Posts Tagged ‘tools’

What’s A “Fat Cut” ?

January 28, 2023
Here, I’m hanging paper from right to left, and have just come around a corner , which is in the center of the picture. You almost never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner . Corners are never straight , and the paper will buckle in the corner . And the edge will not be straight , nor plumb , and thus the next strip won’t butt up perfectly against it . And it’s also probable that the strip will torque off either up or down, causing your pattern to creep up or down the ceiling and floor lines.
The answer is to stop the strip of wallpaper in the corner , and cut a new piece for the subsequent wall.
But you can’t just trim tightly to the corner. Because most likely there will be gaps (remember I said that corners are never straight?), so some of the wall will show.
So what you do is wrap the paper just a teeny amount around the corner , and then overlap your new piece over that. This does mean that you will lose some of the pattern in that overlap.
I can’t stand that pattern mis-match, so most of the time, the way I do it, I’ll take a fresh strip of wallpaper for the next strip (to be placed on the left in the photo) and trim it so the pattern matches as perfectly as possible. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the fat cut …
In the photo, I’ve cut my strip on the left 1/2″ wider than needed to fit this wall. I don’t want this 1/2″ of wallpaper under my overlapped new strip, because the leaves a visible ridge. But you do want a little underlap, because you need that to prevent a gap from showing in the corner.
So in the photo, I’ve trimmed off most of that 1/2″ and trimmed it down to an unnoticeable 1/8″. How on earth can you get a trim that thin and that consistent?!
I use this handy metal plate with a rolled edge (on the left).
This plate has bends and other edges of other thicknesses , rounded edges , won’t leave marks on wallpaper, so it has many uses.
Here’s a close up of the trim guide edge that allows for that 1/8″ fat cut .
Back side of the plate. (Don’t mind the blue tape – it’s just there temporarily.)
This edge is a little thinner , and would cut too close for use in a corner. But it does have a use if you need a trim in an area where you don’t want the paper trimmed tightly into the edge / corner.
You’re looking at where wallpaper meets crown molding. This join edge has gaps between the molding and the wall in some areas, and other areas have gunk and uneven areas. Trimming with my usual trim guide would cut too close and let some of these icky things show. So here I’ve used the thicker trim guide. As you can see, it allows the wallpaper to wrap ever so teeny much of a bit, so it covers the bad area, but doesn’t creep onto the molding.
Here’s another example, along door molding. At the top, I used my usual thin trim guide (see below). But this allowed a bit of a gap to show, due to decades’ build up of paint , caulk , dirt , etc.
So, midway, I switched to using the steel plate as a trim guide. This made the cut just fat enough that the wallpaper wrapped a hair and covered the icky area.
Here’s my usual trim guide . I’m guessing it’s about 9″-12″ long .
You can see that the edge is very thin . In most cases, this is ideal, because it allows for good, tight trims right smack into corners and edges.
That steel plate shown above was invented by a colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) . They are all the same length, but they come with three different degrees of angles , and can be used for lots of wallpaper installation tasks .
The colleagues has them manufactured and then sells them to us paperhangers . She sells other cool tools , too. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these , or seeing what else she has, go here https://www.facebook.com/customwallpapertools or here https://www.wallpapertoolstore.com/?fbclid=IwAR2NFrG2gWSzNClNMB0gHDiQHbnkhyNhthaOFQaK8MCaU7rBYVQhYQkO0nc
Her name is Eunice , so we call them EuniTools .

Tools For Double-Cutting / Splicing

December 24, 2022
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that double-cutting was needed for that vinyl mural installation. This type of trimming is often used in commercial vinyl jobs (hotels, hospitals). Above are some tools that help make it go more smoothly.
~The clear plastic tape on the right is made of polystyrene plastic. It’s flexible, but thick enough that you can’t cut through it with a razor blade. It’s used to ” pad ” the wall under where your cut will be, so it goes from ceiling to floor. It’s wide enough that you can straddle where your seam will be, and have 2″ or so in which to make your cut. This stuff is really important, because you never want to score into the wall surface, nor even into the primer . If the wall surface becomes un-intact , then when the wallpaper paste dries and the paper shrinks a bit, it puts stress on the seams. If the wall is not intact under those seams, the wall surface may give way and you end up with a ” popped ” seam. It’s not the paper coming loose – it’s the wall itself coming apart, and is difficult to repair.
~The roll of thin blue tape is used to keep paste off the wallpaper. You put it on the under side / pasted side of your second strip where it’s going to overlap onto the strip that is already on the wall , which is the area where your splice cut will be made. This blue tape can be used for other purposes, too, when you want to keep paste off the ceiling , for instance, or your last corner where the last strip meets up with the first strip.
~That metal tool is a 20″ long trim guide. It has a non-slip strip under the left edge, and a point at the top to get right up against the ceiling. The handle makes is super easy to hold and manipulate . This comes in both shorter and longer lengths.
~All of the above were invented and are sold by members of the Wallcovering Installers Association . Contact me if you are interested in purchasing.
~And, of course – razor blades. When I D/C, I usually hold a single edge blade in my fingers. But some installers use a snap-off blade in a holder. Whatever works best for you!
~Once your trim cut is made, of course, you need to remove the two tapes, the cut-off strips, and then smooth the two pieces back into place.
~For more information and photos on how this whole process works, click and read here https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/stinky-ink-curling-seams/

From Dark and Dated to Light and Livable

December 17, 2022

Oh, my! – I hung lots of these chintz florals, ” satin ” look (the design of the dark green at the bottom of the wall), and dark colors back in the ’90’s . Sure enough – this home was built and wallpapered in 1994.
IIt’s still a good look, IMO, and the homeowner still likes it. But she’s just gotten tired of it. So – time for an update !
She also decided to eliminate the chair rail , so the new wallpaper will go ceiling to floor . Here you see some damage to the drywall where the chair rail molding was removed .
What a change! Now the room’s look is quiet and fresh .
The buffet , topped with a decorative mirror , will go on this wall . That’s why I centered the pattern in between the windows , so it will fall evenly on either side of the furnishings .
I also plotted so that a full “Moroccan lantern” (that’s what this style of trellis pattern is called), would balance out between the crown molding and the window molding. There were several of these 12.5″ high areas all around the room, so this placement of whole “lantern” motifs gave the room a pleasing look.
It also worked out that the lanterns were evenly placed and kept whole between the crown molding and the baseboard. See the second following photo to see what I’m talking about
As a note – just this one window wall took me about five hours to measure , calculate , and hang . Getting the pattern to go over, around, and under the two windows , and still line up and match correctly , took some time and futzing. The material was thick and stiff , and a bit tricky to fit into corners and trim around the decorative window molding .
In the foreground you see my work table area . The homeowner has let me put protective padding on her dining room table and then set my work table on that. This saves space and allows plenty of room for my ladder and other tools as I work around all four walls.
So that I could center the pattern on this wall , I had to start hanging my first strip in the middle of the wall. I was lucky this time, that the pattern was centered exactly on the edge of the wallpaper roll . Sometimes (as in the one I did yesterday – see previous post ) the center of the design motif is a to the right or left of the edge of the wallpaper . This, naturally, means you’ve got to do more measuring and plotting and double-checking , to be sure the center of the design falls down the center of the wall .
Back to the photo above … that dark block on the right side of my work table is my laser level. It’s shooting a perfectly plumb red line onto the wall. Here I’m lining up my first strip of paper butted against this red line .
Switch topics … Back in 1994, the original installer did a very nice job of hanging the wallpaper. But … he didn’t prime the new drywall first. That lack of primer / protective layer means that the wallpaper will actually bond to the drywall. I tried, but was unable to get the existing wallpaper off . Eventually, you need to factor in time , damage to the wall , paste residue left on the wall, and take a different tac if called for.
So I skim-floated over the seams , so they wouldn’t show under the new paper , and also floated over the damaged drywall where the chair rail had been removed . Sanded smooth , and then primed the patched areas as well as the original wallpaper, with Roman Ultra Prime Pro 977 . This stuff will adhere to the light acrylic (slick) surface of the original wallpaper, as well as protect it from moisture from my paste on the new wallpaper. ( Moisture could cause the underlying original wallpaper to expand , creating bubbles that will look bad, or loose areas that will pull away from the wall, creating a bubble or pocket.)
My primer is also lightly pigmented, so it helps block out the dark color and busy pattern of the original wallpaper . This particular new wallpaper is quite opaque , but not all of them are, so a pigmented primer is important , IMO .

Left corner of the buffet wall. Here you can see how the lantern motifs are placed between ceiling and floor.
The background has a lightly mottled effect, that mimics grasscloth a bit, and also adds more depth and warmth than just a plain solid color .
Been havin’ more than a fair share of defects lately, especially this week. This paper had on both front and back sides, incidences of these black flecks . They seemed to be maybe charcoal , so I wasn’t too worried about their black bleeding through to the surface , like ink or any oil-based substance will do.
Most of them were embedded in the material itself, so could not be wiped off , nor dug out with a razor blade . Some I had to cut around and discard the affected paper. Others were so small as to not be noticeable once the paper was up on the wall and all the furniture and artwork was back in the room.
There was also one 3′ section of wallpaper that had an odd streak or arc running across it. It wasn’t ink . It was more like some kind of compromise to the substrate . I noticed it was I was pasting the back of the paper . I turned it over and, sure enough, you could see it a little on the surface. (see photo in previous post) It’s the kind of thing that was subtle, but would catch your eye when looking at the wall from a distance . It was minor , but I discarded that strip . Good thing I have the homeowners purchase a little extra wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Designer Wallcoverings , which is a good quality brand (aside from the printing defects I described earlier ). It was a non-woven / paste the wall material , which is pretty user-friendly . It will strip off the wall easily and in one piece when you redecorate . Stain-resistant , and ” breathable ” in humid conditions .
The home is in the West University neighborhood of Houston . Dining room installer

No Door on Powder Room Makes for Easier Install

December 14, 2022

Hanging wallpaper in small power rooms can be trying. They’re small (about the same width as the door, about 36″). You’ve got a sink and a toilet in there. You’ve stuffed a ladder in, too. You’re carrying tools and rolls of wallpaper in and out. And to top if off – in most homes, the door opens inward. (There are actually reasons for this – Google it.)
But that door pushing into an already over-crowded tiny room makes it even more difficult to get paper up on the wall. I need to go in and out of the room frequently. And it becomes a juggling act of squeezing my body around the door, repositioning the ladder, holding on to the paper and tools,,, yada. Over and over again all day long.
What’s great about this picture? The homeowner has had the door to her powder room removed!
Here’s another home where the door actually opens outward. Sure makes it easy for me to get my equipment in and out of the room! And less chance of damage to the wallpaper, too.

Narrower-ing A Strip For Better Seam Placement

October 11, 2022
Here I am moving from right to left across this wall, fixin’ to put wallpaper over, around, and then under this window .
The distance from the existing strip to the corner is 20.” The width of the wallpaper is 18.” This means that my next wallpaper strip is going to fall 2″ short of reaching that wall to the left. So another strip will be needed to cover that last 2.” That’s two full length, 9′ long strips to cover that small bit of wall space. And there will be a seam down the middle.
I’d like to use less paper and have less waste. And I sure would like to avoid having a seam down the middle. Both because installing it is a PITA and also because it would look better and be more stable without the seam.
If I could just make that next strip over the window narrower, it would pull the full-length strip a bit to the right, eliminating the second strip and the seam.
Each 18″ wide strip has two stripes of flowers running down it. There’s a little gap between these stripes, so it’s possible to split the strip in half vertically between the rows of flowers. Then I’ll have a 9″ wide strip filling the gap over the window, instead of an 18″ wide strip.
So here I’m using a straightedge and razor blade to split the strip. (Normally I do this on my table with my 76″ straightedge , but today I’m working on the floor and with different tools .)
Here is the piece viewed from the front. The pink bit of flower on the right side is going to match up with the corresponding flower on the existing strip over the window . I made sure that the left edge of this 9″ wide strip has no flowers or motifs crossing over the left edge. That way there is no pattern to match across the seam, so I can choose any piece I want for the final strip that will go in between the window and the corner.
Here it is in place. Now I have only 11″ of width to cover with wallpaper , and no seam down the middle .
Same procedure for under the window. Except I’m not trimming this piece to 9.” I’m leaving it about 2″ wider. One reason is because that full-height strip coming down between the window and the corner is likely to twist or stretch a bit, and thus won’t line up absolutely perfectly with the strip under the window. Having this strip under the window be wider will allow the strip coming down the side of the window, when it gets down to under the window, it will overlap the strip under the window by about 2.” So I’m going to double cut / splice these two pieces together.
I’m also not adhering this piece to the wall yet, because I don’t want the paste to start drying, as I will need wet paste and paper that is easy to pull off the wall, in order to do the double cut.
OK, so here we are over the window, getting ready to put in our long 11″ wide strip down alongside the window. Actually, I’m cutting this piece 12″ wide, to allow for trimming along that left edge in the corner. This will also accommodate if the paper twists or shifts over that 9′ drop from ceiling to floor.
I chose a flower to put at the top of the wall that is different from what’s on the existing strip, so there won’t be repetitive motifs. But the right edge of this strip of paper has a design part that is meant to match up with the corresponding flower on the left edge of the previous strip.
But we don’t have that corresponding flower, because I cut that strip down from 18″ wide to 9″ and thus lost the left edge of the paper, along with the corresponding flower.
I don’t want this half-motif to be hanging in the middle of nowhere. Even 9′ up above the window, it might catch your eye.
No problem. I took my straightedge and razor blade and trimmed off 1/2″, which got rid of that design element.
Note that I did this before I trimmed this long strip to 12.” If I had trimmed it off before, then this strip would have ended up 11.5″ wide instead of 12″ and might not have fit the space since wallpaper can twist and shift during that 9′ drop.
Sorry, no photo of that strip butting up to the piece over the window and then dropping down the space between the window and the corner.
So that strip is in place now, and here we are under the window, with that 9″ wide gap to fill.
So I take the strip I had set aside for under the window and position it next to the strip on the right. Remember that I cut this middle strip about 2″ wider, so it overlaps the strip on the left. I need this overlap to do the double cut / splice.
When splicing on the wall, it’s important not to let your blade score into the wall. If the wall surface becomes compromised, the torque created when the paste dries and the wallpaper shrinks a bit can tug at the wall and cause layers of paint or etc. to pull away from the wall, resulting in an open seam.
So I’m padding behind where my cut will be made with this strip of flexible Lexion plastic. It’s thin enough to not make much of a bump under the paper, but thick enough that you can’t cut through it with a razor blade.
If you’re interested in this cool stuff, email me and I’ll hook you up with the guy who sells it. wallpaperlady@att.net
There it is on the wall.
Now I put the two layers of paper over it . Note that this is a paste-the-wall wallcovering, so there is no paste on the strip on the right, so nothing to stain the paper below it. If this were a regular paste-the-paper material, you can use thin plastic strips (like painter’s plastic) to cover up that paste.
Trim guide in place, and I’m getting ready to make the cut with a new single edge razor blade. You have to press hard enough to get through both layers of paper in the first try, but not so hard as to cut into the wall.
I’ve plotted where my splice will go, to not cut through any flower motifs, and to be sure to cut off that little bit of flower you can see shadowing through from the wallpaper piece underneath – just to the left of the large flower.
Once the cut is done, I remove the excess paper on the left.
Then reach underneath and remove the excess paper from the bottom strip.
Another shot of pulling out that excess bottom paper. Next I removed the Lexion strip. I set those in a bucket of water to keep the paste wet until I can wash in the sink.
Bringing the two strips to meet up and then smoothing into place. No paste got on the surface, so no need to wipe the seam.
A double cut / splice makes the absolutely most perfect and invisible seam, because both pieces have been cut together and butt perfectly.
Here it is finished. Technically, due to slicing the strips in half vertically, the floral strip on the far left is about 1/2″ further away from the strip on the right than it “should” be. But – eh – who the heck is going to notice that?!
What’s important is that no flower motifs got cut in half, no identical flowers ended up next to each other, here’s no seam down the middle of that space, and only one 9′ high strip of wallpaper was required (instead of two).
Done. Oh my gosh – now I’ve got to do the same thing on the opposite side of the wall!!
The pattern is called Sweet Pea and is by Serena & Lily .
This went in a nursery in a home in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

Ladder Shelf

September 24, 2022
Some wallpaper installers like to carry their tools in a belt pouch . I prefer to have them laid out in front of me. So I’ve built shelf boxes for the tops of my ladders .
Simply made out of 1″ thick wooden shelf board , and edged with a boarder “fence” cut from wooden yardsticks.
I’ve covered the bottom with clear Contact Paper . Note the two bolts .
I have bolts going through the shelf and then through the top “step” of my ladder, secured by wing nuts beneath .
This prevents the shelf from sliding around, and also makes it removable if needed.

Wallpaper and Toilet Paper Holder

May 14, 2022

I usually do my own prep, but this time the homeowner had her contractor strip the existing wallpaper. This photo is to show you the toilet paper holder close up. You’ll have to imagine it without the wallpaper, as it was when I arrived to start this project.
Fixtures like this, including towel bars and rings and many light fixtures , can be removed by loosening the recessed set screws , which are usually on the bottom of the fixture. They will take either a very small flat-head screwdriver , or a small allen wrench . These sit very close to the wall, so you have to be careful not to let your tools scratch or mar the wall as you work.
Here’s a close-up of the underside of the fixture, showing the recessed set screw. In this case, an allen wrench was needed. Most fixtures take the same size wrench. Here I’m using my American set. But you occasionally will need a metric set.
Once I got the holder off, I discovered that the contractor had not bothered to remove the toilet paper holder, but had cut around it. In doing this, he also left some of the original wallpaper. Also, by cutting around the fixture, he scored into the wall, which is not good because it breaks the surface and creates a potentially unstable surface that can come apart over time. In addition, it took them a whole lot of time to work around this fixture to remove the old wallpaper and then repair and smooth the wall.
The whole business makes little sense, because it’s ultimately easier and faster to simply remove the thing. No damage to the wall, and then wallpaper can go behind the fixture leaving no cut edges around it.
Here I’ve hung the wallpaper and marked the holes for the screws.
Mounting bracket back in place.
Toilet paper holder reattached.

My Work Table Set Up

April 28, 2022
It’s the end of the day and I’m packing up. Items are sitting on the table that I normally would not allow. I’ve already pulled up the dropcloths I had along the walls. But you get the idea of my work area set-up , and the tools I use.
The table is for measuring, trimming, and pasting. My other, smaller, hand tools (not shown) are used for the actual wallpaper installation process. My toolbox is in the rear right.

Tropical Foliage Re-Do – Peel & Stick Debacle UnDone

November 26, 2021
Re my previous post about an under-the-stairs powder room that the homeowners attempted to install an argumentative peel & stick material … here is the finished room after I stripped off the P&S, smoothed the walls, and hung the new wallpaper choice. I engineered to place the sole philodendron leaf down the center of the ceiling.
Where the under-the-stairs ceiling met the area over the door, the two surfaces came together in a very sharp angle. It was difficult to get in there and work, and to get the paper tight into the joint. Fingers can be too fat, so this is where tools can squeeze in there and save the day. This is also my kill point . Do a search here on that term for more info. A long story and maybe an hour or more of work, but you will note that there are no pattern mis-matches here. The homeowners were out of town, so I felt unpressured and could take as long as I needed to make these three areas look seamless.
I love the hand-painted, water colory look of this pattern.
This photo shows the joint where the walls meet the sloped under-the-stairs ceiling. A wallpaper pattern will never match perfectly in these situations. At first, I tried a few tricks to ” fool the eye .” But I decided it looked crisper and less distracting to just trim the two papers where they met. Here, we had the advantage that the tropical foliage pattern was busy enough that, I mean, really, when you step three feet back, who’s gonna notice a minor pattern mis-match, anyway? The pattern does match in the corners on either side behind the toilet, though (see photo). Even though this only 4.5″ high, it does lend subtle continuity to the room.
When I see Candice Olson, I fast forward to glitz and glam and glitter and shimmer. Here her tropical foliage design is a bit more main stream. York is the mother company, and I love their products.

This home is in the Heights neighborhood of central Houston.

Getting a “Fat Cut” in Corners – Using a Euni Plate

May 7, 2021

You never wrap a strip of wallpaper around an inside corner.

Corners are neither straight nor true-to-plumb. So trying to wrap around a corner will result in a warped edge, and most likely a strip that is wonking off-plumb.

So you cut your strip of paper vertically in the corner, leaving a tiny bit wrapping onto the new wall. See second photo.

Your next strip of paper will overlap on top of this narrow wrap.

Splitting the strip and overlapping means that you will cover up and lose some of the wallpaper design. Hence, the less you wrap around the corner, the less of the design will be lost in the overlap.

The thickness of the rolled edge of this stainless steel plate / tool is just perfect as a trim guide! Trimming against the rolled edge will yield a 1/16″ – 1/8″ wrap around the corner. So, when you overlap your next piece (the strip you split in half vertically), you are only losing a fraction of the wallpaper design.

This tool has other uses as well – some are too complicated to get into here. But the thinner edge can be used as a trim guide for regular wallpaper work. It’s shorter than most trim guides, so it can be used in small areas. The rounded edges can be used to press paper into areas, or to crease paper before trimming – without leaving marks. And the angle has a purpose – again, too complicated for here. Plus, there are other plates with different angles available, each with different uses.

This ingenious gizmo was conceived by Eunice Bockstrom, a Canadian and fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). Once or twice a year, she has a metal shop make a run of these metal plates. Eunice has also invented some other very helpful tools, and they also become available when the factory makes a run of them.

We call all of these Euni Tools. 🙂