Liquid wallpaper is one of the most modern and versatile finishing materials for walls and ceilings. They are distinguished by an interesting texture, beautiful appearance and excellent performance characteristics. Another characteristic feature of European quality liquid wallpaper is its high price. Over time, their cost pays off due to the unique properties of the material, but repairs can hardly be called economical..
Is it possible to replace the factory material with an analogue of home-made, as well as how to make liquid wallpaper with your own hands, will be discussed in this article. After all, liquid wallpaper is easy to make yourself, using improvised and waste materials.
Liquid wallpaper is a symbiosis of two finishing materials – wallpaper and plaster. In some countries, this decorative coating is labeled as “decorative plaster”, “Danish plaster”, “silk plaster” and “cotton wallpaper”. The name often reflects the main components of the composition. For the manufacture of dry mix in factories, two components are used: a filler and a binder. To make the wallpaper liquid, immediately before application to the surface, add liquid – water of the temperature indicated by the manufacturer in the instructions.
The main components have many variations. Depending on what exactly is the basis of the wallpaper, they are distinguished by certain operational and aesthetic characteristics..
- Cellulose fibers. From the name it is clear that this is a product of the woodworking industry, and the fibers in their properties are similar to high-density paper wallpaper. Cellulose is ideal for the production of liquid wallpaper due to the low cost of raw materials (this is wood waste), small size and white color, which is easy to paint in any desired shade.
- Cotton fibers. Or more simply – the familiar sterile white cotton wool. In the composition of liquid wallpaper, cotton fibers are responsible for adding volume to the decorative coating and eliminating irregularities on the surface. Neutral color makes cotton comfortable for further coloring.
- Silk fibers. Mostly distributed in the countries of the Asian region. It is to the wallpaper with the addition of expensive silk fibers instead of cotton that the name silk plaster belongs. Of course, it is not the material for textile production that is added to the composition, but the “fringes” of low-quality fibers. Such raw material is called – burret.
- Decorative components. From a technological point of view, they do not play any role and do not affect the properties of the material, but it is the addition of decorative components that is responsible for the aesthetic qualities of the coating. These include: fibers of natural (wool) and synthetic origin (polyester), glitters, rhinestones, crystals, stone chips, mica, dyes.
Materials for the manufacture of the binder:
- Adhesive base. Each manufacturer has its own production secrets, but the properties of the base are similar to ordinary wallpaper glue..
- Plasticizers. This is a series of substances that are included in the composition to facilitate the application of wallpaper to the surface..
- Antifungal supplements. They are designed to increase the biostability of the coating, because liquid wallpaper is able to absorb moisture, which means there is a risk of fungi, bacteria, microorganisms.
Liquid wallpaper comes on sale in the form of a colored or white mixture of dry components. Before use, they are bred according to the instructions. You can repeat this procedure with factory wallpaper many times, since binders tend to harden without water and again take on a liquid consistency when it is added..
The finished mixture can be dyed during production, or it can have a white color. For white wallpaper, you need to purchase special colors for liquid wallpaper separately..
Pros and cons of coverage
The combination of the two materials for decorative finishing into one gave the appropriate advantages of liquid wallpaper:
- repairs using “decorative” or “silk plaster” are easier and cleaner than using roll wallpaper and ordinary plaster. Only two containers are required – one with water, the second with a diluted mixture. You do not need to prepare a clean surface to measure the wallpaper and wash off the whitish coating after sanding the plaster;
- there is no need to adjust the wallpaper pattern, since in liquid wallpaper the color and decorative elements are evenly distributed over the wall surface with a spatula and a special “grater”;
- the work is done with easy-to-use tools. You can apply the coating with your own hands. This may require some skill in working with a trowel, but training on a small section of the wall is sufficient;
- easy to correct defects during application. Moisten the damaged area of the coating with water, remove the solution with a spatula and apply a new one. After drying, there will be no noticeable adjustment. Defects that have appeared as a result of mechanical damage already in the process are also eliminated;
- it is convenient to bypass protruding places on the wall: sockets, switches, non-removable decorative elements;
- the coating will be solid, without joints;
- in its properties, liquid wallpaper is close to plaster in that it evens out the unevenness of the working surface, it can also be used to fill cracks and crevices;
- it is possible to create a unique decor, volumetric details, relief, drawings according to individual sketches;
- can be used on walls and ceilings;
- a wide range of colors, a variety of decorative elements, which makes them universal for any interior style and design ideas;
- the coating is odorless, safe for allergy sufferers;
- liquid wallpaper is good to use under varnish, which will protect them from scratches, dust and moisture, and also make them washable;
- the composition of the mixture is dominated by components of organic origin;
- liquid wallpaper improves sound insulation and thermal insulation in the room;
- Breathable wall surface that absorbs moisture.
Not only the advantages, but also the disadvantages of liquid wallpaper are associated with the combination of materials. Customer reviews confirm that in practice, their use is not always successful. This largely depends on the conscientiousness of the manufacturer and the correct handling of the material..
Weaknesses of liquid wallpaper:
- high price. The market leaders in this area are French manufacturers. High production technologies and special secrets make their products practically uncompromising, but the price for them is greatly overpriced;
- liquid wallpaper is not among the most durable materials. Their service life is 5-10 years. However, ordinary wallpaper also needs to be changed every 5 years for a fresh repair;
- dust settles on the wallpaper. Reviews confirm that the uncoated surface, despite the manufacturer’s guarantees, does not have an antistatic effect, and dust accumulates over time;
- liquid wallpaper without a protective layer is afraid of moisture. They cannot be washed, much less used in the bathroom or kitchen;
- the application technology does not seem simple to everyone. Some opinions of those who have tested the wallpaper indicate the difficulties of the process of applying the mixture to the surface;
- high rates of material consumption. Considering the high cost of wallpaper, this is a significant disadvantage. Manufacturers promise that 1 package is enough for 6 squares. Reviews confirm that this figure is greatly exaggerated. At best, 4 square meters;
- there is a risk of acquiring a fake.
What can be done?
If, when comparing the number of advantages and disadvantages, doubts arise whether such an expensive coating will meet expectations, it is worth using an alternative option – to make liquid wallpaper yourself at home.
Of course, their characteristics will not be as good as those of a high-quality European manufacturer, but home-made wallpaper has a number of advantages:
- cost savings. Liquid wallpaper is actually made from junk materials: writing paper, fine sawdust, egg trays, toilet paper rolls and paper towels. And if a family does not eat eggs in the required quantities, because a lot of paper trays are needed, and the bushings are flushed down the toilet, then everyone has waste paper from old newspapers and magazines. All of these materials will serve as a substitute for cellulose fiber. Replacing cotton and silk will be made from ecowool or ordinary sterile cotton. In the end, instead of a binder, mixtures of PVA glue and other adhesives for wallpaper are introduced into the composition;
- the manufacturing process does not require special skills;
- applied in the same way as factory liquid wallpaper;
- the composition is obtained environmentally friendly through the use of components of organic origin;
- the ability to independently choose a shade and decorative components;
- improves the insulating qualities of the room;
- wet wallpaper is convenient to use for filling joints and cracks;
- the ability to correct surface irregularities.
Disadvantages of home liquid wallpaper:
- duration of the process;
- it is difficult to calculate the required volume of the mixture for the entire surface area of the room;
- if the mixture is not enough, even with an exact repetition of the proportions, the second batch after drying may differ in color;
- the result may not meet expectations;
- for the density of the mixture, it is necessary to add gypsum or plaster to it, but their amount is difficult to calculate. If you add too much, the mixture will harden and cannot be diluted again;
- the mixture shrinks over the area. It may turn out that there are empty areas between the layers;
- fractions of decorative elements in the composition must be finely crushed, otherwise they will create unnecessary irregularities and spoil the appearance of the coating;
- problematic to apply to some types of rough finishes, including drywall. Long preparation required for finishing with liquid wallpaper.
Manufacturing process: master class
To prepare liquid wallpaper at home yourself, it is important to observe the proportions of the components to be mixed, follow the steps step by step, and also correctly calculate the required volume. The preparation of the cellulose-adhesive solution is carried out in a certain sequence:
- Calculation of ideal proportions and the volume of material with a small margin. A universal recipe for the preparation of liquid wallpaper using cellulose fibers (with the addition of cotton) is considered: 5 liters of water per 1 kilogram of cellulose. For this volume of water, it is permissible to use 500-600 g of wallpaper glue and up to 500 g of gypsum or plaster. Decorative additives have a small volume and are used, as they say, “by eye”.
This volume is enough to cover 3-3.5 sq. m.
- Testing. This stage is not mandatory, but for those who first undertake to produce finishing material with their own hands, it is recommended to take several containers of water, several grades of paper and different types of additional components. Consecutively prepare several mixtures, using first universal proportions, and then independently adjusting them, if necessary, to obtain a thicker or liquid mixture, reduce the speed of its solidification, check the color of the resulting liquid wallpaper. It often happens that glossy magazines give a dirty gray tint instead of newspapers, and wallpaper cannot be used, especially if it was planned to make the walls light.
- Preparation of cellulosic material. When the proportions are calculated and the ideal composition is determined, it is time to start mixing the composition. First of all, it is important to process those materials that replace cellulose fibers in the home composition. If these are newspapers, they need to be cut or torn into small pieces of approximately the same size, after removing the hard pages and metal clips and threads. If toilet paper, sleeves and egg containers are used, they are simply cut or torn as needed. The sawdust must first be dried, since wet is heavier, and you can make a mistake when weighing, then there will not be enough wallpaper for all surfaces.
Ideal material is white paper for printing..
- Water addition. It can be cool in temperature from the tap. Having filled the paper with 5 liters of water, you need to let the mixture brew for 3 to 5 hours. The thicker the paper, the longer it will take to soak. The container must be closed so that the water does not evaporate.
- Mixing. After a few hours, the swollen cellulose must be thoroughly mixed. This can be done by hand, but for the best effect it is worth using an electric drill. It is enough to insert a mixing nozzle instead of a drill, immerse it in a container and stir well for several minutes. If the nozzle does not reach the bottom of the container, the mixture must be mixed periodically by hand, lifting the lower layers up.
- Adding glue, dye and decorative components. High-quality wallpaper glue is used as a binder. Decorative components can be any, but they should not subsequently succumb to decay, shedding, deterioration. A special acrylic color should be chosen, added to the container little by little until the desired shade is obtained. It will not be superfluous to add a small amount of protective equipment that will protect the wallpaper from fungi and microorganisms. Stir the resulting mixture well again with a drill and let it brew in a closed container for 12-14 hours.
- Adding gypsum, plaster or alabaster. Gypsum and alabaster harden faster. This stage is carried out immediately before applying the wallpaper to the work surface. It is necessary to mix the last component into the home mixture of liquid wallpaper and immediately start finishing work, since all powder substances for leveling walls tend to quickly harden in air.
What else is needed?
Covering walls with liquid wallpaper is a time consuming process. It can be divided into four stages, each of which will require its own list of tools and materials, and even its own methods of work..
Surface preparation is a very important step towards a durable decorative finish. Its quality will determine how long the finishing with liquid wallpaper lasts, whether dark spots, fungus, dents and irregularities appear on them, whether they begin to peel off.
The complexity of the procedure is determined by the type of walls:
- Concrete, brick or block. Such walls have two drawbacks for finishing with liquid wallpaper: a high level of absorbency of the material and a dark color that is difficult to cover. To fix them, you will need: colorless primer or PVA glue, gypsum putty, white paint, paint brushes, spatulas of different sizes, fine-grained sandpaper.
- Walls of old houses. They are often prone to darkening and rotting, so it is important to protect the wallpaper from dark stains. Required tools and materials: protective impregnation against fungi, microorganisms and rot, universal primer, putty if necessary to level the walls, light paint on a water or oil base, brushes, spatula.
- Drywall. It is a sheet material that forms joints when decorating walls. Puttying and leveling only them is a waste of time, it is necessary to level the entire work surface. For work you will need: primer, putty, a set of paint brushes, “skins”, a set of spatulas, paint.
- Wooden: polished board, timber, fiberboard, chipboard, MDF. It is not necessary to putty on a smooth wooden surface. It is enough to apply several coats of the primer, since wood has strong absorbent properties, and two coats of paint. Fleece rollers can be used.
- Colored paintwork. To paint colored walls you will need: white primer, oil-based whitewash, brushes or rollers.
- Walls with protruding parts (nails, fittings). They tend to rust from moisture, and there is a lot of water in the composition of liquid wallpaper. Metal must be treated with white paint, alkyd or oil.
Making liquid wallpaper with your own hands
Required tools and materials:
- capacity for 20-30 liters;
- a film to cover the container to prevent moisture evaporation;
- waste paper or paper for printing;
- water and a measuring jug with divisions of 0.5 or 1 liter;
- scissors to cut threads and large sheets into several smaller ones. It is more convenient to tear small sheets into small pieces;
- wallpaper glue;
- decorative elements: woolen, silk, acrylic threads of different colors, sequins and glitters, tinting, decorative crumbs from different materials;
- dry putty or plaster;
- drill with mixer attachment.
Applying liquid wallpaper
Tools for work:
- painting “trowel” – a device that has a flat surface with a handle for easy grip. The handle is located on the back of the grater. In the process of work, they wield it like an iron, smoothing out irregularities in the wallpaper;
- Spatulas of various sizes and shapes to level the mixture on large surfaces and to bend around small parts:
- plastic caps or tape for sealing outlets and switches;
- newspapers or film to protect the flooring;
- stepladder for easy work at the top of the surface;
- a drill with a mixing nozzle to mix the solution from time to time;
- a container with water and a clean spatula for quick elimination of coating defects;
- gloves, work uniform, clean rag.
Complex decorative finishing (volumetric, multi-colored) is carried out simultaneously or in stages, layer by layer. It requires a sketch of the pattern and stencils.
It extends the life of the wallpaper and makes it possible to wet clean the surface of the walls and ceiling. Varnishes of yellow shades and nitro varnishes of aggressive action are not suitable for this purpose – they corrode the wallpaper. Acrylic varnish is considered the best option.. It does not harm the coating, and after drying it becomes invisible, giving the surface only a slight sheen.
For quick and high-quality varnishing, you must use an aerosol product or pour it from a can into a container with a spray bottle. During work, you need to protect the respiratory tract with a respirator, and hands with gloves. The varnish is harmless, but it will be problematic to wash off it.
How to apply?
Before starting repair work, you need to prepare all materials and tools, calculating their consumption. It is better to purchase materials with a small margin, since it is difficult for non-professionals to correctly calculate the application of the product to the work surface. A common mistake – the more the better. This almost does not affect the quality of the finish, but the cost of materials increases significantly.
The method of application is determined by the type of product. The correct use of them in layers is as follows:
- Using a medium-sized paintbrush, gradually pouring from the general container into the working container, cover the wall with two thin layers of primer. Dry the first coat before applying the second. The brush can be used with natural bristles. It is more convenient, but the expense will be higher. Synthetic brush is less comfortable, but does not absorb dirt.
- If there is a need to level the wall and interrupt the dark color, two layers of white putty mortar are applied alternately with a spatula. When the filler is dry, the wall must be sanded or hand-sanded with fine sandpaper to a relatively smooth finish. Apply a thin layer of transparent primer on top.
- Application of paint in 1-2 layers. For even application of paint, it is convenient to use a wide fleece roller rather than a brush, which can leave streaks. You need to work quickly, leveling the layers of paint with pressing the roller.
- Dried paint can be treated with a fungus and germ repellent.
- The actual application of the liquid wallpaper mixture. The mass is applied in portions to the work surface and leveled with a transparent grater. It is important to process joints near walls, door frames, baseboards and ceilings.
- The protective varnish from a spray can is sprayed onto the dry wall as a finishing step. The can should be held in an outstretched hand, at a distance of about 30 cm from the wall. Move it from top to bottom without staying in one area.
For information on how to apply liquid wallpaper on the wall, see the next video..
Drawings with liquid wallpaper
One of the indisputable advantages of liquid wallpaper is the ability to apply various patterns, designs and textured details. In modern design, these techniques are very popular, especially in cases where it is necessary to imitate stucco molding, create 3D pictures with a background that visually increase the space, and decorate a children’s room..
When we decorate the wall with liquid wallpaper, it is important to remember that the possibilities are practically unlimited.. There are up to 150 possible finishes and different technologies for mixing colors.
Turning to professionals, you can get wallpaper with imitation brick or marble in the living room, voluminous fairy tales in the children’s room, stucco in the bedroom.
But the process of creating patterns using liquid wallpaper is complex and time consuming. It cannot be performed without prior preparation, therefore, people who do not have great artistic skills and talents are advised to practice on separate small formats. For example, on a fiberboard sheet.
It must be prepared for work, primed in 1 layer, and then show imagination and master the technology. Sketches and the creation of stencils will come to the rescue. Ready-made stencils can be bought in stores with goods for repair.. They don’t have to be for liquid wallpaper.. You can purchase stencils for other purposes and adapt to your needs..
Those who are confident in their artistic abilities can get started right away.
To apply a drawing, you need:
- choose a picture, draw a sketch on paper, then transfer it to the work surface with a simple pencil. Remove extra lines;
- determine the number of colors used in the picture, and choose the corresponding colors to add to the wallpaper;
- prepare paper pulp at the rate of 1 liter of cellulose per 5 liters of water is equal to 4 square meters of the treated surface. When the mass is infused for 3-5 hours, mix it and divide it into several containers according to the number of flowers in the picture. The less color is used, the less capacity and volume of battles. For 1 sq. m you need from 1.25 to 1.5 kg of wallpaper;
- add colors and the necessary decorative components to the containers. Stir and let it brew until fully cooked, then add gypsum to each container just before using it;
- mark on the sketch what color the details should be. Having mixed the mass with gypsum, immediately finish all the parts that have this color. For large surfaces it is convenient to use a transparent trapezoid grater, for small ones – a lancet-shaped spatula;
- fill the picture color by color and align the joints with a trowel or wallpaper roller. Small volumetric details provided in the picture can be molded by hand, like from plasticine.
For a simplified version of drawing, use stencil. The stencil is placed on the wall and fixed firmly with mounting tape. If the color of the pattern is only one, the base and color layer of the wallpaper is applied, if there are two, the number of layers is increased to three, and so on..
Types of stencils for liquid wallpaper:
- for a single color pattern. This is a large-sized template that involves the application of a repeating pattern in one contrasting color. The easiest to use;
- anti-stencil. It is also intended for creating drawings in bicolor, but here the emphasis is not on convex details, but on those deepened into the base color, since everything that is not covered with a stencil is covered with wallpaper. The result is a “backlit” effect;
- multicolor. Consists of several blanks, which are alternately applied to the wall and filled with material. With its help, complex full-fledged drawings are created;
- volume. Allows you to make an accent piece more convex and voluminous. Wallpaper or plaster is used in several layers. Such stencils are not made from cardboard, but from cork or foam..
Spectacular examples in the interior
Liquid wallpaper provides a wide scope for the embodiment of design ideas and bold ideas for interior decoration. With their help, you can create coatings of various colors, textures and decor. As a work surface, not only walls are suitable, but also the ceiling, from the toilet to the living room.
Volumetric drawings on the theme of fairy tales and cartoons in children’s rooms are relevant.
The simplest are considered to be plain wallpaper in calm tones for classic and minimalistic interiors: white, beige, ivory, crème brulee, peach, pistachio, blue, light gray. Imitation of stucco molding and volumetric details helps to give them a more luxurious look..
A bright design is also possible with the addition of contrasting pigments: silk and woolen threads, fragments of mica, marble chips, large glitter particles. Wallpaper looks beautiful with sparkles to match or one or two tones brighter, with golden and silver elements.
Liquid wallpaper decoration combines favorably with other materials: silk upholstery, metal panels, mirrored, chrome and glass surfaces, glossy and matte plastic parts. Decor with liquid wallpaper makes it possible to visually change the boundaries of the room.
So, decorating the walls and ceiling with white wallpaper will make the room brighter and larger, and the contrasting decoration of one wall with a different color will help bring it closer to the cherished square shape..