Lately I have been a little obsessed with vintage wallpaper, which I find preferable to work with on my projects rather than printed craft paper. Wallpaper is made from heavier stock which doesn’t tend to tear or buckle, many rolls are pre-pasted and they have a durable finish. Plus, you get a lot of paper on those rolls, which can be a bargain if you can get them cheaply enough. The grandmother’s cupboard that I featured last week was papered with a vintage check kitchen wallpaper,
Trouble is, there aren’t any stores in my area that carry wallpaper in-stock any longer! Wallpaper in general is making a resurgence in home decor, but everything has to be ordered from those little sample books. But that takes days…and when I have that perfect finished piece in my head…I need that paper and I need it now! The one wallpaper store in my town that had an entire second floor devoted to in-stock wallpaper, literally rows and rows of rolls and rolls…has recently closed : ( So when I started the search for another wallpaper source, I called around all of the paint and decorating shops in my town and the surrounding ones as well. Turns out, it’s not lucrative for shop owners to devote floor space to old wallpaper that they may or may not ever sell. Until…I happened to be driving past the paint shop in town where I buy all of my Benjamin Moore paints and supplies. I am in there all the time, have looked at their wallpaper books, but never noticed any stacked rolls in the shop. But on a whim I stopped and asked if they did, indeed, have any old rolls hanging around and sure enough…I hit the mother-lode!!
The upstairs room (that clearly is used primarily for storage) was filled with boxes of dusty old rolls of stripes and plaids and toiles and florals…just what I had been searching for. Like a kid in a candy store, I just couldn’t decide on which one to choose, so I bought 5… for $5 per single roll…such a bargain! And then went back a few days later and bought another french toile…but I saw quite a few more that I know I can use somehow…somewhere…sometime…so I’ll definitely be back!
but it really just needed a face-lift rather than a full-on makeover. I cleaned it, lightly sanded, repaired and glued the drawers and door, then painted it with two coats of Benjamin Moore Saffron matte finish paint, then dry brushed in a cross pattern with a lighter creamy gold called Putnam Ivory. Dry-brushing just gives the wood color an extra dimension.
Oftentimes when Coach is pickin’ at estate sales, if he sees Ben Moore paint cans for sale he grabs them because he knows that is my paint of choice for our home. These two gallons probably cost a couple of dollars, but well worth the money spent!
I measured, then cut the toile paper to feature the rooster and chick in the center. This paper was not prepasted, so I used Elmer’s Glue-All to affix it to the door panel.
Some wallpapers, like the green check, don’t really have a direction, but these birds would look a little silly standing on their heads in a meadow…So I cut another piece and glued that over the first piece. FAIL.
and recut and papered the roosters, this time right side up. A couple of hours of wasted time I’ll never get back…stupid birds. Today’s DIY Tip (I know, you want to take a tip from me, the person who pasted the roosters upside down?!) When you apply wallpaper to furniture or walls, sometimes the paper will bubble up in places and you need to smooth it down to ensure a good bond with the surface. You cannot use a trowel or hard tool because it will scrape and possibly tear the paper. A good trick is to use a roll of painters tape, rolling on its side to smooth out the ripples and bumps. It’s firm enough to allow pressure but won’t harm the surface of the paper.
then waxed the entire piece with Americana Creme Wax.
You just can’t find those old wheels anymore unless you take them off another piece of furniture or find them on Ebay for a small ransom. The vintage brass hardware was absolutely gorgeous…you just don’t see pieces with this amount of detail…
…but one of the drawer pulls was broken…so I replaced it with a similar one from my workshop…the shape is not the same but the style and patina still have that Parisian Flair. So there you have it: a Vintage French Toile Wallpapered Commode.