Posts Tagged ‘trimmed’

Hand Trimming Wallpaper

March 28, 2021

A lot of high-end wallpapers come with an unprinted selvedge edge that has to be trimmed off by hand before the paper can go up on the wall.

Hmmm … they charge you more because it’s a “designer brand.” But they give you less, because it takes a lot of time, precision, and razor blades to trim this off, when the company could have simply done it at their factory.

O.K., moving past that … To trim off the selvedge, I used my 6′ brass-bound straight edge and lots of new, sharp, single-edge razor blades. The “Trim” mark guides printed on the material by the manufacturer were pretty much on-target.

Thus the pattern on the trimmed strips matched up very nicely once pasted and hung on the wall.

’70’s Retro Flower Power

December 9, 2020

Here is a home where people are not scared of color, nor of pattern …. What a fun switch from drab to dramatic – with a little groovy tossed in!

The wallpaper is by Sanderson, a British company. Unlike most modern British papers which are of non-woven material, this was printed on a pulp substrate, and the surface felt like vinyl. Once wet with paste, it was fairly flimsy and prone to tear while being trimmed with a razor blade. Once dry, it will be a bit more durable.

This was a small, cramped powder room. It was super appreciated that the homeowners had removed the sink before I started work, so it was much easier to hang paper on that wall.

The home is in the Montrose area of inner loop Houston.

Classic Chinoiserie Toile in Powder Room

October 30, 2020

The homeowner chose the rough marble tile backsplash wall in hopes that it would enliven the room. But with the other walls painted a bland taupe, the effect fell flat. She chose this classic 2-tone “Pillement Toile” by Scalamandre to add softness to the room and to bring out the tile wall. Mission accomplished!

This was not the easiest wallpaper to hang. For starters, like many higher-end papers, it comes with a selvage edge that had to be trimmed off by hand. (5th photo)

Also, as with many hand-screened prints that are made with “stinky inks” – the ink smells like mothballs – the ink, substrate, and moisture from the paste all fight each other, resulting in what we call curl. (4th photo) There was also some warping and stretching. It took quite a bit of time and effort to finesse that strip in the fourth photo to lie flat and tight to the wall.

Once the paper started to dry, the seams laid down tighter to the wall.

If you’re curious, that blue plastic tape in the fourth photo is placed on the edge of the wallpaper to prevent paste from getting onto the marble tile wall. Once the wallpaper is trimmed along that edge, the tape is removed. Voilà! No need to wipe paste off the stone!

The home is off Braeswood in Houston.

Bringing Back The Bird

August 6, 2020


Re my previous post, where I explain why to add 2″ to EACH side of EACH dimension (height and width) of the wall when measuring for a mural (for a total of 4″ to both height and width),,, thus when the mural is installed, there will be 2″ or more of excess paper trimmed off and discarded from each side.

Usually, the manufacturer leaves a good bit of space around all sides that has no important pattern or motifs, so you are not losing anything special when this excess paper is trimmed off.

But this mural had a part of a bird flying in from the left edge. And he was going to be completely cut off and thrown into the trash.

I thought it would look better if the mural included this arriving feathered friend.

So I took the strip of wallpaper that had been trimmed off from the left side of the mural, and cut around his figure, pasted the back side, and appliquéd him to the upper left edge of the mural – right where the artists planned to have him be.

Tall Walls and Awkward Spaces

March 28, 2020


This home office in a new, contemporary home in the Sunset Terrace / West University neighborhood of Houston has walls that were nearly 11′ high. In addition, there were bookcases and desks that I had to lean over in order to reach much of the wallspace.

My solution was to bring my 6′ ladder in addition to my usual 5′ ladder. By placing the shorter ladder on top of the desk counter, I was able get close enough and high enough to do the wall behind the desk.

I’m not quite 100lbs, so my weight and its distribution on the counter was not a worry.

To reach the area over the bookcases to the left, I had to do a combination of balancing on the 5′ ladder, and stepping onto the very top of the 6′ ladder, then leaning precariously, and placing a foot onto the shelves – without putting too much weight, because they were not securely attached.

You can be sure that I had to keep mindful of my center of gravity, how close the ladder was to the edge of that counter, how far I had to reach, how much backward torque that placed on the ladder, how stable the ladder was on its surface, and a whole lot more – all while also concentrating on getting the paper straight, trimmed, and smooth on the wall.

Bibliotheque Install Details, Pt I – Hand Trimming, Overlapping

March 18, 2020

Like many of the higher-end brands, this Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper had to have its selvedge edge trimmed off by hand. Unfortunately, they did not provide trim guide marks. Double unfortunately, I tried using the pattern as a guide, but, for a lot of reasons, this was a big fail – the edges looked like they had been trimmed with a hair curling iron. 😦

How, then, was I going to get good seams?

I was preparing to double cut (splice). But for many reasons, this was not presenting as a good option.

Then I got the idea to overlap. This turned out to be the perfect solution!

The edges of the “bookshelves” were not straight, so, instead of using my straightedge as a trim guide, I grabbed a new razor blade and free-handed my cuts along the design. (see top photo)

Then, after measuring, pasting, and booking my strips, I positioned them on the wall by overlapping one “shelf support” on top of the previous one. The second photo shows one strip being placed thusly.

Overlapping like this does leave a ridge under the wallpaper. But it is not very noticeable, especially since my design motifs were perfectly aligned.

What’s even cooler is that this overlap added a bit of 3-D to the room, which is what you would have if you had real wood and books in there.

Another advantage is that I could tweak the spacing if needed, to plumb up a strip that might have started going crooked.

Balancing Grasscloth Panels

January 18, 2020


Because grasscloth does not have a pattern that can be matched, the seams are always visible. And, due to the characteristics of natural materials, the strips will have color variations within themselves. This means that you will distinctly see each individual panel on the wall.

Because each panel is noticeable, walls usually look better if each panel is the same width. In other words, on a wall 14′ wide, it looks better to have five strips that are each 33.5″ wide, rather than four strips that are 3′ wide and one that is 2.’

In addition, grasscloth invariably comes with edges that have been abraded during shipping. On top of that, it’s common to have color issues at the edges – either a light band, or a dark band, or irregular bands of shading along the edges.

For that reason, many paperhangers trim the edges off both sides of each strip of grasscloth. This allows the installer to trim the width to fit the wall’s dimensions, it gets rid of most of the damage caused by shipping and handling, and it reduces the shading that the manufacturer’s dye process may have left along the edges.

If you study the photo closely, you will see that all these panels are the same width.

And, while some jagged color variations do appear along some of the edges, it is not pronounced, as the darkest areas have been trimmed off.

There is still a color difference between the three strips on the right and the four strips on the left – but that is just the nature of grasscloth and its manufacturing process

As you can imagine, all this measuring and plotting and trimming takes extra time. If you’re like me and like math and geometry and logistics, hanging grasscloth can be a whole lot of fun!

Hand Trimming Off the Selvedge Edge

December 10, 2019


This wallpaper pattern by Lindsay Cowels came with an unprinted selvedge edge, which had to be trimmed off by hand before the paper could go up.

I used a brass-bound straightedge and plenty of new razor blades to do this trimming.

Painters Aren’t Wallpaper Preppers – Bless Their Hearts

July 28, 2019


Someone else did some work in this powder room, and that included skim-floating and “prepping the walls for wallpaper.” The main part of the walls that you see when you walk into the room looked nice and smooth.

But on closer inspection, it’s clear that they did not bother to remove switch plate covers or the A/C vent, and didn’t know how to smooth the area along the top of the pedestal sink. Sorry, no pics.

And along the baseboard and crown molding, as well as behind the toilet, they did not get a smooth transition between the smoothing compound and the wall. Please see the photos. You notice where the smoothing compound is globbed on top of the baseboard in an irregular mess.

This is a problem, because these areas are exactly where the wallpaper will be trimmed, and asked to adhere tightly. The problem is, the paper needs a smooth, intact area to grab ahold of. These areas do not provide that.

I could chip off some of this stuff, but not all of it. So the homeowner will be left with jagged cuts at these areas, plus the possibility that the paper will not cling tightly to the irregular surface.

Again, folks: Wallpaper prep should be done by a paperhanger, not a painter or handyman or other kind of tradesman. They simply don’t understand what is required, and typically don’t have the patience or desire to do the detailed work correctly.

Koi Fish on Grasscloth – Caitlin McGauley

July 18, 2019


I’ve got a koi pond, so I like this one a lot! This grasscloth has a selvedge edge that needs to be trimmed off by hand with a razor blade and straight edge.

It’s called Koromo by Caitlin McGauley, and I hung it in an under-the-stairs powder room in a home in the Memorial Villages area of Houston.

Possibly not the best choice in a home with young children, because grasscloth will stain readily when splashed with water, touched by hands, or visited by little boys with bad aim. 🙂 But if you want the look and texture, this one delivers.

The interior designer for this job is Layne Ogden, of Layne Torsch Interiors.