Friday, March 20, 2009

Bordering on Insanity?

I'm nearly always bordering on insanity! But today, I'd like to share with you something I did that actually turned out well, and that's a miracle because I'm not exactly what most people would call handy.

If you'll recall from last week, I am redoing my bedroom. I painted the top half white and the bottom half chocolate brown, which may seem like an odd combination until you see the border I chose, which has both those colors in it. While the painting was stressful, what really had me worried was hanging the border. I was surprised to discover it was actually pretty easy, and I'd like to share with you just how I did it. As always, if you've got tips to share with me, please leave them in the comment trail so I can continue to feel my way through this whole "being domestic" thing.

The border I got had adhesive on the back, but the kind you have to moisten. No, I didn't lick it like an envelope - my tongue's not long enough. But following the package directions, first I soaked it in warm water in my bathtub, a few feet at a time. (And if you look closely at the pictures, you can see where I have paint smudges all over me ...)

I found that it was easier to have a helper hold the dry portion while I worked with the wet, so it didn't all fall into the bathtub and make a big mess. My helper was my ten-year-old son, who finds things like this pretty interesting, so he was a good ally.

After I soaked each three-foot section of border, I pulled it out of the water and folded it, sticky side to sticky side, as directed on the package, in an accordion pleat, like this:

After the length of border was moistened, I carried it into the bedroom. First I needed to decide how far up the wall to place the border. I'd already made a preliminary decision when I painted, as I brought the brown and white together. But now an actual measurement was taken. If you have a metal measuring tape that allows you to lock the tape at the right measurement, that will come in handy.

I started at the edge of a windowsill, which was straight, rather than out in the middle of a wall. This helped me make sure I was going straight right from the get-go. Then every foot, I measured again, to make sure I was still on the right track. I could slide the border up and down a little as I went - the adhesive gives you a little leeway before it dries.

Again utilizing my excellent helper, I had him hold the folded border while I worked with the loose end. After I had about six inches on the wall, I smoothed it down with a credit card. I started out using a ruler, but one of my kids thought that using a ruler looked like fun, so they ran off with it. The point being, almost any implement with a flat edge will work. I smoothed out all the bubbles in that section, after I measured - if you smooth it down and then measure, it's hard to move it if you've gone wrong.

Going around corners was the hardest part, but the credit card played a big role in helping me accomplish it. I smoothed the border and got it fully stuck down completely up until the corner, and then I used the credit card to create a crease in the border right in the corner. Now, I didn't push too hard, because I didn't want to cut the border, but by making a crease, it folded more easily and was smoother on the other side. I also did this while going over the decorative trim, making creases on either side so it would lay flat.

I took a measurement immediately on the other side, because corners are one of the easiest places to gain or lose as you come around. I took the border all the way around the room, cutting it only for windows and doors, until it was completely done.

Of course, the roll of border wasn't that long, and I had to splice together different rolls to make it all the way. Matching up the border was fairly easy. First I looked at the pattern on the piece where I had left off, and then I held up the new piece to compare.

Once I saw where the patterns lined up, I cut the new piece to match, leaving about a two-inch overlap. Then I placed the new piece over the old and moved it around until it lined up exactly, of course being sure to take a measurement as I began to adhere the new piece.

I've been so pleased to have this project done. Every time I walk into the room, I look around with a smug smile and think, "I did that."



Here are a few more tips on hanging the border:

1. As you're placing the border on the wall, have the person who is holding the border for you stand very close to you, allowing a little slack in the border. If there's a lot of slack, the weight of the wet border will pull the adhered border off the wall, but if there's not enough slack, the tension will pull it off too.

2. You want the border good and wet, but you don't want it so drippy that it runs all down your wall. I suggest soaking it, and then after it's all folded in your hand accordion-style, shake it a few times over the tub to get rid of excess moisture. It does adhere quite well without vast quantities of water.

3. Keep in mind that the border is easy to remove. If you get it up and absolutely hate it, you can take it down and try something else. This isn't a lifetime commitment, so there's really no risk in trying it.

4. Take your time and do it nicely. Yes, you want to get it on the wall before the moisture evaporates, but that actually takes a little while and you do have some leeway. If you rush, you might not get the end results you're hoping for.

5. As the border dries, it may form a little bubble here and there, even though you did your best. This especially happens in corners. There's nothing wrong with taking a little bit of glue and smoothing that puppy back down.

6. Keep an extra package of border after you get done with your project. You never know when Billy might decide to color on it or if the person moving the dresser will smack into it and rip it. Having an extra package will allow you to mend these inevitable mishaps, and if they've discontinued your border pattern in the meantime, you don't need to panic, because you already have some on hand.

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13 comments:

Weston Elliott said...

Bravo! I'm one of those people who actually likes to wallpaper - you made me want to put it up in all my rooms. Too bad I'm in an apartment...

Lee Ann Setzer said...

Amen to the "extra border" tip! For the last 13 years, there's been an 8" gap in the ceiling corner of my bathroom border. Spent years trying to track down more of the silly stuff, and finally gave up.

It's getting ratty now, but the "easy to take back down" tip gives me hope...

Josi said...

I second the advice about saving a roll of the wallpaper--I did a border several years ago, threw away the leftovers. A year later we were missing a three foot section thanks to an unfortunate sharpie incident--never did find the border again and I had to take the whole thing down. Way to go, Tristi.

Deborah said...

Even though you say it's easy, that's a lot more work than I want to go through. I just draw lines around the discolorations on my walls and call it art.

Shari said...

Great suggestions. If I ever decide to do a border, I know where to go.

And I LOVE Michael.

Anne Bradshaw said...

Whoa, Tristi, this is amazing! Good for you. A new career, maybe? :-)

Rukia said...

that's a beautiful border Tristi! I love it! i'll have to bookmark your page for instructions... whenever i actually own a home again, that is :) good job

Taffy said...

Awesome!

Chas Hathaway said...

How sad it is that kindness provokes caution rather than love and concern. I suppose we have to live worthy of the Spirit at all times so He can warn us at any time.

I can't wait till the time when kindness can always be taken as just that...

- Chas
http://chas.willowrise.com

Jen said...

Good job! We have a similar border in one room of our house, and it doesn't look nearly so nice, due to the ugly color the previous owners chose to go with it. I like the chocolate/white combination a lot better. Plus with the white on top, the upper half of the room will feel more spacious!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Excellent job, Tristi! Very well explained. I love the new look.

Jaime Theler said...

Hey, wow! We must be psychically linked cause I just did a border, too! Only mine was of army planes and helicopters. I like yours.

Jenn said...

You're so making me want to re-do my bedroom. Which you can't really say was ever "done". So I should say I really want to "do" it. :) The brown is awesome, and the border is gorgeous.

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