Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paper thin walls.

On a recent trip to see my friend Kim, from Serendipty, we visited a local antique store in Clarendon Hills, Illinois. One of the vignettes in the store was all black and white, and the wall had been covered in newspapers, scrapbook paper and other odd pieces of memorbilia. I fell in love with the wall and decided to duplicate in my stairwell. I knew I'd have to alter it a bit, because I didn't want all black/white/gray colors. I needed it to be more on the tan/cream/brown side of the color wheel.

You might remember that last year I painted my family room two shades of tan, but when I got to the basement stairwell, I never finished the bottom half. Partly because I ran out of steam, and partly because I couldn't decide what to do on those walls. I contemplate wallpapering the bottom half, but stewed about what paper to buy for weeks and in the end, I never did anything. And now a whole year has passed and it remains unpainted! The yellow bottom you see here is the old wall color--and that's what I wanted to cover.

The walls are covered in wood paneling, so I wasn't sure I wanted to permanently adhere layers of paper to it. After much thought I decided to line the walls first with brown Kraft paper. Then I could paste the newspapers and other layers to the Kraft paper! Great idea, right? I got right to work.

My supply list was fairly simple--6 rolls of Kraft paper (got them at the Dollar General); newspaper; scrapbook paper; wall adhesive; razor blade; staple gun and tons of staples.

I decided to staple the Kraft paper directly to the wall vs. wallpapering it to the wall. With this method the entire project could simply be ripped down when I get tired of it. It was easy to staple up the Kraft paper. I simply held it even at the top and started stapling. I stapled down the center first, so I could smooth the paper out toward each side as I worked. It only took about 40 minutes to get the walls lined.

Now came the newspaper layers. When I started looking through my local paper, I realize that they use an awful lot of colored ink nowadays. That's not the look I was going for. So I drive to the drug store to get a copy of the Wall Street Journal thinking that's more black and white, right? Wrong! So I had to really scour the paper for the right pages without color. The majority of what I used was sports scores, weather map, stock exchange info, tv listings and crossword puzzle pages. I did add a few pages of cartoon funnies, for just a bit of color.

For my adhesive I had decided on liquid wallpaper paste, which I had to run out to get at the local hardware store. I buy a gallon--and open it up. It had completely turned to a soft solid and couldn't be used. So back to the store I go and bought a pourable paste instead, which I rolled on with a foam roller. As soon as I started rolling it on, I knew it was a bad idea! The paste was too liquidy and caused my Kraft paper to warp. Yikes! Back to square one. After calling Kim to cry on her shoulder, we decided that spray mount/spray adhesive might work. Luckily I already had a can because now it's too late to go back to the store. I decide to just spray the edges of the newspaper pages and for the double spread pages I also ran a bit down the middle. Then I just lined it up and stuck it to the Kraft paper! I worked from the largest section of the wall, and moved way to the smaller part at the top of the stairs.

After the newspaper layer was done, I used vintage dictionery pages; other old book pages with interesting images on them; coordinating scrapbook paper; sheet music; S and H green stamp book pages; my son's report card; a science paper he had from school with a 100% score; and other paper memorbilia.

I really like the finished product. I'll warn you though, having the layer of Kraft paper does not give you a perfect finish, as far as how "flat" it lays against the wall. There are some  areas that aren't totally flat--but that doesn't bother me. If you're a fanatic, you might want to spray mount your paper items directly to your wall....but remember, at some point, you might want to take them down--and who wants to do all that scraping?

I'll leave you with some before and afters of each view...

1 comment:

Counting Your Blessings said...

Super cool! I love it!! And I like that you included the school work.

Blessings... Polly