How I Hung Grasscloth and Lived to Tell About It

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

I’ve been wanting pearlized grasscloth wallpaper since I fell in love from York Wallcoverings. Wanting to remodel my own home office/library space in shades of gray, spa blue, cream, and chocolate, I sought out the perfect luminescent shade of grasscloth from a book of exotic wallcoverings I found at Lowes.  This particular grasscloth wallpaper is by Patton Wallcoverings, from their ‘Decorator Grasscloth’ collection.

This book is filled with so many fabulous colors from celedon to gray to cream and mocha brown.   My gray/blue pattern number is 488-309.

Here’s the step-by-step I followed for installing grasscloth wallpaper all by myself!


  1. Grasscloth wallpaper, enough to cover the desired walls.
  2. Wallpaper paste
  3. Smoothing tool
  4. Level
  5. Measuring tape
  6. Staple gun
  7. Sharp scissors
  8. Paint roller and tray
  9. Medium sized paintbrush
  10. Extreme tenacity!

Step One:  I measured the height of my wall and cut my first piece of grasscloth, allowing an extra inch on the top and bottom for later trimming.  With a level, I realized a certain truth – no wall is perfectly straight.  I lined up the first piece of paper in the corner, and used a level to make sure it hung straight.  With a staple gun, I secured the top to the wall, then trimmed my corner where the paper was uneven.  The only way for me to hang this very heavy, very awkward paper by myself was by use of a staple gun.  Otherwise, I would have needed a second pair of hands.  I found that the texture of the grasscloth allowed me to cheat by securing my grasscloth with small staples.  I later removed them without any holes or damage.

Step Two:  After stapling on the top, I climbed under my paper and up my ladder, and added paste with my roller to the wall.  I did NOT put the paste on the back of the paper first.  I applied it directly to the wall.  This way, I avoided the need for a big work surface, and kept my paste exactly where I wanted it.

Tip:  Don’t skimp on paste, especially with grasscloth.  The heavy paper needs a sloppy amount of paste – I was very generous in my application.

Step Three:  I used my smoothing tool to get rid of bubbles, and they creep up everywhere.  I had to be extremely patient in pushing them out, and often I had to pull back the paper entirely, and resmooth it.  This is where #10 on my supply list comes in handy.

Step Four – Aligning seams:  This was by far the trickiest part.  With the second piece of grasscloth, I followed steps 1 and 2, but then had to align my second piece perfectly next to the first piece.  Again, I used the staple gun, this time on the vertical, to secure the pieces together every 8 to 10 inches.  Repeat step three and smooth out all bubbles with smoothing tool.  Be sure to remove all of your staples when the adhesive is dry!

Tip:  Apply extra paste underneath the seam with a paintbrush before you align your neighboring strip.  Be careful not to get any paste on your grasscloth.

Step Five:  Carefully trim around your electrical and light switches.  Be sure to remove your switch plate covers before you wallpaper!

Tip:  Do all of your trimming, both horizontal and vertical, with very sharp scissors.  Do not use a razor blade – it will tear the grasscloth and give you a jagged edge.

Step Six:  Trim the top and bottom of your strip of grasscloth once your paste has set.

I’ve never hung wallpaper with paste before, so this project was very time consuming and very challenging for me.  It took me five hours the first day, and another five hours today.  And it’s going to take me awhile to recover before I consider doing any more grasscloth anytime soon.  Besides, three walls in a small office is plenty grasscloth for me!

But I am truly loving the subtle texture grasscloth wallpaper adds to a space:


One drawback:  the seams are more visible than I anticipated, but that’s just the nature of grasscloth.  But with a furnished room it’s less noticeable. Have you all ever wanted to install grasscloth in your home or office?




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FAQ: In My Toolbox, Part One

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

I’ve recently been asked by several readers what tools I consider essential to be a successful DIYer.  

Now some gals are proud of their closets full of designer shoes and clothing.  (Need I say MariahKimoraEvaPaula?)  Not me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes, handbags and shoes too, but I don’t have the budget to invest as heavily as the aforementioned celebs. 

In truth, if given the choice, I’d take the chair and chandelier in Mariah’s closet over that shoe collection.  But that’s just me.

mariah closet

But speaking of closets, there is one in my world that I like very much.  It’s not gilded.  It’s not glamorous.  It doesn’t have any shoes inside.  But I’m very fond of it. 

Read the rest of this entry »

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DIY: No Sew Swag Valance

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I am in the middle of a remodel of my home office.  I originally envisioned elegant window panels scaling the wall from floor to ceiling.  But then I realized that if I am surrounding my window with cabinetry and shelving, then the idea of dramatic curtain panels had to go, well, out the window.  But I still needed a touch of fabric to cover the less than lovely white blinds.

I’ve made window valances before so I constructed yet another valance for my home office with the same technique I’ve used before, but this time, I added a soft swag.  I found this curtain on clearance at Lowes for $7.

How to Make a No Sew Swag Window Valance:

A note on fabric choice:  Since you’ll be using a lined curtain turned on its side to construct your valance, choose a solid, or a pattern that looks good when you flip the pattern horizontal instead of vertical.


  1. Curtain panel long enough to run width (not length) of window
  2. Staple gun
  3. Fusible web for bonding fabric (sold as Stitch Witchery or Heat-n-Bond at fabric stores)
  4. 1/2 inch x 2 inch thick pine, birch or poplar board from home improvement store, cut to length of valance
  5. 1.5 inch “L” Brackets
  6. Iron


Step One:  Choose where you want your valance to sit above your window, then measure the length of fabric you’ll need to cover the top of the board, and hang down over your window.  Cut fabric to chosen length.



Step Two:  Trim side of curtain panel to width of valance, plus 2 extra inches on sides.  Use the fusible web, a hot iron, and a moist cloth to bond your fabric together to form a clean hem.


Step Three:  Press your fabric with an iron to remove any wrinkles, then staple it to the top of your wood board, leaving 2 inches overlap on each side.  Trim off any excess fabric on the top.


Step Four:  Wrap your fabric around the side of your board and secure side with a small staple.


Step Five:  Locate studs on wall, then position your “L” brackets on your valance to match up to the wall studs.  Screw valance into wall.


Step Six:  To swag your valance, pinch your fabric together, then secure with a safety pin.  If you experience too much “droop” in the middle of your valance, and it pulls away from the window’s edge, one trick is to secure your fabric to the wall underneath the fold with a small tack.  It works !


Step back and enjoy your inexpensive and homemade swag valance.

Now I just need to install those gigantic cabinets!

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