A Pittsburgh healthcare management company wanted this office to reflect their satellite facility in Fort Lauderdale, so they turned to Murals Your Way, a graphics company that produces photographic murals to scale. Here is the blank canvas, an 11′W x 12′H wall. There were a few obstacles to deal with, such as the wooden ledge on the right, the angled cement wall on the left, and a cable chute coming through the wall near the ceiling.
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With a laser plumb line as a guide, the first of the three self-stick panels is positioned on the wall with it’s release film still attached to the back, allowing the piece to be moved around until it’s in the right spot. At that point the piece is temporarily affixed to the wall with pieces of masking tape.
The release film is removed from the top three inches of the mural using a special cut that horizontally slices the release paper without cutting through the mural itself, and that area is that smoothed into place with a felt-covered smoother. With the top three inches of the sheet set, the rest of the release paper is slowly pulled away from behind the sheet, and the material is very carefully worked onto the wall using back and forth sweeps in small increments.
Again setting up the laser line for guidance, and with pieces of masking tape at the ready, the second and third panels are positioned, peeled, and affixed.
And here is the finished product. This was a fairly difficult installation due to the height and the obstacles. Whereas with regular wallpaper the adhesive is wet & slippery and allows the sheets to become pliable and moveable, self-stick panels are unforgiving in their placement. Once the top few feet of the panel have been set, there’s really no going back, despite the claim of the material being removable. If the match at the seam starts to wander off, it can be real trouble. I find regular wallpaper-type murals much easier to install, even though it requires more effort in terms of wall-prep and pasting.
A Prepasted Mural
Speaking of wallpaper murals, here is a photographic wallpaper mural of downtown Pittsburgh. This was installed in the conference room of a local mechanical engineering firm, whose many commercial clients own several of the structures pictured in the mural. This mural came in 21 panels, each 21″ wide by 9′ tall. The wall was primed with Zinsser Gardz drywall sealer, and the adhesive for the panels was applied using an Advance pasting machine. Helping me on this job was Joe Blacka, a veteran paperhanger from Allegheny County with whom I occasionally team up when I need a second set of skilled hands. Here is the mostly blank wall where Joe has just set the first two panels into place:
On tall walls, we like to match the pattern at eye level first, and then smooth the rest of the panel into place. Here Joe gets ready to set the match while I suspend the panel just off the wall:
We set the rest of the sheet.
I trim a sheet at the ceiling:
This shows how even a small image can make a big difference. This couple decide to turn a little-used walk-in closet in their Cork Factory apartment into a cozy, personal space. They ordered an image from Magic Murals depicting Lake Como, Italy (the husband’s hometown), as seen from a birds-eye view. The mural was in the form of two self-stick panels, with a total image size of about 8′ by 8′. The wall’s wire shelving was removed and the holes patched. Using a laser level and the same techniques described in the Murlas Your Way installation, this space room was totally transformed in a matter of a couple of hours.
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