Preparing for the overhaul...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why Les Chinoiseries Wallpaper Is The Best

Before you set about papering your next dollhouse, there are a few things you should know.  Mini Land is pretty much bursting at the seams with different wallpaper choices.  Some are OK.  Some are downright awful.  Here are some reasons you shouldn't use anything but Les Chinoiseries:
  1. Most wallpapers are comparatively thin.  Even Les Chinoiseries' biggest competitor, Brodnax, has a very thin paper.  This isn't optimal.  Thinner papers a) are harder to attach smoothly, and b) tend to ruffle and pill.  I, personally, don't care for Brodnax paper as I'm not impressed with either the quality of the paper or the quality of the printing.  Les Chinoiseries wallpaper, on the other hand, stands up to a lot of abuse.
  2. Another reason you want a thicker paper is if you're planning on wiring your house.  Wiring tape is extremely visible under poorer-quality papers.  This is a primary consideration of mine in deciding whether or not to wire; if I can't find decent period-correct papers or other wall coverings, I don't.
  3. Les Chinoiseries' papers represent the most high quality printing available on the market today.  Their colors are extremely rich and vibrant; their lines are extremely crisp.  In comparison, many supposedly "expensive" papers have weak, bland colors and fuzzy lines.
  4. It's EXTREMELY challenging to find historically accurate wallpaper.  I've toured a number of historic houses across America, and seen much of the original wallpaper on which Les Chinoiseries' designs are based.  There's even one particularly fine example in my hometown.  One aspect of historical colors, which modern designers, in their ignorance, often fail to reproduce is saturation.  Real antique wallpaper--and fabric--started out life bright.  Mostly, their current pastel hues are the result of fading.  In larger homes especially, many rooms--such as the formal parlor--were used only at night, and, therefore, seen only by candle or lamplight.  It was necessary to use bright colors, as even the brightest colors would appear soft and faded in dim light.  This historical tidbit is extremely useful to know when it comes to designing your dollhouse.  Most commercially available dollhouse lighting is weak, and, thus, the real life decorating problems of our ancestors are illuminating in solving those faced by us, as miniaturists, today.  Bright, busy patterns might look bizarre under fluorescent light, but they'll make the best dollhouse rooms.
  5. The price is right.  It might seem like a lot, compared to, say, the bargain grab bag at your local miniatures shop, but, believe me, you're getting your money's worth.  I'd actually never had much of an opinion one way or the other about Les Chinoiseries, until I helped a friend wallpaper a house for her granddaughter.  I was so impressed--I literally couldn't get over the difference in quality.  I went home and threw all my other wallpaper out.
Do you have a company or product you really love?  Really hate?  Tell me about it!


Catherine said...

Thank you for the wallpaper review. I went to their site and had a good look around. They have a lot of beautiful fabrics too.

I can appreciate their paper is a better quality and much heavier. That is good to know.

I have read that all 1: 12 scale wallpaper should be treated with a matte UV spray before you apply it. Someone showed a dollhouse on their blog where a paintings and furniture had been removed after only a few years. The wallpaper had faded very badly except in areas that were covered.

I have bought 1: 12 scale wallpaper online that I thought was very expensive. When it arrived I was shocked by the quality of the paper it was printed on. It wasn't just thin, it was too smooth/slick and sort of shinny at an angle. I wanted the surface of the paper to be different and have a bit of tooth to it. Which would give the warmth that good quality paper affords. I hated that it looked like cheap computer paper!!!

I am really enjoyig reading your blog. It is over 100 degrees F here with a heat index of 110. It is a great day stay inside and read a new (to me) blog.

Norma said...

This is a good review. I've always shunned buying paper, either at the store or online, because what I see at the store is rubbish and I hear so many people complain about what they've bought. I know quite a few miniaturist are using scrapbook paper to get a decent quality. Being a DIY gal at heart I've been printing mine (also because I've previously been working in 1:16 scale so 'normal' DH patterns are too big)using good quality paper, archive quality waterproof ink (supposed to withstand 99 yrs of normal light exposure but I won't be around to comment on that!!). I also spray with matte UV spray. I have sourced my patterns from Jennifer's Printables range which is labelled with the appropriate 'era', and also sometimes it's possible to find some images of repeatable patterns here and there on the net.

All of that said I am definately going to check out the manufacturer you discuss here because knowing the quality is good ahead of time makes all the difference. I note in Catherine's comment that they have fabric too so that's a plus.

Re actually installing the paper, I never do so directly onto the wall. My walls are always lined with thin art quality card, the paper goes onto this. This avoids all the problems with wiring showing from behind and also the card doesn't need to be attached to 100% of the wall surface so it's easier to rip it out to redecorate that trying to get paper off.

Norma said...

I'm back! Just looked at their website, impressed indeed. They have a nice range of French papers and their fabrics look awesome, I'm bookmarking this site for sure - thanks for sharing!!

CJ said...

@Catherine, welcome!!! It's been over 100 for a couple of days here, too. We have hot summers, but normally, living on the ocean, it's slightly cooler. Not so lately! I'm glad you like the blog :-)

@Norma, thanks for the card stock tip! That's a really excellent idea and I'm going to try it. I'll let you know how it goes :-)