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A Paper Rose Garden: Powder Room Makeover with Botanical Prints

Toiling in the rose garden is one of my greatest pleasures. It’s work to be certain, and the payoff is never a sure thing, but when the season arrives and the blooming begins that’s where you’ll find me – in the rose garden – taking in the scents and the colors, and literally taking in the roses to find a vase or two to set on the window sill. However, the season comes and goes so quickly I feel a little melancholy when it’s all over. 

With my love of roses so dear, I was recently inspired by a book, Redoute’s Roses, to create my own rose garden indoors, with a Do-It-Yourself approach. This paper garden would marry my interior walls of choice with careful application of the book plates.

The powder room off the kitchen and mudroom was the lucky room of choice. Not only did it need a little cheering up, but it’s very small with only three half walls, manageable for a first-time paper hanger. The planning and preparation was the majority of the work. The paper hanging took only about six hours.

I hope these tips will make it a little easier for you if you choose to give it a go. This can be mastered with any type of print of course. I toyed with various prints – birds, nests, eggs, ferns, camellias – but settled on the roses. There are some wonderful options in the Botanical Collection Shop at the moment and more coming soon.


TOOLS:

– Botanical Book Plates
– Retractable razor
– Wallpaper adhesive
– Brush
– Tray
– Carpenter’s tool
– Sponge
– Drop cloth
– Towel
– Level or plumb line
– Step ladder

STEPS:

Measure the walls and the plates to see approximately how many will be needed. Add 10% for overage.

Prep the walls by wiping with a dry cloth.

Remove the plates from the book by using a straight razor. Slice down the spine inside the book, pull out the plates and set them aside. 

(Optional) Set the pattern by lightly taping the plates on the wall. This takes some time, but will give an idea of where to start, as well as what the finished product will look like.

Choose a pattern: stacking, running bond, collage, to name a few. (I chose running bond, also known as the “subway” pattern with 1/2” seams all around.)

Start with a vertical row in the most prominent place, working from base to top.

Make cuts as you go, while paper is dry, otherwise it will snag and tear.

Set the plate face down on the tarp and brush the back with paste and then apply it to the wall carefully. The quicker you can get it onto the wall for support the better.

Use the sponge to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles. This may take some finessing by peeling back the paper and manipulating it a bit to get it smooth and straight. Don’t fret over this too much though. It’s nearly impossible to get rid of the bubbles completely. As long as the large bubbles are pressed out, the paper will adhere to the wall and flatten as it dries. Nearly all of my plates had small bubbles while damp, but now they are dry there are none. 

As for fixing mistakes after the paper dries – good luck! There was one plate that I tried to remove, but it was not coming down without a fight. Of course it was in a prominent place. Before putting too much energy into removing it, I just covered it with another plate and luckily it turned out fine.

Once the paper dries it can be cleaned gently with a dry cloth. Because of the raw nature of the book paper it cannot be cleaned with any solutions or water or liquids of any kind.

Keep in mind that imperfections are part of the charm. I’d love to see what you create and do hope you’ll share.

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