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Decorative Borders

Getting The Best From Decorative Borders
By Ray Lewhite

With the immense range of borders available today, there should be little difficulty in finding one to match your wallpaper. There are two ways in which to use a border, one being for application to plain or non-patterned wallpaper and so adding to the decoration of the walls, the other to separate two different wallpapers by creating panels, etc.
Patterned papers, generally, do not require borders unless another paper, usually a plain one, is being incorporated. In this case, a narrow one is used to frame the pattern and separate it from the plain paper. Needless to say a lot of thought must be given to the size and shape of the room. If the house is of the older type with large, lofty rooms, a traditional treatment will be more in keeping, whereas with a modern and smaller room one needs a more contemporary idea.
Broadly speaking, panel treatments are most effective in the larger rooms, the smaller interiors should be of a simpler character and less elaborate. Providing it is properly planned, and you have a keen eye for good proportioning, borders add interest to a room.
Decorative Borders.
There should always be a definite purpose behind all decorative schemes, for to introduce panels or some other form for novelty alone shows lack of good taste. One soon tires of such decoration.
The ideas that are illustrated here are not likely to please all of you but they will perhaps give suggestions enabling you to build up your own schemes.
I will begin by giving some suggestions to those of you who are living in the modern house with the smaller type of rooms. Imagine you are hesitating between selecting a patterned or a non-patterned wallpaper, considering whether one will crowd the room or the other be too plain and uninteresting owing to lack of pattern. Nearly all plain wallpapers have a border attached that blends with it and if this border is used with discretion some interesting effects can be created.
Assuming the room has a picture rail and a plain or semi-plain paper has been hung. The border is then normally fixed directly beneath the rail, if it is a wide or floral type of border. However, should it be a narrow one, about an inch or so in width, a more interesting position for it is about six inches below, dropping it at the corner as in Fig.1.
Many variations of this can be used although they will depend to a certain extent on the shape of the room as the horizontal lines will tend to lower the height of the room. The stepping of corners, however, making one step longer than the other, will correct the balance (Fig.2. A and B.)

Motifs can be bought in pairs and added to the ends of the border (see Fig. 3A) or continue round and connected up with each other (see Fig.3B.)
Some of you will wish to try out the ideas I have illustrated (Figs.4) using the border itself to create the motif. This must be planned carefully and cannot be hurried, otherwise pencil and paste marks are likely to be added to your decorative borders.
Whenever I carry out these schemes I draw the complete pattern on a sheet of thin cardboard to the exact size and distance I intend to have it from the corner. As an example, the outside edge of my motif, when fixed, will be 6 inches from the picture rail and nine inches from the corner (see Fig.5A.) The border is first cut into correct sizes to fit the pattern drawn on this card.
When this part of the job is completed cut along the outer lines of the pattern (Fig.5B). discard the inner part and a template is cut. Place the template into each angle of the wall in turn and mark with a pencil, on the wallpaper along the inner side, the parts that are to carry a border (see Fig.5C.)
This will expedite the work, each corner motif will be in exactly the same position and no pencil marks will be left showing on the wallpaper when the borders are fitted. This is rather difficult to express clearly in words, but I do hope the sketches will assist in folowing this time saving method.

The cutting and pasting of borders must be carefully done, especially when making corner motifs with narrow borders. So as not to confuse you I have selected the motif of two squares interlocking, as in Fig. 4C. These should be about eight inches square for the average size room. This means eight pieces of border, eight inches long for each corner, and 64 pieces if there are to be eight corners.
Decorative Borders.
When you purchase the border you will have a number of repeats all joined together side by side. Do not cut this up into single widths, but measure eight inches and cut through the whole width of the paper and several eight inch strips will be cut at once ; then cut these into single eight inch lengths. Continue like this until 64 pieces have been cut.
With one piece cut a 45 degree mitre at each end. The simplest and quickest way is to turn it back (Fig.6A) until the outer edge is made into a right angle, the folded part then becomes a 45 degree angle, cut away along the crease and repeat it at the other end (Fig.6B.). Continue cutting all the 64 pieces, using the first one as a guide to cut to.
Place them on the card, on which the pattern has been drawn, in order to see that a good fit has been obtained. Note how the border is arranged for making it interlock. Each set is then turned face down onto a sheet of paper and with a one inch brush, pasted, a set at a time, and hung into the position already marked out on the wall. If care has been taken in cutting and fitting the mitres before hanging, a clean and tidy job should be obtained.

Decorative Borders.
Whenever corner motifs made with borders, call for a number of short lengths of the same size, I prefer to cut and fit before pasting. If however, a series of long lengths is required, measure and cut the lengths as you do a length of paper and devide it into four or five strips (Fig.8A.) each containing (according to width of border) several widths of border.
Paste one of these strips and fold accurately, edge to edge, making the ends meet in the centre ; then folding it firmly, cut the paper into single strips of border (Fig.8B.) Remember you are cutting through double thickness and if not kept folded correctly, irregular cutting will occur. This method to paste first is cleaner than having the border cut into single strips before pasting.
When two pieces of border meet at an angle do not allow one to overlap the another and then cut through the two to form an angle (Fig.7A), for it is liable to leave paste marks. Rather cut the mitre of the first length before it is hung. The second piece can be turned back to fit the first piece (Fig.7B). When placing the border into position, use a cloth or hanging brush and dab it, rather than brush to the paper. A joint roller is liable to squeeze paste out and should not be used until the border has been hung some ten minutes.

Decorative Borders.
In order to ensure that long lengths of border are hung perfectly straight, use a plumb line or a spirit level. A chalked piece of string (known as a snap line) and measure and mark each end where the border is to be placed. Fix the string by a drawing pin on one mark and holding the string taut to the other mark pluck it. A straight line will be left on the wall on which to apply the paper.
When two papers are used to form a panels, hang the filling paper first, by snapping chalked lines on the wall and fitting the paper in this area, followed by the second paper which will surround it. The border is then placed between the two so forming a panel.


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