Posts Tagged ‘strips’

Same Run? Different Color?

July 18, 2019


Top photo. Look carefully. You are looking at the start of a printing run on two separate bolts of paper. On the bolt to the left, the color looks pretty uniform.

But on the bolt to the right, you can see a horizontal line where the background has been colored. It’s faint, so look closely. In addition, you can definitely see that the paper on the right is darker than the paper on the left.

If there were more fish present, you would also see that on the right, the greys are a little darker and the reds are a little stronger. There are also more brown speckles in the background of the grasscloth on the right.

What happened was, too little paper was ordered (a simple mix-up between rolls and yards), and so more had to be ordered, and then custom-printed.

The interior designer stressed to the manufacturer that the new paper had to be the same run number (all bolts printed at the same time out of the same batch of ink). The manufacturer’s reply was that their precision printing and ink-mixing was such that there would be virtually no difference in color between what we had already, and what they would print fresh and send to us.

As you can see, that is not the case. Although these differences are minor, if strips from these two bolts were placed next to one another on the wall, the color difference would be pretty noticeable.

So, accommodating for this color difference, we lost about three yards of (expensive) wallpaper.

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.

A Quarter Inch Can Make A Difference

June 21, 2018


When you measure a room that is to be covered with grasscloth, instead of figuring how many square feet need to be covered, it’s a better method to count the number of strips you will need.

The standard width for grasscloth is 36″. For this bathroom, I counted up how many strips of 36″ wide material I would need to cover the walls.

The only thing is, despite the manufacturer’s labeling, the material was actually 35 3/4″ wide. And the bigger problem is that two of my walls were exactly 72″ wide. If the wallpaper had been the traditional 36″ wide, I would have needed only two strips and would have had only one seam on each wall.

But that quarter-inch shortness in width meant that I would need three strips. I hated to cut that third strip of paper, because we were short on material, due to it having come in two different runs (read previous post).

In the end, though, it all worked out, and the room looks great. It’s a good thing that I checked the run numbers. And that I also didn’t assume that everything was as it usually is. I’m glad I measured the width of the grasscloth before I started to plot out how I was going to hang the room, and definitely before I went and cut up any of the paper.

Same Run – But Color Difference

June 8, 2018


One of the first things the installer does before starting a wallpaper job is to check the run numbers, to be sure it is the same for all the bolts of paper. This means they were all printed at the same time with the same batch of ink, so they will all be uniform in color.

Both these bolts are from the same run. But look closely, and you will see that the blue lines on the strip to the right are darker and thicker than those on the left. If these two strips of paper were placed next to each other on the wall, the difference would be very visible.

I am glad I noticed this before I started cutting any strips. I set aside the errant bolt, and hopefully won’t have to use it (I always have my clients buy a little extra, for repairs later and in case of instances like this). If I do need to cut into this bolt, the bathroom has a lot of choppy areas that are on separate walls where the color difference won’t be noticeable.

Getting A-head

January 26, 2018


I plotted the layout of this pattern to have the leopards’ heads be at the top of the wall, just under the crown molding. This worked nicely for the first three walls. But due to unplumb walls and a very unlevel ceiling, as the wallpaper strips moved from left to right across the four subsequent walls, these poor leopards got their heads got cut off.

I cut new intact heads from scrap wallpaper, and appliquéd them onto the cats’ chests. A little snipping and trimming was needed to get the various body parts to line up.

The leopards’ necks are a little shorter than when they started out. But that is much less disagreeable than half-heads. 🙂 From 9′ down on the floor, all the eye can see is that the animals’ heads are lined up perfectly under the crown molding.

Color Difference Due To Fading Over The Years

January 24, 2018


I hung this original paper more than 15 years ago. Some areas had become stained, so I was called to fix it. Luckily, the homeowner had saved the left over paper, so there was enough to replace the damaged strips.

You can see a slight difference in color between the strip on the left, which was hung 15 years ago and has been exposed to light all that time, and the strip on the right, which has been stored in a dark closet until I put it up today.

“Sweating” Wallpaper – ?

October 19, 2016
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See the sheen on that wallpaper? After the paper was pasted and booked (folded for a few minutes with pasted-side-to-pasted-side), it began to feel somewhat clammy on the surface, as if moisture from the paste were seeping through. In some parts of the room, this seemed to leave a residue on the surface of the paper, and it didn’t disappear, even after the paste had dried. You can see this in the second photo. It was more prominent along the seams, and could possibly be exacerbated by pressure from my smoothing tool against the surface of the paper, or by gentle wiping of the seams with a damp cloth. (Somewhat curious, because I mostly “work clean,” meaning, keep paste off the surface, and avoid wiping the wallpaper at all.)

The vertical lines above the left edge of the fireplace did not disappear as the paper dried. These were the only seams that looked like this. (Some other seams exhibited this, but to a much lesser degree.) I was disappointed, because this was a really expensive wallpaper.

I really didn’t like it, and, after checking that we had enough paper, I stripped off the effected strips and rehung with new, making extra sure to not get any paste on the surface, nor to press too hard with any tool. The three new strips looked fresh and clean and wonderful. 🙂

Plotting a Mural Before Hitting the Wall

September 1, 2016
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Most murals come in strips or panels, which can be either vertical (as shown here) or horizontal. Before hitting the back with paste and attempting to put the paper on the wall, it’s a really good idea to unroll all the panels an spread the mural out on the floor.

This will allow you to organize the panels into the sequence in which you want them to be hung. You will also need to check the dimensions of the mural as compared to those of the wall, and decide which, if any, of the design will have to be cut off and discarded. You’ll also be checking to see how (well) the pattern matches across the seams.

Another Example of Paneling in Grasscloth

July 2, 2015
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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.”

Splintery Edges

April 24, 2015

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See the little shreds of paper coming off the edges of these rolls of wallpaper? The cutting blades at the factory are dull perhaps, or maybe they just forgot to tidy up their work. Either way, these little splinters can prevent the seams from meeting up nicely, so they should be removed. All it takes is a little brushing with a toothbrush, or running a sanding block along the edges of each strip.

Simple and easy. BUT – time consuming. I could get a couple of strips up on the wall, but instead am dicking around cleaning up these miniscule bits that the manufacturer should have not had in the first place. Harrumph!