The perils of poor quality wallpaper

DSCF1070Beware shoddy wallpaper!  Or put another way if its a bargain price be prepared to pay in other ways.  I liked the acanthus leaf pattern to be honest and let’s also face it, as this ‘before’ photo demonstrates the bedroom walls needed covering quick.

The thing to remember, according to HWIOO, is that you can’t over paste wallpaper.  As it turns out he was wrong and it wasn’t me who proved it.  It was the Number One Son who was learning the fine art of papering at the tender age of nine or ten.  You can over paste paper if you put half the paste pot on the one sheet.  On the plus note I expect its still gripping the wall it was glued upon to this day.  What HWIOO didn’t say was that sometimes the wallpaper can’t make up its mind about what’s too much paste and what’s too little.

It turned out that you couldn’t over paste the acanthus wallpaper because it had the consistency of thin blotting paper.  Or put another way the glue disappeared when I least wanted it to making shifting it across the sized walls rather tricky and then trying to dry so that the corners peeled and the edges weren’t glued properly resulting in me having to lift and paste the edges in some instances but then in other instances the paper tore, because it had become too wet, at strategic moments leaving me holding two foot of paper and staring glumly at the crumpled heap on the floorboards below the ladder wondering if a) I had enough paper for another length and b) would HWIOO notice if I placed a picture a foot from ceiling height to cover up the rip assuming that I could uncrumple the stretch of paper?

Setting aside the issue of one sheet becoming two sheets at a moments notice there was the stretching issue which we won’t linger on because I’ll probably be dreaming about acanthus leaves and trying to get them to match up for a while to come.

Beyond that there were the air bubbles. All paper needs to be smoothed on to the wall to make sure there’s a good bond between the two surfaces, yes, but not twice and definitely not thrice.  The bubbles popped up like little aliens reminding me of the children’s game where the little blighters jump up and you hit them with a hammer to make them go away…if only it had been that simple. In the end I put the paper up, smoothed it; cut the next sheet then returned to the first sheet to remove the air bubbles that blossomed while my back was turned.  The next step was to put the second strip of wall paper up before it dissolved into a sodden mulch on the pasting table or to put it up and realised that the paste had evaporated whilst I wasn’t looking, smooth it down and return to the first strip to force persistent air bubbles out.  Then because even I learn from my errors check back over all the other strips as the papering progressed.  By that time the paste which had failed to make its presence felt whilst I was trying to hang the dratted stuff had oozed through most of the wall paper making it look as though I’d run wild with the pasting brush which I hasten to add I hadn’t.  There’s nothing worse than trying to shift great globs of paste as that makes air bubbles even worse.

Though having said that experience of the last twenty-four hours tells me that when I finish typing my wallpaper related rant I shall have to take myself upstairs to caress the walls from top to bottom as those pesky air bubbles are persistent little blighters and left unchecked they expand exponentially- usually at eye level or in a place where no picture can be situated. I certainly don’t want my next job to involve a sharp blade and an afternoon spent stabbing the wall paper to release the pockets of air – apart from the fact that it is difficult not to ruin the paper; I will have to spend yet more time staring very closely at acanthus leaves which I have now gone off for some reason; it also means that the air bubbles will have won- and I absolutely refuse to be beaten by a roll of wallpaper…so there.

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