Working With Beaded Wallcoverings

One of the more challenging wallcoverings for an installer to tackle is beaded wallcovering. Not to be confused with the solid-glass-bead offerings from companies like Maya Romanoff and Innovations, beaded wallcoverings are more like regular wallpaper, except that instead of using only ink to print the patterns, micro-beads of silicates are affixed to the wallpaper surface to make the pattern glimmer. The effect is stunning when the light hits the paper just so.

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This material is dry-hung onto a pasted wall for the reason that it would be nearly impossible to keep the beads out of the adhesive if the paste were rolled onto the backs of the sheets.┬áThe problem arises when loose beads find their way behind the wallpaper — that is, they end up between the paper and the wall. And the kicker is that they often aren’t detected until the paste cures, at which point it’s too late to remove them. These papers are generally made of non-woven wallcovering stock, which tends to be slightly puffy compared to plain paper stock. However once the wallcovering adhesive cures, the non-woven paper is drawn tight to the drywall, and any beads stuck between the paper and the wall will protrude in sharp relief. In the photo below, beads trapped behind the paper are visible to the left of the corner near the top of the photo. In trimming the first sheet into the corner, some loose beads fell into paste that had been applied already to the adjoining wall in preparation for hanging both sheets. The beads themselves are clear, and they tend to be invisible once on the pasted wall.

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The key to avoiding this problem is two-fold. First, the the backs of the sheets must be wiped assiduously to remove every single, last bead before bringing the sheet to the wall for hanging. The second effort is to use a foam roller, rather than a bristle sweep or a plastic smoother, to press the wallcovering into the adhesive. The foam roller won’t knock the beads off of the wallpaper surface where they’re likely to fall onto the adjacent pasted wall. The foam roller also does an excellent job of truly smoothing down the wallpaper, especially in the nooks between the closely spaced rows of beads where a smoother won’t reach. We use a Hyde Foam roller as pictured below. It’s got a crisp edge so it can roll right up to the edge of the sheet with sufficient pressure to lay down the wallpaper.

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Another method for minimizing the chance of beads falling into the paste is to limit how far ahead you paste the wall. You need to paste at least a little beyond the width of sheet you want to hang, but you don’t have to go past it by more than inch or two. This minimizes the pasted wall area for beads to potentially fall into and become attached to. It’s also a good idea to pre-mask the perimeter of the area before you paste the wall. By taping off the trim in the photo below, we were able to paste right onto the tape. When it was pulled down just prior to hanging the sheet, it left a clean edge of paste exactly at the line where the trim meets the wall. No paste on the trim, no voids on the wall. It saves you from having to wash paste off the trim, and it assures that your paste line is perfectly cut-in.

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Beaded wallcoverings, like this Ariso from Romo, are a challenge to install cleanly, but if you’re careful and patient, the results can be stunning.

(Link to Romo’s beaded wallcovering page: https://www.romo.com/collections/wall-coverings/shima/arioso-wallcovering/cerise)

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1 Comment

  1. richard says:

    is there a problem with cutting,i have a 15 inch repeat,with a strait match. and what is the best past

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