Vintage Flocked Wallpaper

It's always a joy to come across flocked wallpaper. It makes any room instantly unique and sophisticated, and your first instinct is to reach out and touch the fuzzy texture. 

The first flocked wallpapers were created in the 17th century to imitate the look of velvet and textile wall hangings. Creating flocked paper was a multi-step process that involved painting a background color onto paper or canvas, stenciling a design with an adhesive and then sprinkling with chopped wool or silk to make a raised pattern. However, they fell out of favor in the late 19th century for being too busy and old-fashioned.

The style eventually came back, though, with the psychedelic excess of the 1960s. As wild patterns and bold colors gained popularity, flocked wallpaper also returned to fashion. 

Once again, flocked wallpapers are making a comeback, adding rich color and a velvety texture to any room. If wrapping an entire room in the fuzzy stuff seems too overwhelming, you might consider covering an accent wall, hallway, or even a dining room--it's sure to make a statement and give a unique feel to your home.


History of Kitchen Wallpaper

Before electricity, kitchens in weathier homes were rarely wallpapered. The kitchens themselves were at the rear of the home or the basement in order to keep cooking odors and heat away from the main part of the house. Besides, it was considered wasteful to decorate a room only seen by servants or deliverymen.

In rural America, however, the kitchen was used by the housewives. Because the women spent a large portion of their day there, many kitchens were decorated with wallpaper featuring geometric or floral patterns.

In the 1920s, an all-white kitchen became the latest trend due to an obession with cleanliness and sanitation. White tile and enamel paint made dirt easier to see and remove. Because of this, the first wallpapers made specifically for the kitchen actually resembled tile. A few years later scenic touches were added.

In the 1930s, home designs began to change, making the kitchen the center of activity for eating as well as cooking. With this, wallpaper with kitchen motifs became available. These designs included cherries, strawberries, farm scenes, and  flowerpots. Geraniums, coffee grinders, and teapots were also popular.

This trend of wallpapering became extremely desirable in the 1940s, and lasted until about the 1960s, when kitchen decor took on a more modern look.


How to Hang Vintage Wallpaper

In my opinion, it is really not that difficult to hang vintage wallpaper...it just takes a little more time and patience. It's definitely worth it all too, because when finished, you will be rewarded with a look like no other! 

Tools of the trade are wheat paste, a large sponge, a straight edge ruler, and a roller cutter. I highly recommend that you use wheat paste, just like they had back in the day, and if you cannot find it locally, I order mine online. After mixing with water, wheat paste can sometimes be lumpy. On this day, mine turned out extremely lumpy and after much mixing on my part I finally gave up, and used an old strainer to push the paste through. Voila! lumps removed. I then like to apply the wheat paste directly to the wall to be papered and allow it to dry for a couple of hours. This gives the paper a little something extra to grip to when applied to the wall, kind of like sizing. 

I also recommend that you use a straight edge and a roller cutter to trim the wallpaper.  If you try to use a box cutter-type knife on wet paper it will rag up and you will have a real mess. 

While the wall was drying, I  measured, matched the pattern and cut the pieces I would need to cover the wall. I left a little extra on both ends. Then I trimmed one selvedge edge from the paper. There are two schools of thought regarding the selvedge edge: some hangers like to trim both edges and some like to leave one edge and overlap the paper. I prefer the latter just because I think it gives the whole thing a more authentic look. 

I then use a large paint brush to apply the paste to the back of the paper and hang it immediately. As I apply it to the wall, I match the pattern at the center of the piece and, working from the middle out, use a damp sponge and a light hand to smooth the paper. Try not to stretch the wallpaper and don't worry about small bubbles, as they will dry out smooth.  Carefully wipe away any excess paste. Then proceed with the next strip, overlapping edges and smoothing lightly until your wall is finished...and that is my method of hanging vintage wallpaper.

This is the finished project. I am really proud of my bathroom re-do!