Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Early this morning I got to thinking, maybe I can do this wallpaper hanging by myself.  I got the long strips of horizontal blankstock on the wall successfully, why not the vertical wallpaper?  And if I wait till next week when my friend Hannah* might be able to assist, the latest batch of wheat paste will probably go bad, even if I do have it in Tupperware in the refrigerator.  I’ve wasted too much money already letting wheat paste go bad; I can’t afford to squander any more.

So after a long day of teaching and working at the Big Blue Box Store (and after only slightly more sleep than I’ve been making time for the past week or so), I launched in and tried it.

I think it came out fairly well.  Not professional grade yet, but aligned, on the wall, with no tears or rips or bubbles to poke.  I hung three sheets in all; well, two full-length ones and one split in two above and below the righthand north window.

Some of the seams are excellent, if I say so myself.  You really have to look for them to find them.  Others I tented a little too much, and though the strips don’t actually overlap, today you can still see the line between them and feel the protrusion.  The most worrisome is the one at the bottom of the wall where I have a slight gap.  It couldn’t be helped, not by me at my present level of ability: It’s a function of the curve of the brick and plaster wall.  A pro would be able to stretch the paper just the right way to close that up.  Me, I’m hoping the baseboard covers most or all of it.

The biggest problem is keeping the edges of the strips wet enough with paste so the seams get stuck down.  Or maybe I’m waiting too long to roll them?  I looked up Robert Kelly’s report on seam cycles and he says 11 to 12 minutes for a Britpulp machine print like my “Savernake.”  But is that from the time you begin to apply the paste or from the time you get the abutting strip on the wall?

I could email him and ask, I suppose . . .

I’m glad I recut to adjust the pattern.  Now the heaviest elements will be balanced, top to bottom.  The way I had it at first would have spelled aesthetic disaster.

As for the color, I think it will be all right.  I really do.  Lying on the table or juxtaposed next to the pinky-manila-toned blankstock, the strips look very green.  But together, as a field on the wall, it eases out and goes more brown and neutral.

Beige?  Heaven forbid!

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