The Time I Hung Wallpaper & Painted Stripes

Here's something you may not know about me:

I have tools, and I know how to use them.

Although I appreciate all of the wonderful qualities that my parents have instilled in me, this is on my top 5 list of "things that made my parents awesome".  At the time, however, as I was helping my Mom paint, wallpaper, and scrape 50 year old paint off of windows and banisters, I would have rather done pretty much anything else.

There may or may not have been an argument at some point about why we had to spend the weekends at home while my Mom was painting and stripping [paint, not clothing], while the "other kids" were at the mall.

Today [in my advanced age], I'm slightly less hormonal, and I can appreciate the value of all of these seemingly useless skills that I've learned.  Since moving from My Gazelle's condo back to my condo, I've had many "I'm a big girl now" moments, while wielding my screw driver.

I put a power drill on our wedding registry.

In the aftermath of our kitchen remodel, I'm thankful that I was able to do a lot of the small stuff by myself.  Sometimes, there were things that I could have done, but I just didn't have the necessary tools [circular saw, anyone?].

One of the last pieces that I needed to make a decision on regarding our kitchen was the backsplash.  I didn't want to dump much more money into the remodel.  I already went slightly over budget [with the Formica-turned-granite decision], and like most of the people who were so fortunate to have purchased a dwelling from 2005-2007, I'm upside down like a mofo.

It is what it is.

All I knew is that if there was to be a family using the kitchen in our condo, then that family needed more counter space on which to bake their cupcakes.

When choosing the backsplash, I had a few requirements:

  • Cheap.
  • Resilient.
  • Whimsical.
  • Cheap.

The kitchen is one of the first rooms people see when they enter the condo, so I wanted a spunky sort of backsplash that would make people say "wow!" when they walk in.  The rest of the condo is painted in a lot of earth tones, and my kitchen needed to be a little more lively.  I always have a ton of fun in the kitchen, and I wanted the redesign to reflect that.  It couldn't be boring.

Besides money, my main challenge was the condition of my walls.  The previous cabinets were hung about 6" too low, so there was a visible line in the drywall where the cabinets had hung for several years.  In addition, the old counters were Formica, and had an 8" backsplash [glued to the wall], which had somehow damaged the actual drywall, causing it to "bubble".

While My Momma was staying with us the week before the wedding, she filled all of the nail/screw holes with wall/wood filler.  I went through after the filler dried and gave it a gentle sanding to smooth it out.  I also sanded the part of the wall that previously had the backsplash attached to it, but it didn't help much.

At this point, I seriously considered tiling the whole backsplash.  The problem was that it was going to cost way too much.  I needed a way to mask the flaws in the wall while still not breaking the budget.

After discussing with My Momma, we determined that although the walls still wouldn't look "perfect", using textured paintable wallpaper would probably be the best solution.  I decided to use Imperial VP131608, which is a fairly thick wallpaper, and after it received a few coats of paint, would hopefully hide some of the flaws.

I ordered 2 rolls, for a total of $26.20, which arrived in 2 days (thank you, Amazon Prime).

Then, I got married and had a honeymoon.  Needless to say, things sat around for a while, and over the past week, I finally got the motivation to finish the project.

For this project, I needed:

  • 2 rolls of wallpaper
  • Scissors
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Tape measure
  • X-ACTO knife
  • Towels [I'm a little messy]

Some people would also use a level for this job, but I'm not that picky, and I have a pretty good eye.

Wallpaper is painfully simple to put up, especially when you're dealing with just a small space like my backsplash.  I basically just proceeded across the wall, starting from one edge (the one that is hidden the most, in case I royally screwed up the first piece of wallpaper), and cut each piece to the necessary size.

For walls that had an electrical outlet or switch, I just cut out the necessary space using the X-ACTO knife.

After cutting the piece of wallpaper to fit the space vertically, I took it to the tub, baby.

After leaving it in the water for a few minutes, it started to look soggy.

At that point I rolled it up into a tube, with the pasted side in.

Then, after shaking the excess water out of the middle of the tube, I feverishly ran back to the kitchen [tripping over 2 dogs along the way], so as not to drip water and paste all over my carpet [since I forgot to bring the towel to the bathroom with me].

After that, I just schmecked it onto the wall [no, "schmecked" is not a literal word, unless you're in my world].  I tried to get it fairly straight at first, but it didn't matter much-- I made all of the final adjustments during the next step.

Sponge ready!

Then, I posed for a picture, but forget to turn on the timer on the camera.

Holding the wallpaper with one hand, I just wiped the surface of the wallpaper down, moving the sponge from the middle to the edges, adjusting the wallpaper back to straight when necessary.  My object with the sponge was to push all of the little air bubbles and pockets of water and paste from under the wallpaper.  If the pockets of gunk remained, it would have made the wallpaper bumpy, and if there were air pockets, it could have caused the paper not to stick to the wall.

This part got a little messy, but I managed.

After I got that piece all smoothed out, it looked something like this...

After I got all of my wallpaper up, I left it for two days so as to ensure that it was nice and dry [and because I was feeling lazy for the next 2 days].

Then, I slapped on two coats of Behr Eggnog semi-gloss paint.

Then, I went a little crazy.  I had searched for some inspiration via Google Images several months ago, and decided that I wanted to paint stripes in my kitchen.  I was undecided about the color for some time, but after 4 trips to Lowes [and many days of having paint swatches taped to the cabinets], I finally decided on Behr's Pumpkin Patch.

I taped up my walls using 2" blue painter's tape (tape, skip 2", tape, repeat), popped the can of pumpkin patch, and started cutting in the edges where my mini roller wouldn't be able to reach.

It was around this point when I said a Hail Mary.  I was a little shocked at first by the sheer ORANGENESS of this paint.  However, I've had enough of these paint-induced panic attacks to realize that paint usually looks much different after drying [and after a second coat].

I forged on.

After the first coat had an opportunity to dry [who am I kidding...I waited like 15 minutes], I slapped on a second coat.  I waited another 20-30 minutes, then I removed all of the tape.

Um...excuse me?

Old, sad kitchen?

I'm so over you.

My kitchen is so fun now, and I really feel like it reflects my personality.  It's very satisfying to know that I did a lot of  the work by myself.  I'm even proud of the crooked drawer and cabinet pulls that look like I was cross-eyed when I installed them.  It adds character.  Right?

If you feel so inclined, I highly recommend painting stripes.  It made my kitchen much more fun and lively, and for less than $50, I think it was totally worth it.

Thanks Mom.

So how about you...are you crafty?