Project: Tissue paper walls
If the store-bought colour is too bright as it is, you can apply a glaze to tone it down.
You'll need a tape measure; 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue paper; mild dishwashing detergent; matte Mod-Podge; a foam wallpaper roller; a 7-inch roller tray; a 4-inch, soft-bristle flat paintbrush; and clear latex gloves. If you want to tone down the colour with a tinted glaze, you'll also need universal tint in a burnt umber; 1 quart oil-based glaze; an edging brush; a container in wich to mix the glaze; several sheets of clear acetate or plastic for testing the glaze color and effect on the walls; and a 4-inch natural bristle staining brush.
1 To determine the amount of tissue paper needed per wall, multiply the wall's height times the width in inches. Now divide this number by the number of square inches in one sheet of tissue paper. Triple that amount so you'll have enough for a second, overlapping layer, cutoffs, and boo-boos. Here, the calculations for a wall measuring 8 1/2 feet high by 10 feet wide, or 102 inches by 120 inches: Wall: 102 x 120 = 12,240 square inches total. Tissue paper: 20 inches by 30 inches per sheet. 12, 240 / 600 = 20.4. Round that up to 21, multiply by 3, and presto - you'll need 63 sheets to cover the wall.
2 You can cut the sheets of tissue into smaller squares and rectangles, like I did, or leave them as they are. The smaller sizes are easier to handle, but the cutting and application is more labor intensive.
3 Clean the walls with mild detergent and warm water, and wipe down with plain, warm water to remove and soap residue. Let dry completely.
4 With a foam wallpaper roller, apply a thin coat of Mod-Podge into an area of wall about equal in size to the tissue square you're applying. (I used a paintbrush, which also works well.) Glue down a single sheet of tissue, smoothing out major wrinkels with the soft-bristle brush, then roll with the foam roller. Apply another coat of Mod-Podge to a wall section, and let some glue slop over onto the square you just stuck to the wall. Press down another tissue paper square so that it overlaps with the square next to it. Continue, slightly layering and overlapping the squares as you go, until the wall is covered. Don't worry if the paper wrinkles or puckers slightly - you want the overall effect to look imperfect and hand done. Remember: flawed to perfection. Allow the wall to dry overnight.
5 Using the paintbrush, paint the entire wall with a latex glaze to seal and protect it and create a soft matte finish.
6 Toning it down: If you need to tone down the colour of the wall, mix 3 to 6 drops of the universal tint into 1 quart of oil-based glaze. To test, stipple the glaze on a clear sheet of acetate and hold it up to the wall. For a darker finish, add more tint; to lighten, add more glaze. Lightly stipple the glaze over the walls using a stipple brush.
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Excerpted from Doug's Rooms by Douglas Wilson Copyright © 2004 by Douglas L. Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.