After some minor demolition in a bedroom that would become my new home office, I expected a couple of walls would end up requiring a lot more work than I was willing to do to get them prepped for paint. Rather than obsess about it, I worked the problem into my overall plan. The walls that were still in fine shape would be painted, the two problem walls would be papered.
Paper, yes, but not your normal off the shelf wallpaper. That would have only served to magnify the problem. The whole point was to camouflage the imperfections. The solution: ripped pieces of brown kraft paper.
Here are the basic steps I followed:
- Apply wallpaper sizing to the walls (really, don't skip this. If you end up hating the look, this will make removing the paper a whole lot easier).
- While the sizing is drying, sit down with your roll of kraft paper and start ripping the paper in to random shapes and sizes.
- Be sure to save the straight edged pieces. They work great for doing the joints between a papered and un papered surface.
- After the sizing has dried and you have a pretty good stack of torn paper pieces, put on some rubber gloves (latex, nitrile, whatever floats your boat). Pour yourself a bucket of wallpaper paste (I used Roman's Universal Wallpaper Paste GH-57 from Lowe's).
- Reach into your bucket of paste a grab a loose handful. Smear the paste on to the wall. Grab a piece of the paper and ball it up. Uncrumple the paper and apply it over the paste. Smooth out the paper with your gloved hands (enough to take out the bubbles, but not so much as you lose all the texture... Wrinkles are good!). Once the paper is sort of flat, take another handful of paste and smear this over top of the paper you just applied. The point is to saturate the paper once it's on the wall.
- As you go along, use the straight edge pieces to butt up to the ceiling and anywhere else you need a straight finished line.
- Repeat until your walls are covered, taking care to overlap your paper pieces.
Things to keep in mind:
- This is supposed to be random. Mix up the sizes and shapes as you put them up on the wall.
- You can't use too much paste.
- It's easy enough to do solo, but having a person available to hand you paper pieces while you're on a ladder makes the job easier.
- Don't try dipping the paper into the paste. Without any support, the paper disintegrates pretty quickly once it's saturated with the paste.
- Estimate about 50% more time than you think this will take. It took me a solid day and a half to do two walls (and one wall had a sliding glass door in it).
- Again, you can't use too much paste.
These two pictures were taken during the application process. Notice how I just papered over the corner inside the closet in the top picture.
You can see the wrinkles and texture a little better in this picture.
The final result ends up resembling leather or suede. I imagine you could achieve equally interesting results by using colored paper. Other ideas I've had include trying to buff the paper up to a shine with some sort of wax or polish and car buffer and painting over the paper. I'd do a test board before attempting either on a whole wall.
In the end, I couldn't be happier with how the walls turned out. The paint color on the other walls (Lyndhurst Castle Sand) is a light sage that compliments the brown paper nicely.
For more pictures see posts about my office on my blog... and be sure to let me know if you do this. I'd love to hear how your walls turn out.