Saturday, January 24, 2009

Paper dreams

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You can call it my "New Year Cleaning" of the blog...I keep finding these old posts that never got finished and published! These pictures are from almost a year ago, when Michael and I wallpapered a wall in our bedroom. Originally, I had this really cool idea of creating a patchwork of fabric baffles (covered wood frames) with lots of different textures to cover what was going to be a cinder block wall in our bedroom. When it turned out it was going to be sheetrock, we sort of halfheartedly looked for textured/fabric wallpapers we would like...since, with our degree of laziness, we knew the fabric frames would take forever. Imagine our surprise when we found out that they made wallpaper with woven paper--and even real bamboo slats! We decided to go with some texture, but not the crazy bamboo, and picked this. It's actually woven paper, so the texture is really neat.

I tried in vain to find someone who knew how to apply grasscloth wallpaper. We knew from past experience with contractors that we'd probably only be happy if we did it ourselves. No problem! I thought. My oldest sister is a wallpapering wizard! She lives in a house whose interior is completely Victorian, and has wallpapered even her ceiling with William Morris-inspired paper, pieced into cool knotwork and such. She can help!

I had her over for lunch. She took one look at the wallpaper, after I explained that we had to use a clay-based paste, and said, "Oh, why did you pick this stuff!"

"Why," I asked, "have you worked with it before? Is it horrible?"

"No, I've never used it. It just looks tricky, and I'd be afraid to do it."

"Why would you be afraid?"

"Because you guys are really picky and I don't know if I could get it right. I think you should just try it."

Great. Our crazy wallpaper choice has scared off my domain expert. Well, we decided to try it ourselves, since it was clear we wouldn't get anyone else to do it. After an extensive search for the clay-based paste, we picked a warm day and got busy!
The preparation...oh my, I just saw that although we swathed the bed and floor in plastic, I left the needlework completely unprotected on the walls!

"Action" shot of the super-thick paste going on...

"Booking" the wallpaper so we don't get smeared with paste while carrying it over to the wall.

He's still smiling.... My sister told me that the one who was the least picky should actually apply the wallpaper; otherwise, it would take all day. You can see who's most laid back. =)

Only trust the architect in the family to cut on a straight line...

Two down, two to go!

Annnd, you can tell by the light that it took a while to finish!! I was the chief smoother and bubble-eliminator. I only fouled up a few times when I pushed paste out from seams. But considering that I had NEVER done wallpaper before and had NO IDEA what I was doing, I think I did pretty good. Those spots still await some kind of paint/pencil/crayon over, since it's impossible to clean the paste off the grasscloth. We have a test swatch so we can experiment with different methods. Yeah, we'll get around to that eventually.... =)

We wallpapered...and we're still married!!


Lelia said...

I've never attempted wallpaper -- by your pictures, it came out very nice : )

enjoy your week-end

WoolPets said...

Amazing endeavor! The wallpaper is beautiful!

Susan @ Real Girl Designs said...

What a lovely wallpaper - I always considered wallpaper "old fashioned", but yours is really contemporary, and it's beautiful!

Karoline said...

It looks great, congratulations

Old Geek-outs