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Topic: Brown bag wall treatment  (Read 50729 times)
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Hedgewitch
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« on: June 25, 2008 05:14:12 PM »

This is so painfully easy (and cheap) that even *I* could do it.  We moved into a house with hideous warped mismatched fake wood paneling.  All the paint in the world wouldn't help with this place and we didn't have a lot of money to spend so I found a cheap alternative.  For under $100 I "renovated" the walls in my living room and dining room.  It took me 3 days to do both rooms and that was taking my time and making very little mess.

You will find many sites with fancy instructions on how to do this, I'm gonna cut to the chase and give you the "cheap and effective" method.  May not last a lifetime, but it'll certainly outlast your average wall treatments.

Materials needed:

Rolls of crafting paper (how many depends on how much wall you have to cover)
  *  The living room was done in brown paper much like paper bags, while the dining room was done in rose paper.  Both can be purchased from a local hardware store.  You can use colored papers but they can get rather expensive.  These rolls were several hundred square feet per roll.  I think for the 2 rolls of brown and 1 roll of rose we paid a whopping $20 total.

Wallpaper paste
  *  A 3 gallon bucket cost right around $25

Paint roller tray
  *  Makes the whole act of pasting the paper much easier

Natural fiber paintbrush (wide)
  *  I say use a natural fiber because brushes tend to shed after a lot of use and if you get a little plastic bristle stuck on the wall it will eventually peel out and make a weak spot that can later peel.  The natural fiber brushes will soak up the paste and become one with the wall (how zen...).

OPTIONAL - Sealant or poly clear coating.
  *  I left mine Au Natural and they look good I think...but some folks like it shiny and dark.  The sealants will made the paper look much darker and tend to get a glazed look.  I just don't like it so I didn't do it.

Step-by-step:

Ok, here's where it gets fun.  First off, you're gong to want to put something down on the floor...if only you had a large roll of crafting paper...hmmmm.  Cover the floors in the immediate area that you are working on. You're not going to cover massive square footage all at once, so a 8-10 foot wide section is sufficient.  Plan on getting this crap everywhere.  Wallpaper paste is gooey and is somehow attracted to hair.  Put on a hat or just plan on washing your hair a couple of times in a row, it comes out rather easy.  

You'll notice I didn't say anything about gloves.  I am totally anti-glove with non-caustic materials.  Half the fun of winding down from doing this work is picking the wallpaper paste boogers off your hands.  I don't get out much ya see...

Some people like the crinkled look, some go for the smooth.  I'll tell you the truth, it all looks the same in the end and wrinkling all that paper up made my hands cramp up for days after.  

Start off by tearing the straight edges off the paper in one long strip about 4 inches wide.  Tear the long edge pieces into saucer sized pieces (you can use whatever size you're comfortable with, this was the size that worked for me).  Make sure you keep the pieces with the flat edge separate from the "middle pieces".  You'll use the edges for the top and bottom borders and around doors and windows (this avoids the need for razor blades).  Then tear up the "middle pieces" and put them in a different pile.  I had a pair of cardboard boxes marked EDGE and CENTER and would sit at night and tear the paper while I watched tv.  It takes a while, have patience.

Once you have a ton of paper torn up, get into something old that you don't mind getting nasty with wallpaper paste and lay your drop cloth or paper on the floor and dig in.

Mix your wallpaper paste with water in a bucket or gallon jug at a ratio of about 1:6 or 1:8 depending on how you like it.  You want to have it thin enough to spread easily with a paintbrush brush but not the consistency of water.  Play around with the consistency and see what works for you.  Once you have a gallon or so of mixed paste, pour a few cups into the paint roller tray and grab a stack of edge pieces from your paper stack.  Paint a section of wall a little bigger than the piece you are using and stick the paper on the wall with the edge pressed into the straight edge of the ceiling or floor (or window or door, etc).  If you want to get real detailed, you can always add crown molding or baseboard over it but I didn't.  Having the edges lined up was easy enough and looks tailored.  Keep adding pieces overlapping the previous and be sure to slather the wall behind and on top of each added piece with more paste using your brush (or fingers if you really like to get squishy).

Don't just storm across the walls and do the whole row overlapping like fish scales, unless that's the look you want.  I staggered between edge and middle pieces to keep it random looking.  when you have a section a few feet across on the edges done then go back and do the same thing with the "middle pieces" and be sure to be random with the placement.  Feel free to modify the pieces on the fly.  I went all willy-nilly with the placement then went back and filled in the "holes" with scraps and it really broke up any patterns I accidentally made.  Make sure you paint over each piece with the paste to seal it in and kind of squeegee out any bubbles.  Make sure you paint the section to be covered as well or the pieces won't stick (duh).

When you put pieces in the corner, make sure you don't line up edges or it will eventually peel.  overlap the corners and make them snug into the corner using the brush or your fingers, just be careful not to tear through the paper.  If you do then just slap another piece over it.

This method of wall covering is very easy to keep nice and neat, if you get a tear or scrape, slap a piece back over it and it's all patched up.  I've never written out directions before so if I made it hard to understand just ask and I'll clear things up best I can.

Also, since looking through the past galleries I noticed cats in just about every pic, I have made sure that a cat (and even a bird or two) was included in mine since it seems to be the law.

Tongue

I was dumb and didn't take step by step photos but the instructions are simple as breathing, so you can figure it out.  Here's the finished products!

BEFORE (yucky)

AFTER


« Last Edit: October 09, 2010 08:32:41 PM by pixieval - Reason: revealed images » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008 05:18:40 PM »

cool..I bet they look even more awesome in person..great job Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2008 05:25:05 PM »

Wow! I've heard about this technique, but never seen it done before. Completely gorgeous! Smiley

Rockin'!
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oshellybean
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2008 07:13:28 AM »

That looks amazing! I would love to give that a shot! Thanks for the instructions.
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2008 07:25:16 AM »

I'll go ahead and post a couple of your images. Cause I think this looks so gorgeous!




Having done interior design as a career for 15 years I can appreciate the work that went into this project. I think I've just found what I want to do in one of my bathrooms. Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2008 07:59:23 AM »

WOW.!

I'm amazed. This looks seriously Awesome. I love it.
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2008 09:57:06 AM »

What a great way to cover up paneling! Nice work!
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2008 11:32:41 AM »

Quote
Having done interior design as a career for 15 years I can appreciate the work that went into this project. I think I've just found what I want to do in one of my bathrooms. Smiley

Thank you very much, everyone!  It was so simple I'm taking on all the other areas of the house soon too.  This is my stir crazy project.  When I get fed up with the house I change it simple and cheap.  BTW, if you plan on doing this treatment in any room with WATER (ie., kitchen, bath, laundry, etc) you may consider doing the sealer on top of the paper.  The high moisture (and in the case of kitchens, grease and grime) in the air will damage and discolor the walls.  It is only paper after all.  Just remember that the color and darkness of the paper in a wet state is what it will look like when it's sealed, but unsealed looks the same color and texture as right off the roll.
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funtobewith
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008 08:24:34 AM »

Yes, I did this to one cold wall of a rental house once... then the landlord walked in and say "what the f*** did you do to the wall"... but rest assured, I loved it... and it was easy to remove too Smiley

I love the rose paper, never thought about doing it any other color than brown... and since I just did one wall, I remember it being a pretty fast project too... and it doesn't involved painting which I sucketh at Smiley LOL
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2008 01:30:16 PM »

Beautiful!!!!!
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hchambers
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2008 06:24:20 PM »

wow..this looks fantastic!! does it come off just like wallpaper then?
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2008 06:27:47 PM »

umm....I suppose it would.  Never took it off.
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funtobewith
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2008 09:14:54 PM »

Yes... assuming its not sealed, it comes off easier than wallpaper! Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2008 09:50:13 AM »

That's genius! It looks lovely! Way to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2008 09:52:11 AM »

My family also eats a lot of oatmeal and I save the cardboard containers that it comes in and do this same treatment to the containers. It makes them damn near indestructable and useful for all sorts of storage needs.  It's amazing what you can do with paper!
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2008 02:31:28 AM »

 Cheesy
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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2008 05:52:19 PM »

Amazing look. It is a wonder what you can do with paper.

BTW, you're missing a cat in the second picture.
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2008 08:06:47 AM »

LOL, actually there is one in the original but it got cropped out.  I'm make sure not to make that mistake in the future.
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« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2008 12:40:53 PM »

What a dramatic change! The texture you achieved on the walls is fantastic.  Smiley
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road2lane
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2008 09:19:44 PM »

that's breathtaking!
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msguinevere
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2008 11:22:49 AM »

this is what the previous owners of my house did in out TV room! I really like the texture - but I'm not a fan of BROWN - so I'm going to paint over it. Wonder how the texture will look in lime-green??!! Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2008 11:33:44 AM »

this is what the previous owners of my house did in out TV room! I really like the texture - but I'm not a fan of BROWN - so I'm going to paint over it. Wonder how the texture will look in lime-green??!! Cheesy

You can buy any color paper that you want.  Painting over it looks really nice but it's a major pain to get in all of the little creases and such.  Just make sure you buy a little extra paint than you normally would as the paper will soak it up like a sponge.
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jwill
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2008 04:06:51 PM »

This is gorgeous. Just so you know =) I'm still trying to figure out how to redo the walls in my room.. It's a rental, and has this ugly wallpaper decor throughout the whole house. Wish I could do this without risking taking off the original wallpaper in the removal! I love it so much!!
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KiSKi
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2008 05:24:01 AM »

Wowwww, what a gorgeoussssss project!! I think I'll have to pick up some wallpaper paste n paper tomorrow... looks like a great way to decorate my bathroom with its crappy walls and maybe even the kitchen cupboards that a previous tenant painted black (might not have been so bad if they had at least done a decent job of it, lol)
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« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2008 07:28:17 AM »

This is amazing, I can't believe how beautiful it is! (I'm obviously needing to think "outside the box" a little more with wall coverings...)

I absolutely love your furniture, too! The green cabinets/ bookshelves look super rad against those gorgeous walls- great job!!
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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2008 07:55:22 PM »

Wow, that looks incredible! Your house looks so peaceful and inviting!
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« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2008 01:52:57 PM »

Very cool idea. I like how it's swank in appeal but still cheap and natural. Wink
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Shadowsfire
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2012 04:01:03 PM »

I did this too and loved the look. Then when we bought an old travel trailer I tried it and though it stuck fine when the moisture got in it the wallpaper started falling off. I know it was my fault for not keeping it heated. But I have a 5th wheel now that the vinyl stuff stuck on wood is peeling and am thinking that might be something to try. But maybe this time with a wallpaper paste with more oomph. Then paint it. I will probably be living in it so it will be heated hopefully. LOL   
I want to do a rustic country look and its such a blank slate right now, it should be so much fun.
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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2012 08:39:45 AM »

That is brilliant and adorable.
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« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2012 08:00:48 AM »

This looks awesome! Thanks so much for the instruction on it too! I've been trying to figure out what to do with my sad empty wall-space without going broke in the process O_O I just might have to try this! Like many others have said, the texture is wonderful!
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Clarachk
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2012 07:29:30 PM »

First, I TOTALLY agree with not avoiding the fun of "picking the wallpaper boogers" from your fingers! :O) I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Years ago I decoupaged a dresser like this. I used red rosin paper from Home Depot (in the painting section by the floor protectors). I remember trying to get all the crinkles in my wet, scrunched up paper bc I had wanted it to look more leathery or suede like. Would you know that, 7-8 years later it is still stuck on there? Anyway, I waffle a bit, LOL! Your walls look fantastic and cover up all that horrible panelling beautifully! Might I add the I love your art work?  The horses and the other two framed pieces look awesome on that wall treatment. You really did an lovely job!
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« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2012 09:55:39 PM »

That looks really cool! It's like, decoupaging on a massive scale! :-) I doubt I've got the patience or skill level for that huge of an undertaking (yet), so I'll just stick to decoupaging light switch plates. :-P
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« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2012 08:11:44 AM »

Chuckling out loud at the descriptive tutorial for this project!  It sounds easy and the finished results are beautiful.  Thanks for taking the intimidation out of rewalling!
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ladybug319
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2012 10:57:23 AM »

We have a 100 yr old house with a lot of walls that are not pretty, was thinking about doing this to them.  My question is, can you paint over it once it is dry?  Should it be primed first?
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