Wallpaper by Roger Turner, Poet, May 2012
The room was dank and dreary
The past hung in the air
There was a scent of mildew
A smell of history was there
The paint was old and faded
With stains all dark and brown
The wallpaper too was dated
And it needed to come down
Have you hung wallpaper, yourself?
A wall? An entire room? Several rooms? Does even talking about wallpapering make you anxious?
I’ve yet to meet a homeowner who admits to taking on a wallpapering ‘honey-do’ job and enjoying it. It’s a challenge. If you’re not careful the seams show, or overlap. The pattern doesn’t line up. The strips appear to be different shades (did you forget to reverse each strip). It’s a slow process for the inexperienced and can rattle your nerves
Call me crazy, but I enjoyed it!
In our previous house, I wallpapered every room except a bedroom and baths, some more than a couple of times. Sounds crazy, but once the job got started, I found it therapeutic and I’m generally not a patient person. Wallpapering requires concentration and patience.
Like any job, if you don’t have the right tools, the work becomes more difficult. My father was a painter/paper hanger so I inherited enough of the proper tools and his instructions to help me succeed to a certain degree: a legitimate table, brushes, scissors, straight edge, roller, sponges and some razor blades. Razor blades are quickly consumed, one might do a sheet, maybe two sheets, so don’t be stingy on blades, they dull quickly.
Here’s a tip to help speed along the process. Paste several strips at a time, fold them, pasted side together, and put them aside in a plastic bag. No need to paste and hang one at a time. Those strips in the bag will stay moist for a long time, until you’re ready to use one.
Interestingly, the different layers of wallpaper can tell a story about a family’s growth and changing tastes. In a child’s room, the paper might go from whimsical to serious in a span of a few years as the youngster matures. While an adult might leave wallpaper behind completely as painted walls become the new norm.
One more suggestion, learn to ‘double cut’. Sometimes, you might want to use an extra piece of paper (scrap piece) to fit in a spot. Lay that piece over one that’s already in place, lining up the pattern as you do it. Then cut through both pieces, peel off the trimmed section of the top piece and, Eureka, the new seam will be perfect and you’ve economized a piece that was going to be scrapped.
Some frustration is bound to set in, so do remember to be patient. Sure, I made mistakes, but was always able to correct them. No one else would find them. Unless the ‘honey’ in ‘honey-do’ does a final inspection. In that case, remember this for the next redecorating chore.,.
…painting is more forgiving!
To DIYers everywhere..,