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Tips for anaglypta wallpaper

Updated February 21, 2017

Anaglypta is an old form of paint-ready textured wallpaper that is embossed with various designs from antique scrolls to modern random dot patterns. Anaglypta is used widely to disguise less-than-smooth walls and enhance ceilings and wainscoting with an old-world detail effect without the cost of panelling, leather tooling or decorative plaster work. The relief thickness and its sometimes intense patterning makes is slightly more challenging to work with than traditional wallpapers, but with patience it can be hung successfully by DIYers.

Preparing the Surface

Apply a cut of clay-based heavy-duty paste adhesive such as Gardner-Gibson's Shur-Stik 111. Roll on an even base coat of the clay adhesive with a smooth foam roller over the entire expanse where you will hang the Anaglypta and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. This base coat provides some tooth for the edge of the paper to grip onto and cuts down on the need to spackle the seams after applying the paper, which can be messy and mar your good work.

Applying the Wallpaper

Since Anaglypta is made from paper pulp, it not only expands but also becomes more delicate when it gets wet. Handle it gingerly to prevent it from tearing or stretching. Roll the paste onto the paper back with a smooth foam roller and book the paper to soak as you would any other. Carefully time and match how long each piece is allowed to sit before being hung and make sure all of the pieces of paper sit for the same length of time so that they expand at a similar rate and the patterns will still match up well when hung. Clay paste sets up quickly, so consult the manufacturer's directions for the optimal booking time before hanging. Set the paper onto the wall gently while ensuring good contact. Anaglypta paper needs to be smoothed in place without crushing its embossed patterning. To achieve this balance, use a natural bristle sweep brush or a soft nylon sweep brush. Do not use a palette knife, seam roller or plastic smoother as these will crush and distort the pattern. Cut the excess paper with a fresh razor on each cut as the paper is thick and the paste can adhere to blade, creating a drag that can prevent a clean cut. To smooth the seams and fill in gaps, apply a spackle or joint compound with the tip of your finger for a precise placement and smooth finish that does not crush any of the embossing.

Curing and Painting

Allow the freshly applied Anaglypta wallpaper to dry throughly for at least seven days before attempting the paint finish. Allowing the paste to dry completely and the paper to shrink into place will give you a better sense if seams need to be spackled and will keep moisture from seeping back into the paper, which can alter its performance and adherence to the surface. After seven days you can prime the Anaglypta and allow that to dry for at least 48 hours and then proceed with the finish colour coats, allowing the paper to dry between each coat of paint or treatment applied.

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