Wallpapering with Maps: Finished!

OK, so you'll remember that last week I started the wallpaper project in my workspace which is in a closet on the top floor.
Before: bland and uninspired.

After: the pretty shot without all my papers.
After: the real shot with all the stuff I need there. Here's how I did it and what I learned along the way.
When I started the project I did a rough tally of the square footage and realized that I didn't have enough charts on hand to cover the entire closet.  All the charts were from Imray-Iolaire which I discovered are still sold at West Marine's website. There was only one downside to the new maps which I will go into later.
The very handy thing about these maps is that they are criss-crossed with latitude and longitude lines which made keeping everything square and straight very easy.
I bought some new blades to make sure that I got good clean cuts and no tearing, especially when the paper was wet.
I used Zinsser's SureGrip Universal Wallpaper Paste. The directions were a little ambiguous about priming the walls so I skipped that and just wiped them down with water. I had an old piece of mounting board which was perfect for all the cutting and for applying the paste to the paper.
I started in the lower section which I thought would be least noticeable if things went really wrong. Using the lines on the map, I cut the first piece about 15" wide.  I drew a corresponding plumb line on the wall about 3/16" narrower than the paper so that I could trim in down at the corner with the razor blade and it would fit perfectly. 
From there, I worked my way around. I only needed to use the plumb line for the first piece.
After that, I aligned each piece starting at the center edge of the map.  Once the entire edge was aligned, I used the brush to attach the rest. I was surprised by how much the paper grew when it was wet.
This is called booking. After pasting the paper you fold it in half and let the paper absorb and grow evenly.  I learned to skip this step because the maps got too wet and fragile if they sat too long. The paper felt pretty malleable while it went on the wall.  I could push it around but I realized that it couldn't take too much handling before it started to break down and I was terrified of tears.
This giant spatula was great for moving excess paste out from behind the paper. It was like a big squeegee.  It was also useful for pushing the paper into corners.
I always overlapped by about 3/16" on the edges and trimmed with a putty knife and blade. A very sharp blade is essential here or the paper will tear.
 Peal after cutting, very satisfying.
This bubbling made me very nervous when it first happened.
miraculously it disappeared as the paper dried and shrunk. However, you can see here the problem with the new charts versus the old ones. The new ones had print on the backs which read through to the front a little. Thankfully I had enough old charts to paper the most visible areas. 
 I patch-worked together as many of the old maps as I could.
I edged the patches with this boarder which appears on all the charts.

I absolutely loved this project! Wallpapering was far easier than I thought and I must say, super satisfying to do. Total papering time was about 10 hours. Tuesday I'll post about how I installed the cork on the lower walls.


Unknown said...

It looks awesome! It is very unique. I have a question though, how much did it cost you using the maps and how long did it take you to finish everything?

- NorAmFence.com

C a i t l i n said...

Sorry about this late reply. This was in my spam box. I had to buy 3 more maps for 29.99 each. The rest were vintage from my father-in-law's collection (they were actually used and written on which makes them all the cooler). Entire project took me several days of a few hours each day -about 10 hours total. The walls still make me smile when I see them. -Caitlin

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