Part 3: Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

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Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

Hopefully by now you know about my (very large) Bespoke Wallpaper Project I had last year. And have read Part 1; about the design process and Part 2; about the bespoke wallpaper colour making.

Next on the list for this commission was to start the bespoke wallpaper screen printing stage.

However, before the fun part of bespoke wallpaper screen printing could begin, I first had to;

  • Print out the pattern imagery onto acetate.
  • Expose each pattern layer onto my screens.
  • Then roll out over 100 meters of plain wallpaper. Plus enough spare bespoke wallpaper panels, in case anything went wrong.
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

Each process stage took a few days to do. Overall one week if you condense down the time. Once these stages were complete, it was then time for the bespoke wallpaper screen printing to commence, which was in May for the late June/early July deadline.

Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

Screen printing wallpaper is a large task within itself. Not only do you need the strength to lift the very large screens up on the screen print bed, and clamp them in place. But pulling the ink through the screen time and time again is very tiring, especially when you’re printing hours at a time. (Although a great workout for the arms!)

Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

I also can’t simply screen print wallpaper in one of the spare rooms of my home, or in my small garage converted studio (sadly). Instead, I hire out a large vacuum screen print bed in Cambridge, where I have all the space I need to print repeats and rolls of wallpaper.

I always love a challenge, and I must admit, this bespoke wallpaper screen printing project has been my biggest challenge to date.

Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

Reasons being;

  • Having a three-layer screen print across 100 meters of wallpaper is very time consuming to print. Especially as I print (most of) my wallpapers by hand.
  • Any error made on any of the three layers for each panel, means a new panel would have to be started.*

*NB. All unused/faulty wallpaper is recycled, to guarantee no unnecessary waste.

  • Again because of the scale of this project, everything needs to be temperature controlled as well, to guarantee the screen print ink colour is consistent throughout.
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

It would be a nightmare to have the colour change in the ink as you walked through the hall, up the stairs and onto the landing.

Therefore each wallpaper panel after each screen printed bespoke colour layer, was closely examined with the first few printed panels, plus the original colour swatches. As well as being screen printed in a temperature controlled studio, to make sure everything was consistent.

Overall the bespoke wallpaper screen printing project took 6-8 weeks in total to screen print, from start to finish. I was not working on it everyday, but the days that I was would be a solid 8 hours of purely screen print. Which honestly was extremely tiring work. But it felt like a huge achievement when the final panel had been printed.

Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing
Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

The magic behind having bespoke wallpaper screen printed by hand, doesn’t stop there.

Once the wallpaper had all been screen printed, it was back to my studio where I then needed to heat set each wallpaper panel.

It may not seem a lot, but having to heat set (with an iron) over 80 panels of wallpaper, in a variety of lengths (the largest was nearly 4 meters long). As well as the spares I had to screen print, is not the most exciting part of the job.

In fact it was a very laborious and the least exciting of all the stages, because it takes hours. This is a process that cannot be rushed.

Needless to say that’s when catch up TV is ideal for with this type of work. During heat setting I was able to watch back-to-back episodes of ‘The Handmaid’s Tail’. Ironing the wallpaper meant I could look away from the program when certain scenes got a bit intense.

…If you’ve watched both of these series, you will know what I mean!

Whilst heat setting, I also check every single panel for any imperfections. With screen printing, the print is never perfect, or the same each time. Which is one of the beauties about this hand created process.

However, there are some areas that may need a little refining, or a touch up, because of the amount that has been screen printed. The way I do this, is literally taking a small brush, and paint over the areas with the original screen print ink.

It’s not something that needs to be done, but the perfectionist side of me wants to make sure every client’s wallpaper is the best it can be.

Once each of these steps is fully complete, the bespoke screen printed wallpaper is wrapped in and ready for delivery to my clients.

Bespoke Wallpaper Screen Printing

Stay tuned for the forth and final part of the Bespoke Wallpaper Project Blog where I reveal what the commission looks like in my client’s home.

In the meantime, get in touch if you’ve liked reading about this bespoke wallpaper screen printing project, and would like to know more.

Likewise, if you have any questions about creating a bespoke wallpaper project for your home. Or how my bespoke wallpaper project works for each individual client, please do get in contact.