Estimating the Quantity Required.
Wrallpaper is sold in rolls twelve yards long and twenty-one inches wide, with an additional half-inch of plain paper for protective purposes. To estimate how much is needed for a room, measure the height in feet of the walls from frieze or ceiling to floor-rail, then find out the number of widths, each 21 inches, which will take you round the room. Multiply the two together and the product will give the total length required. Divide the answer by 36, because there are this number of feet in a roll, and the figure arrived at tells how many rolls are required. Allow an extra roll in every six for matching and waste; if the pattern is a large one, it will be wiser to allow one extra roll in every four. Always buy a little more paper than is required.
Papering a Room.
To trim the paper, sit on a chair with the legs (knees stiff) as far forward as possible; touch the floor with the heels, toes turned up. Put the rolls on the insteps, pull the free end up to the knees and cut with the right hand. Wind with left hand.
To make the paste, obtain half a quartern of the cheapest flour, and mix with boiling water, little by little. Stir well, and be careful to work out any lumps. Have plenty of water to make the paste •juite liquid and not stiff. Half a quartern of flour will serve for seven rolls.
Cut a length of paper a few inches longer than is actually required. Use a fair-sized table or the floor, spreading clean newspapers for pasting. Spread the newspapers out so that they overlap a good deal lengthwise. When the first strip of paper has been covered with the adhesive, two lines of paste will have marked the newspapers. Therefore, before covering the second strip, pull the overlapping newspapers slightly apart; this will allow the second strip to be laid out flat without becoming smeared by the two pasted lines. Just before pasting the third and fourth and subsequent strips, pull the newspapers still further apart so that there will always be a clean surface on which to spread the wallpaper. When a length has been coated, lightly double. back the ends so that the paper can be carried up the stepladder without inconvenience. In hanging the first strip, be careful to get it quite square with the wall; if it is not, each subsequent strip will be hopelessly aslant. The perpendicular is arrived at by using a long piece of string, weighted with some convenient object and held against the edge of the paper, temporarily fixed. The position found satisfactory, the strip is pressed into proper contact with the wall. Use a clean large duster for the purpose. It is found advisable to work out the creases first in the middle of the length and then work upwards —then downwards. Trim both top and bottom edges by forcing the paper into the angle of the frieze or ceiling, and the skirting-board, run the point of the scissors into the angle, draw the paper slightly from the wall, cut it along the impressed mark, and return to its place.
Do not forget that the second and third, and the subsequent lengths must be longer than the first if the pattern is to be matched, and do not discard short lengths until the odd corners and places above and below window frames have been covered. Pay particular attention to the seams or joins in in the paper and see that they are pressed firmly down; otherwise they will tear sooner or later and catch the dust.
In doing a corner, cut the width of the whole strip so that it goes up to the coiner and an inch round it—never more. Then hang the remaining piece by the side, overlapping the merest fraction of an inch.
If tempted to paper a staircase, and you do not possess ladders to reach the highest parts of the wall, nail a cross-piece of wood on to a long broom handle, wrap soft cloths around the cross bar, and poise the pasted strip on to this bar. In pasting on embossed papers, a certain amount of hot glue is mixed with the paste. They should never be folded. Too much pressure must not be used, or the embossing will be damaged.
One last point: Some workers add a teaspoonful of powdered alum to the paste in order to preserve it. This is not a bad plan, but no such addition must be made when delicate colours or gilt and silver appear in the design. The alum may, and probably will, act on them and change their hue.
If it is necessary to varnish the wallpaper, it must first be given a coat of size—use a warm solution made by dissolving half a pound of jelly in three quarts of water. Use a good varnish of the kind known as paper varnish, and apply with a new, clean, broad brush. It should be done on a dry day: with the windows shut and no fire burning in the room—to minimize the fear of dust settling on the wet surface. It must be put on sparingly, in even, vertical strokes. If too much’ is put on it will run down in tears, and if the brush is worked too vigorously the varnish will froth up and produce a surface of pin holes. When the work is done, the brush should be cleaned in linseed oil or turpentine. Never wash a varnish brush in water.
If grease spots appear on the wallpaper, treat the soiled area with a creamy paste of pipeclay and leave for twenty-four hours. Dirty finger marks are best treated with an ink eraser, or rubbed with ‘ new bread.