the wall. So you’re gonna have to cut a whole new 9′ long strip, just to cover that 1.5″ gap at the left corner.
But – WAIT! – there is a trick to outsmart this. If you plan ahead, and count your strips, and plot the layout, and engineer your project, you can avoid needing that 9′ long strip.
When you’re cutting off from the bolt that last A strip for the right corner, just cut it a little longer. Cut it long enough to include the B pattern match. Do a little math and then do some visual checking to be sure you’ve got it right. Then cut your strip.
When you get to trimming off the 15.5″ wide right edge, it will be a few inches longer than the previous strips. So you’ll throw away a tiny bit more when you trim at the bottom of the wall than if it were a straight match.
Correspondingly, the 5.5″ wide scrap left over, from which you will cut the 2″ wide strip needed for the left corner, will be a few inches longer at the top of the wall than needed.
So by juggling the A & B pattern match / repeat , you’ve saved a whole 9′ long strip. This is good, because you always want a bit left over, in case of need for repairs down the road.
This fun pattern is by Missoni Home , which is made by York . It’s a textured embossed vinyl on a non-woven , paste the wall backing and was a very good paper.

Finished Wall Re-Do – See Previous Post

July 26, 2022
Here’s the wall after I stripped, sealed, skim-floated, sanded, and primed it.
Finished. The birds in the pattern balanced nicely with between the ceiling line and the wainscoting.
I had more success with this install than the previous guy, due to proper prep, and also the material used this time was the user-friendly non-woven , rather than the old fashioned pulp type wallpaper the other guy had to wrestle with.
Strawberry Thief is a very popular pattern right now, and comes in many colorways. Do a Search here to see my other installations of this design.
There were some issues at the top of the wainscoting where the painters had used tape to mask off areas, long with caulk, an it left a rather large (1/8″) unpainted area between the wood molding and the wall. I filled this in with joint compound and primed it, and wallpaper would have adhered just fine. But that would have left a white gap between the wallpaper and the green molding.
I rummaged in my truck for the best matching paint I could come up with, and painted over the white edge. This would have left a bit of a thin brown line between the wallpaper and the green molding. It would have looked OK, but I had an idea to get rid of the gap altogether.
If I had used my regular thin straightedge (the red one), it would have let me trim the bottom edge of the wallpaper nice and close to the wall. But that would have left the aforementioned brown line showing.
So I used the metal plate you see at the upper right of the photo as a trim guide. It’s thicker than my red straightedge, and so gives a fat cut that leaves more wallpaper and less of that brown line.
In fact, the left edge, as you can see, is rolled, and that creates an even thicker edge to trim against, leaving even more wallpaper at the bottom of the cut. See the photo just above, to see how the wallpaper now completely covers the brown line.
These metal plates have a lot of other uses. They are made and sold by a fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association . She makes a lot of other cool tools, too. If you are interested, send me an email.
The wallpaper design is by William Morris , a famed artist of the Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau periods . The brand is Morris & Co.
This label is EXACTLY the same as the pulp material the original installer worked with – save for that one word non-woven . Be sure you get the non-woven version, which is also called paste the wall .
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Geometric Grasscloth in Home Gathering Area

June 29, 2022
No, this large room with sink and counters isn’t a kitchen. The family loves to entertain both family and friends, so included this “bonus” room in their new home’s plans. It’s used for both entertaining and crafting.
The wall facing you was originally painted a semi-gloss navy blue. In the photo, I’ve applied my wallpaper primer.
It will adhere to the glossy paint, and provide a matt finish for the wallpaper paste to grab ahold of.
Taking measurements and plotting the layout.
This paper has a selvedge edge , which has to be trimmed off by hand with a straightedge and razor blade. The manufacturer has not provided trim guide marks , so I am using a ruler and my eye.
The new look is so dramatically different I couldn’t resist taking a photo mid-hang. As you can see, I’ve used dark paint to stripe under where the seams will fall, to prevent any of my primer from showing through at the seams.
You can see the ceiling line starting to track upward on the right portion. More on that below.
Finished. Perfectly centered.
This is the mounting hardware for the big screen TV . I asked them to remove the TV, but we left the mounts in place. In order to support the heavy TV, they are placed quite securely into the wall , and I feel it’s best not to jimmy around with that.
Rather than have the first strip straddle the TV mount, I plotted to have my first seam fall down the middle of the wall, placing a seam in the mid point of the mount. This meant I had to hang four strips instead of three, but it made it a whole lot easier to work around the TV mount, as well as to keep the left and right edges of the grasscloth straight and plumb.
Close up showing the texture of this grasscloth material. It’s atypical to have grass cloth printed with a pattern , and I rather like the way the ink looks somewhat scratchy against the rough background.
Because it’s Schumacher, you can expect printing defects . The slight pattern match doesn’t bother me, as there were many more places along each strip that matched up perfectly. Nor do I mind the different intensity of ink on the two strips. That’s all part of the look of grasscloth.
But I wasn’t pleased with the white ink out in the middle of nowhere, as seen about 1//3 down the center of the picture. This isn’t considered a defect , and from a distance it’s not really noticeable. But it bugged me.
So I used some water-based paint and a very small brush from the craft store and lightly touched up the spots.
I also softened the mis-matched edges a bit. There’s a fine line between covering the white spots and staining the material, so use a light hand. And never permanent ink or oil-based markers or pastels.
Likewise, the ceiling line was not level, so as I moved from the mid-point out to the right, the ceiling rose above the geometric motif’s top edge, and a white line began to be visible, but only to the right of the centerpoint.
So I used the black paint to cover up that extra bit of white. This increases the width of that horizontal navy blue line from 1/4″ to about 1/2″. But from down on the floor you can’t tell, and it looks a whole lot better than having white on the right side and none on the left.
The brand is Schumacher and the home is in the Garden Oaks / Oak Forest area of Houston.
The interior designer who came up with this bold and lively look is Clayton Brooks .

Shells / Fans in Master Bedroom Closet

June 21, 2022
Left side of entry wall primed and ready for wallpaper.
Starting the right side of the wall.
Instead of laying a 9.5′ length of wallpaper down along the door frame and wrestling it around the tops and bottoms of several fixed-in-place shelves, I used a razor blade and my straightedge to slice the strip horizontally into sections, measured carefully to coincide with the position of the shelf brackets.
This way I was working with much smaller and more manageable chunks of paper.
Entry wall finished.
Entry and side walls finished.
Opposite, window wall finished.
This closet, with 20 single rolls (10 double roll bolts) of wallpaper, several fixed shelves to wrangle paper around, support brackets to trim around, and two windows to wrap wallpaper inside, took me two 10-hour days to prime and paper.
Here’s a close-up, with a light switch for perspective, to show the lightly textured surface of the wallpaper.
BN European brand of wallpaper.
This is a non-woven material and could be hung via the paste the wall method or the paste the paper installation process.
Pasting the material made it much easier to work around all the obstacles and tight areas.
The paper was very soft and pliable. It is an embossed ( textured ) vinyl and will be more resistant to stains and dings than most traditional wallpapers.
This home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The Big Easy On The Walls

March 5, 2022
West wall smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
The homeowner used to live in New Orleans, and she tells me that signs like this are very common in local convenience stores and neighborhood dives. Transplanted to Houston, these signs are very dear to her heart as a reminder of her roots – and the funky lifestyle in the Big Easy.
She wanted the signs recreated somehow to cover the walls in their newly-renovated powder room in the Houston Heights. I suggested she contact , who custom made the paper and sized it specifically to fit each wall in the room individually. I measured and made drawings, and a designer named Simon at RebelWalls laid it all out.
North wall before. This is the wall with the toilet and sink.
There were a couple of glitches, the first being that the strips were printed about 10″ longer than I requested. No biggie – I’d rather have too much paper than come up short.
But the main glitch being that I had asked for this “sign” to be centered over the toilet, which meant that the center of the sign (I used the middle fleur-de-lis) would land at 17.5″ from the wall to the left. But somehow it got printed to where the left edge of the pattern was 17.5″ from the wall … That left a whole lot of white space between the wall and the design, and also pushed the words too close to the mirror, which will hang over the sink to the right.
After careful measuring, calculating, and testing, I determined that if I used my straightedge and razor blade to take off a 12″ wide slice from the left side, the “sign” would move to the left such that its center would fall over the mid-point of the toilet.
Voilà! As you see in the photo, now the words are nicely balanced on this section of wall, and will not crowd the mirror which will be hung to the right.
The rest of the wallpaper moving to the right is unprinted, so as to leave a blank slate for the mirror to hang on. Here you see that wall, and also the wall to its right. This east wall has the same sign, but in a smaller scale, sized to fit the narrower wall. It’s also placed at a different height
Graphic designer Simon used my drawings and measurements to get the words nicely centered on this wall. The area above the door to the right (not visible) is left blank.
Here is the west wall (on the right) abutting the south / window wall.
The bull-nosed / rounded edges / corners such as you see around the window are really a pain with wallpaper, especially when they go both around the sides and the top, and can lead to some impossibilities. Too complicated to get into here. But I was pleased with the way this worked out. And the placement of the pleated shades toward the front of the opening helped a lot, too.
One interesting thing to note is that the thickness of this non-woven wallcovering (along with the joint compound I used to smooth the textured wall) is enough that it narrows the space inside the window just a tad,,, and that makes it a bit tight for the shades to fit back in,,, and that opens the potential for abrading the wallpaper as the shade is raised and lowered over time.
Another point … even though the widths of the wall spaces to be covered were different, we requested that the size of the font on the “sign” lettering be the same on the west wall and the north / mirror wall, and ditto for the window wall and the door wall.
I also made sure that the “signs” started at the same distance from the ceiling. This then ensured that each “sign” would land at the same distance from the tile below it.
Synchronizing the size of the fonts as well as the spacing between ceiling and tile helps immensely to lend a feeling of unity and order to this room.
I spent a full 2 1/2 hours plotting, measuring, testing mock-ups, and going back to the drawing board, before I ever cut any paper.
Prior to that, there were two visits to the home to get measurements and kick around options with the homeowner. In addition, she spent countless communications with the manufacturer and with our specific designer.
All this futzing is important, because, with murals, there is no second chance. There’s only one of each panel, and if one gets screwed up, there are no more to pull off the bolt, like you’d have with regular rolled goods.
RebelWalls is the manufacturer. I’ve had lots of great installs with this company.
What was inside our box, including Simon’s dimensions and lay-out.
Basic installation instructions. Ours was a bit – a whole lot – more complicated, because it covered not one but four walls. In our case, it worked best to have each wall be a separate mural, so to speak.
RebelWalls includes free wallpaper paste. I prefer to use my own pre-mixed vinyl adhesive, which is SureStik Dynomite 780. Recently bought by Roman, so the name has changed to just 780.
Certain pastes have been known to ” stain ” non-woven wallpapers (areas look wet but never dry out). I think that a high moisture content in the paste has a lot to do with this. So I’m hesitant to use a powdered paste that needs to be mixed with water.
I’ll squirrel away that RebelWalls powdered paste for another, better suited job. For this home’s install, I’m sticking with my tried and true 780.
A coupla more notes.
One, this project was a study in vision, desire, anticipation, and patience. The homeowner first contacted me in July 2021. It took nearly eight months to come to fruition. Granted, they had a whole kitchen remodel in the middle, which also included an update to this powder room. But just speaking for the wallpaper, there were several site visits, many emails, and then innumerable communications with the design team at RW.
In fact, since I’ve hung lots of RebelWalls and am familiar with their process, I thought I could lay out the design. But this project of separate “sign” motifs for each wall section was taxing my skill set. Finally I laid down my pencil and paper and said, “Stop doing what you yell at your clients for doing, which is trying to do something you don’t have expertise in! RebelWalls has designers who are trained to figure all this out. So let THEM do the math and placement and calculating and layout.” So we turned it over to them, and within a short time they had it all worked out perfectly (except for those few glitches I mentioned). Their customer service was amazing.
All this was crucial to ensuring that mural pieces fit the wall perfectly and that the final product looks stunning.
I also want to mention that the RebelWalls quality is excellent. It’s a non-woven material which has many advantages (too numerous to go into here, but you can Search). The seams melt together like butter and are invisible – even on areas with all that bare white space with no pattern. On a simple accent wall, you can paste-the-wall to hang it. In this (and most) cases, I pasted-the-material, which gives more flexibility and also ensures that paste gets into hard-to-reach areas – like behind a toilet.
In addition, the non-woven material is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate.
The company offers scores of patterns, from cute to sophisticated, and, as we did this time around, can make custom creations.
Super customer service, too.

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Railroading and Fudging the Pattern

March 4, 2022
Well, dang it! Not all my pictures turned out, so you will have to use your imagination to visualize as I try to explain.
This room had two long doorways that had only about 5″ above them where the wallpaper would go. In the photo above, look to the right and see this narrow space.
It would take about four strips of wallpaper to get across that width of space. With the pattern match being about 2′, that would eat up about 8′ of wallpaper, with most of it going in the trash. It also would take a lot of time to hang those four strips, and create seams which always present the potential to come away from the wall at some point.
This wild floral pattern allowed for some playing, so I decided to railroad the material (run it horizontally) over the doorways. This was quick and eliminated seams. Best of all, I could use some scrap wallpaper from the trash pile. In the photo I am using my straightedge and a razor blade to trim a strip that is just 3/4″ higher than the height of the wall space over the door. That extra 3/4″ will accommodate any irregularities in the height of the area, and will be trimmed off once the strip is in place.
Here the strip has been installed over the doorway to the left. I butted it against the crown molding and then trimmed off that extra 3/4″ with a trim guide and razor blade.
Because I cut this strip from a random scrap, and because I ran it horizontally, the flowers didn’t match the pattern on either wall – neither the wall on the left nor the wall on the right. No big deal. As I said, the pattern was forgiving and easy to disguise the mis-match. All I did was to cut around some of the flowers and leaves and then overlap them onto the paper on the wall. In the photo, in the top left corner, it’s the grey peony and the green leaves above and to the right of it, and also the green leaf under it. Trimming around the shape of the flowers looks so much better than making a straight cut.

Fitting a Wide Strip into a Narrow Wall Space in a Corner

February 18, 2022
I have to cover 15″ width of wall with a strip of wallpaper that is 27″ wide. Working with that 27″ wide strip and pushing it into the corner, and getting paste all over the woodwork, and trying to not get creases in the paper … all very difficult.
My solution is to trim the wallpaper to fit the corner. Here the strip has already been cut, pasted, and booked (folded pasted-side-to-pasted-side). I’ve determined that I want the new strip to be 15″ wide. This will allow enough to cover the wall space, plus the 1/2″ inside the little space between the wall and the door trim.
Because wallpaper expands when it gets wet with paste, to get an accurate measurement, I’m trimming after the strip has been cut, pasted, and booked for a few minutes, and has expanded to its maximum.
This is called wet trimming. Alternately, dry trimming is when you measure and trim an unpasted and unfolded strip.
My straightedge is set at 15″ from the left edge of the wallpaper. I’ve used a single edge razor blade to make the cut.
Here is the strip in position on the wall. I’m using a plastic trapezoid squeegee wallpaper smoother to push the right edge into the small space between the wall and the door molding.
You can see how nicely the wallpaper wraps around the corner and tucks into that narrow space.
The pattern is called Garden Party and is by Rifle Paper, which is made by York, one of my favorite companies.

Hand Trimming Lindsay Cowels Wallpaper

February 16, 2022
Like many high-end designer wallpapers, this one comes with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand before the paper can be hung. Usually the manufacturer prints trim guide marks to aid you. But these guys didn’t, so I am having to use my eye to match the pattern and also carefully measuring. Here I’m using my new straight edge and a razor blade to trim off the selvedge along with 1/8″ of the printed area.
I’m excited to be using this straightedge, as it’s brand new to me. AND it appears to actually be true ( straight ). I own three – THREE – other straightedges, and not a one of them is truly straight. So far, Big Blue is delivering on his promise.
I think that high handle has a lot to do with keeping the thing straight. It’s awkward and a pain to work around it, but if it means that I will get straight cuts, I’ll happily work with it.
In addition, the aluminum material is lightweight, and there is a non-slip pad on the underside.
Purchase one, along with a lot of other cool wallpaper tools, here