Monday, October 13, 2014

Triumphant! The Wall is Papered!

Free wallpaper - found in the garage after we bought our house.
I don't know about you, but I have always found the idea of hanging wallpaper to be daunting. I've seen it done many times on TV, even assisted hanging it once, but still, it always felt like one of those things that a petite person like me just couldn't do on my own. Tearing it down, however, I've historically been pretty good at. I stripped walls in my dad's house as a teenager with great success, and again after we got our house a few years ago, as the previous owners had a thing for ugly wallpaper.

The "accent wall" in our living room - formerly covered in a beige striped
floral. Does it make anyone else gag?
The wallpaper in my living room, however, did not cooperate. I scored and soaked and scraped it for hours, and it just would not come off. I was able to get the vinyl off of about half the wall, but the backing was absolutely glued to the wood paneling, and no amount of scraping or cursing would remove it. So my wall has looked like this for months now. Gross.

I've had re-papering this wall on my "To-Do" list for a while, but it had always been contingent on getting the hubs to lend a hand. He works a crazy schedule which often has him out of the house for 70 hours a week, so time was a problem. Also, he had some projects of his own that were higher on his priority list, so it really didn't look like this project would ever happen.

But it needed to happen, oh how it really needed to happen. So I gathered up my materials: pre-pasted paper, water tray, scissors, X-acto knife, sponge, straight edge, ladder, table... everything I could think of that I could possibly need. Then, of course, I Googled it - and THIS is the video that came up at the top of the list. I watched the video - this lady gives clear, step-by-step directions. I took a deep breath. And I jumped in. 

There is something about doing a repetitious task that's soothing - that is,
until the kids come in the room and start asking questions. Then I have to
double- and triple-check that I've put the paper down in the right direction, etc.
I was amazed at how the wallpaper behaved exactly as described in the video - I could fold it together, let it sit for a while, and it would still be perfectly wet and sticky, ready to go. Also, it didn't stick really well to the vinyl paper I had been unable to scrape off the wall - a fact that made me very nervous as I worked. It's hard to line up edges accurately when they are curling. But I kept going, cursing every time I tried to cut the paper and it tore instead (don't worry - the kids had long since been shooed out of the room). 

Even when it was all done, I had stressed over the job so much that it was
difficult to feel relief.
I was amazed at how well I matched the pattern - even though it was a really simple pattern to match, I had been sure I would screw it up. But, miracle of miracles, I managed to hang it all straight and properly match the pattern! I do, however, cringe every time I look at the little tears round the edges where I had to cut the paper. It really didn't take long for my razor blades to get dull (I used 3 different knives, 2 with reversible blades, so 5 blades in all). My kids, however, keep telling me how great the wall looks and how happy they are that we have a new wall in the living room. I have not pointed out the imperfections to them as Mommy's ego needs a little boost ;)

Please ignore the dog box and the poor lighting... I obviously didn't stage this
photo properly (lazy blogger). Just wanted to show off my $20 dollar store
mirror and the little shadow box shelf my sister and brother-in-law gave me.
And if you look closely...
You'll see in this expertly cropped and
edited photo that I've filled all the tiny
spaces with my dollhouse furniture!

I have collected some really great things over the years for my dollhouses, but I don't really have any way to display them - at least one that doesn't make me look like a creepy lady who plays with dolls, lol. But for the first time I have somewhere I can share my lovely pieces, and it looks like a collection of "miniatures" instead of "toys". All it needs is some lighting and it's done :)

So glad this project is done. I feel almost as great as the day I crawled under the house and fixed a water leak (a story for another day). Even though I had to take scrapbook glue to my wallpaper edges, and there are little imperfections everywhere, it is a million percent better than it was before. And the kids haven't stopped praising me. So I'm good, lol.