Friday, August 15, 2014

Measure Twice; Cut Once

Work on the Lafayette cottage has progressed to the point that I am taking a break tonight. I thought I should update the blog to share the progress.

With the gluing complete, the house is pretty sturdy, so I began thinking about wallpaper. First I began fitting for wallpaper using computer paper to make patterns. The upstairs has very difficult slopes and triangles to cut with 3 round windows.

I was able to place the house on its side to get a better view and fit the paper pattern.

The downstairs was much easier to paper. The first fit of kitchen wallpaper went well. The window arch was tricky, but the paper fits.

I had already cut paper for the Alpine Farm House, so my plan was to use left over paper on the Lafayette; however, I didn't have quite enough to cover the wall, so I pieced the wall together. I ended up having to buy more paper to finish the back wall anyway. I purchased the stripped wallpaper at Hobby Lobby. I ordered the blue wallpaper from Itsy Bitsy The website had a wonderful selection of wallpapers, but I didn't really like it when I got it. First, I thought I had order two sheets of two patterns and received one of each, one that I didn't like and won't use. I like the quality of the Hobby Lobby paper, but the store has a very limited selection. The Itsy Bitsy paper, I have to admit, was heavier.

Over the years I have done a lot wallpaper in our homes. Working with my husband, we got pretty good at hanging wallpaper, so I applied the same principles to this project. Wallpaper is expensive, so we want to use it as efficiently as possible. 

The nice thing about wallpapering is that while I have to cover the wall, the edges don't have to exact because I will use wood trim to around the windows, the door, and around the floor that will cover the rough cut edges.

The round windows in the upstairs created a huge problem: how to paper around them, how to cut the wallpaper accurately.

I had traced the window outline on the my pattern. I cut out the circle and tested the fit, but it didn't fit snuggly around the window, so I had to have a better way to expand the size of the window cut. I ended up making more than one pattern to get an accurate cut on the wallpaper. Still I needed a better way get a good fit, so I used my Creative Memories scrapbook cutting tool which worked so well and happened to be just the right size. 

I knew that the cut-out would not be exact, so I painted the wood window frames and a bit of the wall so that if the cut-out did have a perfect fit brown wood would not be showing from behind the wallpaper. The best way to paper such a wall would be to paper it before the window frame goes on, but after the house has been assembled. As in any remodel job, getting the detailed work right is sometimes really hard.

I used a credit card to smooth out the paper to get the bubbles out and to make good corner creases. You can see that the paper will wrap around about half an inch on the adjoining wall. More on that later.

This wallpaper job was very tricky. I got frustrated because it was not turning out perfect. The paper does not hold up well to moisture. I tried very hard not to get glue on the outer surface because washing it off tended to damage the paper. I ruined my first wall by rubbing too hard to get the paper smooth.

Things to keep in mind when wallpapering:

  1. Make a paper pattern first so that you know your walls. If you are remodeling an old house, wallpapering is quite challenging. I know that when I do the Alpine Farm House I am going to do some painting and papering first. I did okay and it was quite helpful to have the paper pattern precut and measured so that I could make adjustments on the pattern before I cut the wallpaper.
  2. Glue: I used Yes scrap booking glue. It worked okay. Different websites suggest alternatives such as regular wallpaper glue, modge podge, dollhouse wallpaper glue. I ordered it form Itsy Bitsy. It was very expensive, I thought, almost $18. for a pint. I didn't any have luck finding it any stores in town. 
  3. Most websites suggest wrapping the wallpaper around corners. I found it necessary to do so because the walls were not tightly glued to each other or to the roof, so light came through the cracks. I decided which walls would have the wrap around and papered them first. I had good results. So remember to cut your patterns to include the 1/2 wrap.
  4. Be patient and take you time. I usually do one or two things each night, simple little chores like paint the wood trim to keep from getting tired, hurried, and frustrated. Glue and paint need time to dry and cure, so plan accordingly.
The wallpapering is done now. The pop sickle stick floors need a bit of work to smooth out the ends because I wasn't particular enough at the finished end of the row, making the uneven. I may do some sanding to give them a better fit. 

I have cut the wood trim for the windows, the door, and the floor and painted the pieces. I will install them next. And the house will be about finished. 

I didn't have a very clear picture of how I wanted the house to look. I needed inspiration. As I wondered the toy aisles at Target with my grandsons, I couldn't resist the Barbie aisle when I found the cutest little dolls, Mooskas. I had to have one. Meet Jaya and her little swan. 

I think she likes her new home.

I got a bit ahead of myself putting pieces in the little house, but I couldn't help it.

The little mooska has already fixed herself a cup of tea. She looks right at home in the chair borrowed from another dollhouse. 

I haven't decided just how far to take the decorating of the house. I have ordered a couple of pieces on ebay for the bathroom, but I don't want to put a lot of money in the Lafayette. I had hoped to make everything that I put in the house, but making furniture from scratch is really hard and I am not talented. 

So, I hope you enjoyed the wallpapering process. I know that when I do other two houses I will have a better idea as to how to cut the paper, which I will do before I glue the houses together. 

Thanks for stopping by. Love your comments.

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