Sunday, March 30, 2008

Necessity is the Mother of All Invention

Inspiration is everywhere if we pay attention.

This weekend I went to a designer friend's country home. On her dining room's threshold is the loveliest mural of two peacocks. She shared with me her secret: the peacocks were taken from her china pattern. I should have taken a picture of her handiwork, and will the next time I visit.

Her idea sparked a solution to a decorating dilemma. You may have read here that I recently bought a new wallpaper that I was very excited about. I have since learned a thing or two.

I had a knowledgeable wallpaper hanger give me an estimate. He explained that dark wallpaper backing should also be dark. If not it will show white seams between where the paper is hung. You can go over these seams with a dark marker or crayon. I am a perfectionist and worried this will not do the trick.
The paper could be hung so the seams will not be as noticeable in looking at them from one direction. In my small powder room this is not an option. The very nature of the handblocked paper makes it difficult to line the designs correctly. Further, you need quite a bit of paper to cover an area which is making this project cost prohibitive.
I also learned cheaper vinyl paper usually gives a better finish. It is important to test the paper by wetting and scrubbing an area to ensure that the color does not bleed or lift. This is necessary whether or not you are going to use the paper in a wet area. The reason is that during the application the paper will be moistened to remove glue.

So what's my solution?

I am going stencil the wall myself utilizing my paper's pattern. I will do this by taking tissue paper and tracing the design. I am a little scared of the size pattern of the original paper, so I am going to take the opportunity to shrink it down a bit using a copy machine. Next I will take vellum and lay the tracing over that and cut out the design with my exacto knife. I will then use my homemade stencil to stiple the pattern onto the wall.

The great thing about this is that this homemade stencil can be used for all sorts of other applications. Try it on a piece of tired furniture.
Or make your own stationary. Wouldn't it be great to give the new bride in your life thank you notes using her own china pattern? This would also make a sensational mother's day or anniversary gift.

Are you wondering what I am going to do with my wallpaper? It's perfect for using to create a folding screen. I am going to have three closet doors papered and hinge them together.
Peacock from illustrator and printmaker Sanna Annuka.


Suzanne said...

I've done this. After a hellacious experience having to remove wallpaper one time, I vowed never more. I've recreated striped wallpaper using painter's tape and cut stencils using the pattern from my window treatment fabric.

I would suggest using mylar for your stencil. I don't think that vellum is sturdy enough to withstand the movement of the brush. I'd love to see which design you're going to use. I'm currently thinking about stenciling a wall with a damask design.

Margaret said...

This is beautiful! It sounds like a lot of work though. Best of luck! I look forward to seeing how it looks when it's finished.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

I love your blog, I found you through the Farmers Wife. I think your stencil idea is great. I did a random stencil on one of my bedroom walls and wanted it to look faint and aged. I saw on an HGTV decorating show ( I think Divine Design ) to take some of your wall paint (the background), water it down and then brush, cross hatched style, over the stenciled area with a wallpaper brush. I loved the way it turned out! Looks old and faded. Just an FYI. I think you can see it on a past post of my mstr bdrm. Please come visit me when you have time! Sherry

Lisa Wilson (& Alfie!) at The Pickled Hutch said...

It sounds like a perfect solution. I am having to relocated my store and this technique might work in transforming warehouse ugly into antique store charm. Can't wait to see pix.
Lisa & Alfie