The Basics of Hanging Wallpaper
Buy the best tools and equipment you can afford, especially scissors and shears.
When using lining paper (blankstock) buy the heavier kind as this is easier to work with and should dispel the need for double-lining.
Follow the manufacturers instructions on the labels of rolls but don't always interpret too literally as there is sometimes a degree of flexibility, especially on soaking times.
Complete all your preparation before you start to paper.
Try to ensure that you have bought sufficient rolls to complete the job.
Make sure all the rolls are of the same batch number.
Keep the area where you are decorating as dust free as possible.
Wear comfortable clothing as there is a lot of stretching involved in paperhanging.
Introduction to Wallpapers and Paperhanging.
THE origins of wallpaper are by no means difficult to discover.
Its existence, like that of other forms of decoration, is primarily due to man’s instinctive desire to adorn his surroundings. Its direct ancestors, however, are obviously tapestry and the “painted cloths” mentioned by Shakespeare, and the principal object with which it was introduced was to produce a passable imitation of these materials at a comparatively small cost.
The exact-or even approximate-date wallpaper was first made in any considerable quantity is not known, but there is some evidence to prove that paper decorated either by blocks or by hand was in existence in Europe at the end of the fifteenth century, though it was used for other purposes besides that of wall hangings.
During restoration work at Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1911, fragments of a wallpaper dating back to the first years of the sixteenth century were discovered and from time to time other early examples are brought to light.
That more of them have not survived is due mainly, no doubt, to the fragile nature of the material, and partly to the fact that until recent years no attempts have been made to preserve any specimens which have been revealed in the course of redecoration or reconstruction.
There can be no doubt that, in not a few old houses, interesting examples of antique wallpapers still exist, hidden under layers of more modern papers, and decorators who discover any such old examples in the course of their work should handle them with the greatest care.
An excellent collection of old wallpapers is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, but it is by no means complete and the authorities are always glad to examine specimens of any considerable antiquity.
The history of wallpaper and of the developments and technical improvements which have been made in its manufacture is exceedingly interesting and should certainly be studied by every decorator who wishes to know more of the materials of his craft.
To attempt to deal with it in a work of this kind would be out of place, yet no reference to wallpaper, however brief; would be complete without paying tribute to the work of William Morris.
In the latter half of the last century, when English wallpaper was, generally speaking, at a deplorably low ebb, it was largely his influence which was responsible for the raising of the standards of design, and the improvement which he initiated contributed, more than any other factor, to the vast popularity of this form of decoration at the present time.
To-day there are better designs and a far greater choice of effects than at any time during the history of wallpaper.
Indeed, quite apart from the number of papers which do not pretend to be anything but what they actually are, the range of decorative materials which are successfully copied in wallcovering is remarkable.
Fabrics of various kinds, woods, marbles, leathers, stone, plaster, are but a few, and wallpaper’s age-old tradition of providing effective reproductions of expensive materials at but fractional cost of the originals is well maintained.
Yet, when all is said, perhaps the greatest achievement in present-day wallpaper manufacture is the fact that so many really first-class designs, excellently printed on good-quality paper, are now available at prices which bring them within the reach of every householder.
The various operations involved in papering walls may be thus summarized:
(1) to select a suitable paper.
(2) to calculate the number of pieces required.
(3) to remove the old paper (if any).
(4) to make good any defects in the plaster.
(5) to cut the the paper to size.
(6) to paste and affix it to the walls or ceiling or both.
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