Posts Tagged ‘substrate’

“Priming” Wall With Paste to Keep Seams Down Tight

August 3, 2021
Hard to see, but the slightly darker, shiny section of wall to the left of the wallpaper is a bit of paste that I have rolled onto the wall along where a seam will lie.
The paste has pulled the edges of the paper nice and tight to the wall. Never mind the slight pattern mis-match … this is a hand screen print, and it’s pretty common for these to be slightly off in printing and/or trimming. The pattern matched better above the door, then drifted off as the paper neared the bottom of the strip. You can also see that some of the edges are somewhat jagged and saw-dusty, due to trimming at the factory.

Some manufacturers use inks that fight with their substrates. The substrate absorbs moisture from the paste and expands, but the inked layer does not, so you end up with the bottom layer stretching and forcing the top layer to curl back, resulting in edges that curl and don’t stay tight to the wall.

Any time you smell ink that calls to mind mothballs, you can expect to deal with this issue. It’s pretty common with screen printed wallpapers.

One trick is to lightly sponge the surface with water before pasting the back. Another, which I have discussed here previously, is to paste the paper, fold and book it, and then dip the rolled-up edges into 1/4″ of clean water. Then place the rolled up strip into a plastic trash bag for the booking period. This helps to keep the edges from drying out while the paper books.

On many papers, I’ve found that it also helps to roll a light coat of paste onto the wall, just under where the seams will fall. This works amazingly well to grab the edges and hold them tightly against the wall.

Coloring Edges of Wallpaper to Prevent White Backing from Showing

July 22, 2021

When hanging a dark wallpaper, sometimes the white edges of the substrate will show at the seams. Other times, the paper may shrink a tad when the paste dries, and teeny gaps may appear, again, showing white at the seams.

So I will often run a stick of chalk along the edges of the strip of wallpaper – applying from the back, to avoid getting color onto the surface.

It’s important that you use chalk, and never oil pastels. Oil products may bleed into the wallpaper, and cause visible staining on the surface.

Bold Pattern Toned Down a Bit, Mural in Nursery

June 30, 2021
Before. Smoothed, primed, and ready for wallpaper.
After. It’s more of a “dusty salmon” than a true “pink.” The parents are leaning toward a light sage green for the remaining three walls.
Close up.
Mock-up. While this is a typical repeating pattern, the manufacturer chose to package it as a mural, rather than standard rolled goods. This format works well with digital printing, and allows murals to be custom-sized to fit any wall. (Note: This mural is only offered in a standard size, 12′ wide x 9′ high.)
Rolling panels out on the floor to check measurements, plot placement
Manufacturer is Koko Art, a family-owned business in Florida.

With its black outlines and over-scaled flowers, this pattern is a bit bolder than you see in most nurseries. But the muted tans and salmons keep the look soft and sweet.

The remaining walls will be painted, but Mom wanted to see the mural up on the wall and in the room’s lighting before she chooses a paint color.

This product was packaged as a 6-panel mural. While many murals these days are custom-sized to the customer’s wall, this one came in a set size – 12′ W x 9′ H. It’s important that the mural be 4″ wider and also 4″ higher than your wall, to accommodate trimming at floor, ceiling, and corners, and to accommodate wonky walls and unlevel ceilings.

Koko Art Shop offers three substrate options. Two were peel & stick, so I nixed that sorrowful stuff. Instead, the family chose this lovely pre-pasted option. It went up very nicely.

The home is in an established community in Cypress, far northwest Houston.

Oh, and – the baby girl was born early this morning. It was an honor to help get the room decorated and ready for her arrival home!

Weird Red & Blue Dots on Wallpaper Substrate

April 29, 2021
Red dot on back of wallpaper substrate.
Red dot shows through to front of wallpaper.
There were a few blue dots, too.
Being tucked among the foliage helps hide the dots.

This is the second time in recent weeks that I’ve had strange red and blue dots show up on the back of my strips of wallpaper. These are not flecks of wood fiber or string that can be picked out of the material.

They are either inherent to the material the substrate is made of. Or they could have come from substances splashing onto the wallpaper during manufacturing.

What’s upsetting is that they are capable of – and have – bled through to show up on the surface of the wallpaper.

Another fear is that ink bleeds and stains … do a Search here on my blog for more posts. In today’s case, I worry that these tiny dots will bleed and leech over time, and grow to larger stains on the surface of the paper.

This wallpaper is by Katie Kime. Their website says that they use “eco-friendly” inks. I hope this is true. Because water-based inks have less chance of bleeding through than do oil- or solvent-based substances.

II hung two test strips today. We’ll see tomorrow if any of these small dots have enlarged.

Minor Bubbles, Waffling, Quilting on Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpaper manufacturers use heavy inks (a.k.a. stinky ink). When wet paste is rolled on to the back of the wallpaper, these inks commonly compete with the substrate for moisture. The substrate absorbs more moisture and more quickly than the inked areas.

The result is wrinkles, blisters, bubbles, warps, quilting, waffling – whatever you want to name it, you’ve got a bumpy surface that doesn’t want to lie flat on the wall.

One way to tame this beast is to LIGHTLY sponge water onto the surface of the paper, before pasting. This allows the front to absorb moisture at the same time that the backing is soaking up moisture from the paste. The result is a more even “quilting” of the material.

Another thing to keep in mind is that small blisters like seen in the photo will usually flatten out and disappear as the wallpaper paste dries. A good wallpaper-specific primer underneath is a big help.

Also, a liner paper is often a good choice. The liner is a special, unprinted paper that goes under the decorative wallpaper. The liner absorbs moisture quickly and helps “lock down” bubbles and seams.

A liner also ups the installation price. Because you have to add the cost of the material, plus the labor of at least an additional day to hang the liner, and then let it dry at overnight or longer.

Free-Form Rainbow for Baby Due Soon

March 21, 2021
“Before” wall, smoothed and primed.
Measurements done, strip placement plotted, material rolled backward and ready to hang.
Start in the center, to ensure the rainbow lands behind the crib. This is the first three strips.
Although the paper is smooth, the printing method makes it look lightly textured.

Momma chose this soft, water color-y rainbow mural by Anewall for her baby girl’s nursery.

The wall had to be carefully measured, and specific dimensions sent to the manufacturer, to ensure that the custom-printed mural would fit the wall and also have sufficient “bleed” (extra 2″ around EACH side), to allow for trimming and for unlevel and unplumb ceiling and walls.

Don’t let “custom printed” scare you. Modern digital printing makes this easy and affordable.

Just be sure that the paperhanger measures (not Handy Hubby) BEFORE you order.

This was printed on a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method.

The manufacturer is Anewall. I like the products from this company.

They offer several substrate options. I guess I like the non-woven (paste-the-wall) version best. Second to that is the pre-pasted. Not so fond of their vinyl offering, and definitely wouldn’t work with a peel & stick.

The home is in the Bellaire neighborhood of Houston.

Hiding White Seams on Dark Wallpaper

January 6, 2021


This “Melville” pattern by Cole & Son is a dark pattern printed on a white backing. The non-woven substrate is thick, and the white paper was likely to show at the seams.

So, before I pasted the back of the paper, I took a piece of chalk pastel (from a craft or art supply store) and ran it along the edges of the paper, working from the back, to avoid getting chalk onto the printed surface. I started with grey, but it wasn’t covering enough. I switched to black and had more pleasing results.

Some areas of the seams showed a bit of a hair’s breadth black line – but that looked better than a white line. From a distance, you couldn’t see nada.

BTW, don’t try this with oil pastels nor with any ink-based products like markers. Oil and ink (among other substances) will bleed through wallpaper and stain the surface.

(Originally written March 2018)

Funky New Orleans Toile in Inner Loop Houston Powder Room

November 13, 2020

 

The wife grew up in New Orleans and these days she and her husband visit family there regularly.  So the city and it’s vibe is ingrained in them.  

Enter “New Orleans Toile” in a bright green on white colorway by Katie Kime wallpaper.   The design features ionic images of life in that city, including the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, Mardi Gras revelers, a second line parade, a paddle-wheeler on the Missippi River, live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and even alligators in the bayou.  

Once the homogeneous sea-foam green paint gave way to this bright wallpaper, the room lightened up and felt festive.  When the homeowners walked in, the first thing they did was study the line-drawing depictions.  I could tell that they related to the scenes.

Katie Kime products are becoming more user-friendly.  As in the past, this particular product came with a selvage edge that I had to trim off by hand.  But their intel says that the company has shifted to pre-trimmed wallpapers.  This makes installation much simpler and faster, and more DIY-friendly.

KK also has shifted to a non-woven substrate for their wallpaper.  While I do like the traditional paper substrate, there are many advantages to the newer non-woven materials.   For this room, I did use the paste-the-wall installation method.  

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.

Doing the Opposite Today – Removing Wallpaper

September 30, 2020


The large medallion on soft lavender on all walls of this large bedroom worked well for this gal for many years – but now that she’s an older teen, it was time for an update.

So instead of putting wallpaper up, today I took it down.

Most people think that stripping wallpaper is difficult. But if the walls were prepped properly, and if the paper was hung properly, and if the proper removal steps are followed, it should all go well, with minimal damage to the walls. See my link at right, on how to strip wallpaper.

The most important thing is to separate the top, inked layer of paper from the backing / substrate layer. I find that wetting this top layer with a sponge and plain water helps strengthen the fibers, so the top layer can be pulled off in larger strips.

In the second and third photos, you see how the purple layer has been stripped off, leaving the white backing attached to the wall. This top layer has to be removed, because it has an acrylic (or vinyl) coating, and will not allow water to pass through it.

The next step is to soak the backing with plain water and a sponge (see photo). No chemicals, no additives – just plain warm water. You will have to reapply water several times. The idea is to let water soak through this backing layer, to reactivate the paste underneath. Once that paste is good and wet, it should release from the wall. Sometimes you have to gently scrape the backing from the wall. But in my case today, once that paste was reactivated, the substrate layer came away from the wall in full, intact sheets. Easy peasy!

One photo shows my “dull” 3″ stiff putty knife. I call it “dull,” because it’s old and beaten up. But it’s really rather sharp. I use it to carefully get between the inked top layer of wallpaper and the bottom substrate layer. And then I use it to gently scrape wallpaper from the wall.

In my case today, the previous installer had done a superb job of hanging the wallpaper. He applied a primer before hanging the paper. That primer helped make this whole removal job go well, and it protected the walls from damage.

The family will need to apply a stain blocker to prevent any residual paste from causing the new paint from crackling or flaking off. Once that’s dry, the walls can be textured and / or painted. The room’s resident told me that she is planning to go all white.

This home is in the West University area of Houston.