How To Install Wallpaper

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Installing wallpaper for the first time is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult, time consuming and frustrating so you are better off leaving it for professionals.

My issue is that I don’t have the budget to leave it for professionals so I tried to do it myself, but I soon realized this project was way above my skills set so I brought my handy husband to the rescue like a damsel in distress.

There were two reasons why this project was more difficult for us than it should be for you:

  • The wallpaper I chose had a pattern that had to match exactly. No room for error.
  • My house was built in 1941 and has not been updated so the walls are crooked and uneven.

So, how did we do it and what did we learn? Let’s go step by step.

jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper22Materials 

– Wallpaper – we used Underwater World from Hygge & West

– Wallpaper paste- we used a basic one that was very thick, so we had to add water to thin it

– Drop cloth

– Measuring tape

– Scissors

– Sponge

– Utility knife

– Bucket for water

– Tray to mix the paste

– Pencil

– Level

– Paint roller

– Smoothing tool

Instructions

1) Prepare your walls

Most instructions on how to install wallpaper wants you do add wallpaper primer. Well, we didn’t. The wallpaper primer helps you stick the wallpaper to difficult surfaces like glossy paint…our walls are not glossy so my husband thought it was not necessary. We installed the paper 6 weeks ago and so far so good.

What did we do to prep the walls? We washed them and covered the holes. Also, please, sandpaper small imperfections! We didn’t do a good job at sanding small bumps and we almost ripped the paper when trying to smooth it out!!!

2) Cut the wallpaper

Measure the height of your wall and cut your first piece of wallpaper 4 inches longer than your wall’s height. If you care about which part of the wallpaper motif is on top of your wall and which one is in the bottom, you need to consider that when making these cuts. We didn’t care about this, so our starting point was the beginning of the  roll.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper8Arrange your wallpaper on the floor and line up patterns correctly. Cut the rest of your wallpaper so the pattern matches exactly.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper9 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper16jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper13jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper153) Mark your wall

Our wallpaper was 27 inches wide, so we marked our wall 26 inches from the edge (1″ less than the width of the wallpaper), to give us room for error (in case your walls are crooked).
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper4jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper7George did a line from the top to the bottom of the wall that was perfectly vertical, with the widest part being 26 inches. Again, our walls are uneven, so the line was not 26 inches from the side of the wall on all places. Use your level to create a vertical line.jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper3jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper424) Apply wallpaper paste

We soon realize our paste was too thick, see for yourself:jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper17 So we added water to thin it and then applied it to the back of the wallpaper. Place your drop cloth under the wallpaper to keep the paste from sticking to the floor.jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper185) Hang the wallpaper

Line up your first strip to the vertical line you created in step 3. You should have extra wallpaper on top, bottom, and side.

You have around 10 minutes to adjust your wallpaper after you hang it. It is important to keep that time frame in mind when you are trying to align the different strips.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper436) Smooth your wallpaper

After you hang the wallpaper, you will see it has wrinkles and bubbles. You need to smooth those out with a smoothing tool – we used one that was 6″ wide. Do this gently! from the center to the outside.
jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper207) Trim the edges

Use your utility knife to trim the edges and make sure the blade is VERY sharp, or you will tear the paper when trimming it.jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper28jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper44jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper278) Remove excess paste

Use your sponge and bucket with water to remove excess paste. If you don’t remove the extra paste, your wallpaper might get stained.

9) Hang next strip

When hanging the rest of the strips, you will see that it is difficult to have the patterns match exactly. Make sure that the pattern matches at eye level first; this helps align lower and higher levels later. Butt the edges together, don’t overlap them!  And remember the wallpaper will dry out in around 10 minutes, so you have that time to align patterns. Clean the seam with a wet sponge to remove excess paste.

10) Repeat and don’t stress out

Because installing wallpaper is hard and stressful, take your time to do this project and try to relax. A project like this will take you all day to complete if it is your first time so don’t hurry.

How to trim around windows 

When you reach a window hang the next length of paper so that it overlaps the recess. Make horizontal cuts in the paper to release it and, using your utility knife, trim the paper so it fits around the window sill. Trim the edges.

jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper41 jestcafe.com-how-to-install-wallpaper31 On applying too much paste

For beginners like us, it was hard to figure out how much paste to apply on the wallpaper. Now we know that you don’t need a lot. Lightly damp is enough paste. If you apply too much this will happen to you:

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Lots of paste can ruin your wallpaper because it can stain it and because it requires using your smoothing tool a LOT to get rid of the bubbles formed by the extra paste – if you have uneven walls this process could rip your paper, so be careful.

Final result

As hard as it was to do this project, it was totally worth saving the money by doing it ourselves. The wallpaper looks great and the job looks professionally done. Can you spot the seams in final photos below?
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I hope these instructions are helpful! and good luck installing your own wallpaper! It will be hard but rewarding, just like creating this post.

 

Also, a post about how to paint your walls, cool wallpapers for a nursery, and, light fixtures for your living room.

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ORC – Week 5 – Building And Fixing Furniture

jestcafe.com-orc-wk512One Room Challenge – Week 5 –

For previous weeks, click here: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4

The most important news this week is that I have done my very first GIF. It is a total fail: I couldn’t keep the camera in one place (Max decided that moving the tripod with the camera on it was his Sunday’s priority), the photos are badly frame (vertical & horizontal lines are not straight), and the color of the pictures don’t match (taken at very different times of the day), but, as much as a bad GIF this one is, it took me forever to learn how to do it and it is my first one, so… ENJOY:

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I am already nauseous watching that GIF! Too busy. Let’s look at that last photo instead:

jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5-9As you can see, we built bookshelves this weekend (and by we, I mean George). I was planning to buy a bookcase, but after looking at the space, and listening to Domicile 37‘s advice, I decided to build floating bookshelves instead. This decision opened up the space and helped fitting more books, because I custom built them to fit the space (again, by “I custom built it,” I mean “George custom built it” – love you, George).

I left an open area in the middle of the bookshelves so I could fit a painting I bought in Costa Rica from a painter that lives in Playa Carrillo, right in front of the sea. This man changed a busy life in the US for a quiet and modest life in Costa Rica. A beautiful way of growing old.jestcafe.com---orc-wk5-10The painting is not the obvious choice for this space. It is very colorful and noisy, but it fits just right for my taste. It brings a nice edginess to the bookshelves and it opens them up. It draws your eye and unclutters the shelves with that open space.

Deciding to use this painting was a difficult decision. I loved it, but I was afraid that a lot of readers wouldn’t. It is not the easy choice! A white, neutral, funny quote poster is the easy decision for here, but I have to be true to myself, and appeal to readers that like my aesthetics, so, why cheat? I went with the crazy red/blue girl painting instead.

For the big reveal, I will need to do a better job at styling these bookshelves, which means organizing 500 children’s books in a nice manner – an impossible task – I will probably put some books away for the shoot, but then they will come back to this original, messy position.
jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--2About the dresser:jestcafe.com--orc-wk5-4 I decided to style it like a campaign dresser. First, I bought these corners at Home Depot:jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--4 I didn’t want gold hardware, so I sprayed them with Rust Oleum – Antique Brass before installing them. Now I need to do a post on drilling! There are many details on how to drill appropriately. It is not as easy as pressing a button. Tutorial about it coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Here is how the corners look now (there is a general view of the dresser in another photo below):jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--6I am going to have to repaint some of the details with a small brush  because paint came off when installing them.
jestcafe.com - orc wk5 -7These are the bail pulls I ordered. I am hoping they will get here on time for me to spray and install them before next week. it will suck if they don’t. I don’t love the finish of the pulls, but it doesn’t matter because I will spray them before installing.

And now, about that gallery wall. If you follow this blog, you know what my method of doing gallery walls is not conventional. If you don’t know what I am talking about, here is a post about the topic.

As a reminder, here is how this wall looked before I started the challenge:jestcafe.com---orc-week-20And, here is how it looks right now:
jestcafe.com--ORC-wk5--5(In this photo you can see how the dresser is coming out – I have a lot more drilling to do but I like how it looks)

I want this wall filled with art that I have collected throughout the years (I spoke a little bit about this plan on last week’s post), but I realized I don’t have enough to complete the wall, so, yesterday, I went to IKEA and bought a lot of frames of different sizes, then I made paper dummies of all the art I have and started playing this puzzle call “make a gallery wall that looks decent, if possible.” The photo above is what I ended up with. It is not perfect, there are some frames that I want to move around, but, overall, it looks pretty good! Next week it will look even better, when all that art is hanged where it belongs. I am planning to use of my own photos in some of these frames (cheapest solution), so today I went to Kinkos to get everything printed, and it should be done tomorrow…The clock is ticking. Wish me luck!

Here is my Instagram account, in case you want to follow what I do this upcoming week. Also, I want to thank Linda from Calling It Home for hosting this fun challenge.

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ORC – Jest Cafe – Wk3 – Painting Furniture

jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-1-This week, for the One Room Challenge, I had to make decisions about color for the bunk beds and storage units to organize the kids’ toys.

1) Storage units – As I mentioned in this post, I decided to buy Ikea furniture. If you buy furniture with pine finish, it is very easy to paint, unlike other IKEA finishes.  I bought two TROFAST storage units and tried deciding on a color later. I wanted a dark green, and I was deciding between Lawn Green or  Emerald Isle from Benjamin Moore. In the middle of this process, I saw this post from Justina Blakeney. Can you believe the coincidence? THE day I was trying to make this decision she posted that. Well, people, I believe in signs from life, and this was obviously one so I had to go with Emerald Isle. No regrets!jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-7 jestcafe.com--wk3-17 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-6 Here is the Emerald Isle color.jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-5 You definitely need two coats when painting IKEA pine furniture, and remember not to paint inside holes because you will need to assemble this furniture later and will need those holes to be their original size!jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-4 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-2jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-16This is how it looks now: after painting and assembling…I really like the green, even though this photo doesn’t make it justice… Also, the unit is great for storing toys because they give easy access to children.

2) Bunk Bed: I went back and forth about which color to use for the bunk bed. I thought about grey, yellow, but, ultimately, settled on white. I used decorator’s white – Benjamin Moore. Same color I used for the wall and ceiling. The furniture is glossy and the wall is flat.

I decided to use white to brighten up the room and give it some cohesiveness. Also, having a colorful bunk bed would have been too busy, as I already have an emerald storage unit and a yellow door. jestcafe.com--ORC-wk3jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-3 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-13 The kids love the bunk bed. Well, maybe love is an understatement, because they have decided to play and eat up there every single second of the day, which means an adult has to be near at all times because Max is only two and not able to make wise decisions regarding child safety.jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-9 jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-14jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-11jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-12 I got this light fixture from IKEA. It has copper, just like the details of the wallpaper and I really like it. I think it looks good with the rest of the room, don’t you think? Copper is IN!

This coming week, I will be looking for art. I want to do a gallery wall on the blue wall. Other things I need to do are:
jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-10And, organize this mess:jestcafe.com-ORC-week3-15

Here is what went on in Week 1 and Week 2 of this challenge at my place.

Here is my Instagram account in case you want to follow other details of the #oneroomchallenge. Also, any advice on how to decorate this room is welcome!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Lavender Wreath DIY

jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath1In preparation for our Easter brunch, I tried doing a lavender wreath to use as decoration.

Difficulty (1-5): 3  Time: 45 mins  Cost: $50 (EXPENSIVE!!)

Materials:

  • Dry lavender I used 5 bunches like the one you see below. Each one of them was $9 at the Flowers Market, DTLA! Fresh lavender is even more expensive ($6 a small bunch with 6-8 flowers), so I didn’t try that.
  • 12″ wire wreath
  • Floral wire – I used 22 gauge, but other thickness would work too.
  • Wire cutter
  • Pruning scissors

jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath2 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath12jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath7Instructions:

1) Choose a place to start on the metal wreath and do a little knot with your floral wire.

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2) Cut the lavender as you go. Eventually, I realized that the shortest you cut the lavender the better. I did not want branches to show, so there was no need to have long branches just using up space. 3″ of the green branches worked best for me. Here is an example:

jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath9I started with longer branches, as you can see in the picture below. That was a big mistake. They were hard to cover and my wreath had a weird shape by the end. I had to re-do the beginning of it. There is a photo of it later on this post. jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath17jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath15 3) Wrap floral wire around the branches to attach the lavender to the wire wreath. 2-3 times is enough. jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath14 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath134) Keep on adding branches on top as you go. TIP: You don’t want the wire wreath to show. The best technique to avoid this is to spread each bunch of lavender from the inside to the outside of the wreath so they cover all the space you need to cover, as you see in the pictures below. A dry lavender wreath is NOT forgiving, and it is difficult to fix this kind of mistakes once they are done. Unlike the Holiday wreath I did a couple of months ago, it is nearly impossible to go back and “add” branches of lavender to hide the wire because lavender breaks, so, make sure you are covering everything you need to as you go. Today’s lesson is to SPREAD THE LAVENDER.jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath11 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath105) The end of the lavender wreath is the most difficult part. Cut your branches short and stick them in there somehow. It is possible!jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath8jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath5 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath6 OK. First I will show you my FAILED version. I added Víctor to the mix so the photo doesn’t look totally horrible. Ready? Here it is:

jestcafe.com-lavenderwreath20You see how the first branches I did are much longer than the others and they look out of place. Something similar happened to me when I did the Holiday wreath, so I had to go back, took out the floral wire, and did that section over again.

Here is the final result. I was planning to do more wreaths, but after learning how much they cost, I decided against it. At least the one I did will last for a very long time. Cute, isn’t?

Hope you like it!jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath4 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath3 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath1

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Do It Like A Blogger (And Martha) – Easter Eggs Decorations

jestcafe.com-egg-decorations3I tried three different ways of doing Easter eggs decorations this last weekend: confetti(ed), painted, and spattered. Here are my research findings.jestcafe.com-egg-decorations2jestcafe.com-easter-eggs-decoration17jestcafe.com-Easter-Eggs-decoration-tissue-paper1jestcafe.com-easter-eggs-decor2

Confetti Easter Eggs

I got the idea from this blog.

Materials:

  • Eggs (boiled, hollowed out or fake ‘decorating eggs’) – I boiled them.
  • Confetti (Combine a mixture of colors of cut-up tissue paper and cut-up gold foil paper) – I used leaf gold.
  • Mod Podge – any variety will work
  • Brush
  • Bowl

Difficulty (1-5): 1     Good for kids?  Yes    Recommend?  Yes

Instructions:

    1. Cut tissue paper into small pieces. I did little squares.
    2. Scrap the gold leaf with a knife into the bowl.
    3. Apply Mod Podge with a brush onto egg. You need to apply different quantities of Mod Podge, depending on how much confetti you want on your eggs. If you want the confetti scattered around the egg, apply on certain areas. If you want the whole egg covered, apply Mod Podge onto the entire egg.
    4. Let your child deep that egg into the bowl with confetti and move it around until covered. DONE.

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Painted and Sprayed Easter Eggs

Why nobody does the most simple way of decorating eggs? Maybe because you can’t eat paint, but you can sure admire it from a distance.

Materials:

  • Eggs (boiled, hollowed out or fake ‘decorating eggs’)- I boiled them.
  • Acrylic paint. Do NOT get metallic paint, it does not work. I tried it.
  • Gold or silver spray.
  • Glitter – if you want to do specific decorations.
  • Brush
  • Somewhere to dry the eggs. I used a metal crate.

Difficulty (1-5): 2  Good for kids? Older kids  Recommend? Yes  Cons: You can’t eat the eggs afterwards. Bummer!

Instructions:

  1. For the painted eggs, grab your brush and paint. Paint one side, then the other. KABOOM!
  2. For the sprayed eggs, grab your spray and spray. Use cardboard (or another hard material) to place your eggs when spraying. If you want to use paper, don’t put it on grass! It is too unstable.

jestcafe.com-egg-decorations5jestcafe.com-egg-decorations11jestcafe.com-egg-decorations13I bought these big plastic eggs at Target to help keep the kids entertained while I did the fancy decor. It worked for about 3 minutes. I am a genius!
jestcafe.com-egg-decorations10 This egg with glitter spots looks so cute, doesn’t?:
jestcafe.com-egg-decorations9 Max was not cooperating, but he was cute:jestcafe.com-easter-eggs-decor3 I sprayed a cracked egg to see if I could save it somehow. I DID!!! Don’t dismiss cracked eggs.jestcafe.com-egg-decorations15 I used gold spray and mirror effect spray. As you can see, the mirror effect spray gave the egg a marble effect:jestcafe.com-egg-decorations14 jestcafe.com-egg-decorations7 jestcafe.com-egg-decorations1 jestcafe.com-egg-decorations3 jestcafe.com-egg-decorations4jestcafe.com-egg-decorations8jestcafe.com-egg-decorations6jestcafe.com-dying-eggs-like-martha6

Spattered Eggs

I got this idea from Living.

Materials:

  • Large paper cups to fit an egg.
  • Dry grains, beans or nuts- I tried a lot of different grains/beans/nuts and liked chick peas, rice and lentils better. Don’t do quinoa or fine grains because the Easter eggs end up with almost no pattern on them.
  • Liquid food dye
  • White vinegar (optional) – I didn’t use it and it did not seem necessary to me
  • Hard-cooked eggs plain or dyed.

Difficulty (1-5): 2     Good for kids? Older kids  Recommend? Yes

Instructions:

  1. Fill each cup about one-quarter full with the dry ingredient of your choice.
  2. Add 10-15 drops of food dye. Swirl each cup until dye coats content; the mixture should be damp but not soaked.
  3. Place an egg in the cup. Gently shake and swirl cup to speckle egg.

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Hope this inspires you to do some crafts this Easter!

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