Thibault Grasscloth – Going For The Glam

Thibault goes for the glam.

This Thibault grasscloth is no ordinary grasscloth. It’s overlaid with a film that gives it bit of a shimmer. It’s not unlike a similar product from Philip Jeffries, called Max’s Metallic Raffia, although it’s got far less ‘bling’ than PJ’s glimmering grasscloth.

Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

Thibault has always been one of the good-guys in the wallpaper business. I enjoy hanging their wallcoverings.


Kudos for the packaging

This is the first time I’ve ever come across this type of roll protection for grasscloth, or for any material for that matter. These roll-end protectors are made from recycled paper, and they’re the same weight as the sleeves that slide around your Starbucks cup of hot coffee. As expected, the edges of the rolls were in perfect condition.

Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

Awesome packaging! My hat is off to Thibault for thinking of the end-user.


Still needs to be trimmed

Despite the well-protected and well-manufactured edges of the material, the material still looked better trimmed than untrimmed once on the wall. We hung the first area — above a chair rail in a narrow hallway — using untrimmed sheets. The factory edges were beautiful, and the coloring was dense and consistent, so we figured, why not?  The reason, as it turned out, is because the overlay of film that gives the material its ‘glam’ appearance doesn’t extend all the way to the edge of the sheet. It ends about a sixteenth-inch from the edge. The result is an eighth-inch vertical band at each seam that’s a different shade than the rest of the material.

First, untrimmed:

Here are a couple of pictures of seams with the untrimmed sheets. As you can see, the seam stands out, although not too terribly, but still noticeable as a brownish line in this otherwise greenish grasscloth.

Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

This is not a very inconspicuous seam. Even though the factory edges looked beautiful, they were unacceptable.

Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

This discoloration wasn’t visible on the roll. It only showed up after we butted the untrimmed sheets together on the wall.


Then trimmed:

The next photos are of the seams where we’d trimmed a nominal amount off of each edge, in order to eliminate the discoloration at the seams. It added time to the job, but the results were worth it. In the closeup photo, it’s obvious that there’s no discoloration at all, and that the seams are as they should be: tight and shade-less.

Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

Trimming the edges produced a more eye-pleasing seam

Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

Closeup of a seam with edge-trimmed sheets


Glam seam roller

The film that gives this material its glam isn’t so permanent. After a few hours, this is what my seam roller looked like. Beware. We double-cut two seams over a doorway, and the light-duty masking tape that we used for protecting the underlapped sheet from paste actually pulled the film off with it. We ended up with a two-inch vertical stripe that looked darker than the rest of the room. So, we pulled those two sheets down, and we double-cut the replacement sheets using wax paper for protection, rather than tape. Lesson learned.

thibault_ohio6Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

Some of the film delaminated onto the seam roller.



Bonus photo

Some folks are better than others when it comes to trapeze work. We needed to raise this chandelier in order to better position our two scaffolds over the center staircase for the painting of the ceiling. Our helper, Dave, was fearless when it came time to walk the plank. He strolled out onto that thing like it was nothin’, and then he hoisted the light fixture and hooked the chain to itself in order to shorten it by a foot. Brave Dave. (Thanks, Dave!) That’s fellow-NGPP member Dick Wilson, below-decks, helping out with lifting the fixture. This was Dick’s job — a 40-roll, two-story foyer, plus a hallway – and we were able to team-up and knock it out in a few days.

Thibault grasscloth in a two-story foyer

Dave, hanging tough.




  1. Dick Wilson says:

    Nice write up and good photos. Thanks Cliff.

  2. Eunice says:

    have you tried Steve Boggess’ cut tape? Nicer than wax IMHO. I use it for masking grass all the time as I prefer to double cut it (over polycarbonate strips). prior to that I had the same thing happen as you; a film of chocolate wash lifted leaving a lighter seam area.

    1. Cliff says:

      Eunice, it never occurs to me to try the cut tape. For the longest time I didn’t even understand the nature of it. Steve sent me a roll of it a while ago. I’ll have to remember to give it a try next time. Thanks.

  3. Jeff Smith says:

    Excellent photos and posting… very professional. Like the close-ups of tools. When I installed this product, I had to table trim to balance my sheets, so I was totally unaware of the edge shading. But I had wrinkling on the right side of the roll due to the manufacturing process. Thibaut replaced it and paid a fee to make it right… one of our NGPP benefits. I’m a big fan of Thibaut as well.

    1. Cliff says:

      Thanks, Jeff. Thibault’s president spoke at one of our NGPP conventions. He was very forthright about the limitations of manufacturing, especially in a union facility as his, but it was clear that he really cared about putting out a first-quality product.