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Hanging Special Papers

These papers will need special hanging
By Ray Lewhite

In this article I want to refer to wallpapers which although they require a slightly different technique to hang are not beyond the capabilities of the average worker. With an ordinary wallpaper it is usual to paste one length at a time and hang it within a minute or two, but the types I am going to refer to require different handling.
Embossed papers have a raised pattern and are two thicknesses of paper gummed together to enable the wallpaper to be embossed without splitting. Being thick the wallpaper can absorb a lot of moisture which in turn causes the paper to swell and stretch. This can result in blisters appearing and mismatching when hung.
The paste must,therefore be fairly thick and when applied brushed out well, as it is not necessary to have a thick layer of paste on the paper.
For these types of papers I prefer ordinary cold water or ready-made pastes.
The pasted length should be allowed to soak for five to ten minutes - the time varies according to the thickness of the paper and it rarely requires repasting.
Should the paper start to blister shortly after hanging, it can usually be found that it is due to the paste being too thin or the paper may require a longer soaking before hanging.

Lining paper first

Hanging Special Papers
Heavy embossed paper because they have the tendency to stretch when pasted, will naturally want to shrink back as they dry, often to the extent that the joins open, exposing the plaster between them. It must be realized that the pattern being raised, only about 50 per cent. of the paper contacts the wall. To avoid this, lining paper should be hung first (horizontally) enabling the paper to grip better>
Leatherette papers are also embossed and differ only by having the surface varnished or scumbled. They are often mistaken for 'Lincrusta' by the general public. They are treated to withstand conditions that would cause other papers to become damaged, thus being suitable for dados Some of these papers are inclined to curl at the edges when pasted, therefore I recommend that a lining paper is hung first. This will check the curling and ensure a good fixing.
The pasting and soaking time is the same as for embossed papers.
'Anaglypta' is a tough that has cotton fibres incorporated into it. It is embossed and used mostly on ceilings. This paper has been in use for many years and is made in various patterns. The non-matching types, such as rough cast and pebble effects, are most popular today. Should a ceiling be badly cracked that it cannot be satisfactorily filled, or if vibrations cause cracks to reopen, 'Anaglypta' will possibly overcome this trouble for it will withstand movement that would cause an ordinary paper to split.
To apply remove all distemper or ceiling paper. Thoroughly stop all cracks with filler and apply a coat of medium strength size. This will assist the hanging. If a lining paper is to be hung put it the opposite way to which the Anaglypta will go.
A special ready-made paste can be obtained but a very thick paste will do. Paste the first length and fold into pleats in the same way as for all ceiling papers. Allow five to ten minutes soaking, just sufficient for the stiffness to slacken, and apply the length to the ceiling using a brush. Take care not to stretch the paper or flatten the emboss. Get someone to assist you by holding the roll of paper on which the pasted folds of Anaglypta are being supported. This gives you both hands to adjust and fix the paper. A wooden joint roller must not be used on the edges otherwise the emboss will be flattened. However, a padded roller can be bought at the shop where the paper is purchased and used instead of a hanging brush for fixing the paper to the ceiling.

Coat and size

Hanging Special Papers
When the ceiling is completed and the paper dried, apply a coat of size. When this is dry give a thin coat of paint (undercoating).
This makes a permanent decoration and a surface to which further paints can be applied if required. Later when the ceiling needs redecorating, it can be washed and cleaned without fear of the paper loosening because of water penetration.
'Walton lincrusta' is a material that has been in production over 80 years and it is different from any other material a paperhanger hangs. It is a putty-like substance and when new has a smell of linseed oil.
Although it has a raised pattern, it is not embossed but moulded - the back of the material being perfectly flat. Until a few years ago it was not thought possible that anyone save a good craftsman could hang it, and to a certain extent with some patterns this is still true today.
It is made to represent a variety of woods (including oak panelling),brickwork,tiling and stonework, and the amateur should be able to hang the lightweight types.

The right tools

Hanging Special Papers
Certain tools must first be obtained. A short bladed knife is essential in order to cut and trim, as scissors are not satisfactory for a first class job as they show a white edge. Craft knives are cheap and these are ideal (look in a pound shop). A long strip of metal on which to place the 'Lincrusta' and a 2 to 3ft. steel straight edge to cut against, are also necessary. A metal lath from a old fashioned bed or a similar piece of metal would do very well. A wooden straight edge would not really be successful as the knife is liable to cut into the wood.
The next step is to cut the 'Lincrusta' into the exact lengths required. This is necessary as the 'Lincrusta will not bend into the top of the skirting in order to mark off the waste to be cut away as with wallpapers.
When cutting the material incline the knife so that an under cut is made. The reason for this is that 'Lincrusta' has a whitish centre which will show on the finished job if a verticle cut is made.
Using the under cut method only the two face surfaces meet - result a neat appearance. The kind of paste to be used is governed by the surface to which the 'Lincrusta' is to be applied. You have to remove old wallpaper from plaster surfaces which should then be smoothed with glasspaper, sized and hung with a lining paper.
The back of the material is soaked with warm water. After a few minutes any surplus water that has not soaked in is removed and the material is now pasted with 'Lincrusta paste' using a 3in. brush, and hung immediately after. Press firmly to the wall, forcing all air bubbles out. If you have one use a wide boxwood or hard rubber roller for this purpose. A hanging or a paint roller are of no use on this material.
You may wish to decorate the bathroom or kitchen walls with a popular tiled design which is made in several colours. If these walls are painted, a different procedure must be used for that employed on plaster walls.
The surface is first roughened to form a key and a special paste is used. It is supplied by the manufacturers and call W.K.rubber glue. It should be well brushed out on the dry backing of the 'Lincrusta'. If the lengths are long you'll need two people to paste owing to the quick setting properties of the paste. Place the lengths quickly into position and vigorously roll the material, firmly to the walls.

Don't wet back

Hanging Special Papers
On no account must the back of the 'Lincrusta' be wetted nor any other types of pastes used on painted surfaces because moisture will be trapped the non-absorbent surfaces causing blisters and failure of the paste to dry. A comprehensive fixing booklet can be obtained from the manufacturers.
Flock is a paper that is treated with an adhesive. Minute particles of silk or wool are then shaken on to it, which gives the paper the appearance of the silken tapestries of olden days. The cheapest price is £50 plus a roll at the time of writing which makes it rather expensive. However a few years ago nearly every hotel and public house was papered with it.
I have often been told that flock would collect dust but I have seen some that have been hung for over six years with no sign of dust having collected. Anyway it can always be lightly dusted with a vacuum cleaner.
If you're thinking of having a room or part of a room hung with it, such as the chimney breast or a panel on one wall, you'll find it has a look of quality that other papers cannot give.
It is not usual for the amateur to hang this paper because great care must be taken in the handling and pasting or the flock will be damaged. Nevertheless to those of you who are capable of hanging ordinary wallpapers satisfactorily and cleanly with no paste on the surface, the hanging of flock wallpapers should not be beyond your capabilities.
Hanging Flock The walls should first be hung with a lining paper. After cutting the flock into the lengths required, place only one at a time on the pasting table. Use a medium strength paste and allow the paper to soak a few minutes before hanging. A soft cloth covered roller is used for hanging (although I have successfully used a brush) making sure to brush with the 'pile' of the flock. Haphazard brushing in several directions can cause shadiness to the paper.
Hand-printed papers in this age of machinery may seem to be almost a thing of the past but I can assure you their manufacture is still a thriving industry. Naturally it cannot compete in quantity with machine-made papers.
Therefore, hand printed papers have become very expensive. Many traditional patterns suitable for period houses are in production, coupled with the contemporary design for the modern house, thus giving a good selection from which to choose.
The colours are rich and solid, giving the look of quality for which hand printed papers are noted. Care must be taken when hanging these papers for many are easily damaged by paste or brush marks.
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