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Member Talent - Simon Medlin, Dulux Select Decorator

Hanging Custom Wallpapers

Simon Medlin - Dulux Select Decorator, expert in hanging wallpaper and traveller of the world! Listen to Simon talk us through his expert skill.

Over the last 8 years my portfolio of clients has grown to include projects not only all over the U.K. but Europe, the U.S.A, The Middle East and the Far East, hanging some of the most beautiful and lavish wallpapers around.

When hanging handmade and tailored wallpapers to fit the specific measurements of the room, the pressure is on! There is never any left over and more importantly, never any spare to use if there is a mistake made when hanging or measuring the room. There are also timely reminders, such as, most come together to create a scene or are a hand painted mural and can reach costs of £20 - £30,000 for an average size room!

After receiving the elevations of the room, the measurements are then forwarded to the wallpaper manufacturers who produce a miniature plan of what the room will look like. Then upon customer approval, it's a 12 to 14 week lead time for the papers to be made and the artist to do their work.

The wallpaper usually arrives with approximately 2cm of selvage on each edge, so the first task for me after the usual preparation and lining of the walls is to plan where the joins or seams are going to be and trim off the selvage from each drop with a very sharp knife. This ensures that the design on each drop will match up with the next and consequently create the scene or mural when applied.

I find the 3 types of Beeline tub paste that are available are more than adequate to hang nearly every type of wallpaper I come across, so depending on what wallpaper it is nine times out of ten I will be using one of the Beeline pastes. It is absolutely essential that no paste gets on the face of these wallpapers as it will leave a stain that won't come out.

When actually hanging the wallpaper there is no secret system or technique other than the usual best practice methods we have been taught at college and during our apprenticeships. Although, rather than it being the usual 'measure twice, cut once', it's more like 'measure 4 or 5 times, cut once' as the drop of wallpaper you're about to cut can be the wrong side of £1000 and there isn't another one in the world to replace it if something goes wrong.

When I did my apprenticeship no one ever said, and I could never have imagined, that the skill I was learning would take me almost half way round the world but it is that very apprenticeship which taught me more than I ever learned at school.