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Ideas & How To's

Glossary

Accordion Folding- a technique of "booking" - usually used for long lengths of wallcovering, especially borders. After the paste is applied or the prepasted product is dipped in water, it is gently folded back and forth, paste to paste and then front to front - resembling an accordion. This allows the wallcovering to relax and it makes long strips easier to handle during installation.

Batik- a fabric dying process developed in Indonesia where wax is applied to areas where dye is to be resisted. Some wallcovering designs simulate this effect.

Block Printing- a printing technique where a design is carved into a wooden block. The raised area is coated with ink and prints the design on fabric or paper. It is similar to modern day "stamping".

Booking- it is necessary to book most wallcoverings after pasting unpasted product or wetting prepasted patterns. It allows the wallcovering to relax, which helps to prevent stretching and shrinking that can cause seams to show. To book a strip of wallcovering is to lay a pasted or a wet prepasted strip of wallcovering paste side up on a table or work surface. Fold the top half of the strip to the middle of the sheet, (paste to paste) and fold the bottom of the sheet to the middle (paste to paste) being careful not to crease the edges. Leave it to rest for the recommended amount of time (usually about 3 minutes). Then the strip is ready to hang.

Border- a narrow band of wallcovering used for decorative purposes, usually at ceiling height. It is also often used at chair-rail height in place of or in addition to wood molding and also as detail around windows and doors.

Charger- an over-sized decorative dish or platter. For home décor, they are usually available in one of two options for display: with a stand for tabletop or with a wall hanger.

Chinoiserie- a French term denoting oriental or Chinese design influence.

Choke- the background of a pattern also known as the "ground".

Colorways- the assortment of color options available for a specific pattern.

Dado- the lower section of an interior wall, often below a chair-rail.

Damask- a reversible fabric created by combining two weaves, twill and satin. In wallcovering, it is a style that simulates the fabric origin - it is usually monochromatic in color.

Decoupage- the art of decorating surfaces by applying cutouts of paper and coating with several layers of a clear finish such as varnish or lacquer.

Drop Match- a drop match design does not run in a straight line across the wall. Instead, it appears to run diagonally. In a half-drop match, the design is staggered, so that only every other strip is identical at the ceiling line. It takes two strips of wallcovering to complete the pattern horizontally.

Dye-lot- a set of numbers and /or letters given to a particular batch of wallcovering rolls printed at the same time. With every reprinting, a new dye-lot number (sometimes called the run number) is assigned. Slight color variances occur from print run to print run. It is important to ensure that all rolls of the same pattern have the same dye-lot number before beginning a job.

Étagère- a piece of furniture consisting of a set of open shelves for displaying small objects and sometimes having an enclosed cabinet as a base.

Faux- a French word for "imitation". In wallcovering, it usually applies to designs that imitate actual textures such as marble and wood.

Finial- a crowning ornament or detail, such as a decorative knob. Finials are most known as the decorative top piece of a lamp that secures the lampshade to the harp. They are also often used as the decorative end pieces on drapery rods and sometimes as a larger decorative object on their own.

Fleur de lis- a stylized version of the iris flower. Used often in heraldry and French designs.

Flexographic Printing- a machine printing process that utilizes rollers or cylinders with a flexible rubber-like surface that prints with the raised area, much like surface printing, but with much less ink. This means the ink dries quickly and allows the machine to run at high speed. The finished product has a very smooth finish with crisp detail and often resembles rotary screen printing.

Gravure Printing- a machine printing process often used for wallcovering. The copper printing rollers are engraved with a design and then plated with chrome for hardness. The engraved or recessed areas of the rollers pick up the ink and deposit it on the wallcovering surface. There is a separate roller for each color, and the depth of the engraving determines the strength of the color. This means that each roller or cylinder is capable of printing tones of that color. Gravure machinery usually allows up to eight printing rollers/cylinders which print the wallcovering as it passes through the machine. The machinery runs at high speed and the ink is applied and then runs through a dryer before the next color is printed. This process allows for very fine detail and reproduction of images with photo quality.

Ground- the background area of the wallcovering. Also called a "choke".

Hand Screen Printing- a printing process that uses flat screens. The printer uses a type of squeegee to manually force ink through the mesh onto the wallcovering. There is a different screen for each color in the design - all of the screens must be perfectly aligned for the application of each color so that the design comes together. Hand screen printing allows for a heavy coating of ink and a very rich appearance.

Harp- named for its harp-like shape, it is the metal "arch" that supports the lampshade by attaching to the "saddle" of a lamp.

Herringbone- a pattern made up of rows of parallel lines in which any two adjacent rows slope in opposite directions.

Houndstooth- a usually small broken-check pattern that is inspired by the textile weaves of the same name.

Jacquard- a fabric of intricate variegated weave or pattern including brocade, damask and tapestry. Jacquard wallcoverings simulate this effect.

Match- wallcovering patterns are printed in repeats known as straight match, drop match, and random match. The "match" refers to the place where the design matches at the seams. When ordering wallcovering, be sure to take the pattern repeat and match into consideration. For instance, a large repeat with a straight match will require more wallcovering than a small repeat with a drop match. A random match has the least waste factor, because no allowances need to be made for matching the pattern.

Moiré- a pattern with a wavy or watermarked appearance.

Paisley- woven or printed with colorful curved abstract figures of Persian origin.

Patina- an appearance or finish that has developed with age - often associated with the green film that forms on copper and bronze.

Railroading- the horizontal application of wallcoverings. This is sometimes used to create an unusual or striking effect - a stripe hung horizontally is a good example.

Repeat- the recurrence of the same motif or part of a motif in wallcovering and fabric designs.

Resin- a synthetic composite that can be molded into any form.

Resist Print- see "batik"

Rotary Screen Printing- a mechanized version of hand screen printing. This process uses hollow screen-mesh cylinders and squeegee blades located inside the cylinders that force the ink onto the wallcovering as it travels through a printing press. There is a separate screen for each color. Rotary screen printing allows for a heavy application of ink and a rich look - very similar to hand screen prints but at a lower cost.

Saddle- the pair of brackets found at the base of the socket of a lamp. It is used to connect the harp (which holds the lampshade) to the lamp.

Sconce- a bracketed lamp or candlestick that is designed to hang on the wall.

Single Switch- indicates a lamp that accepts a bulb with one wattage (level of brightness).

Stria- a type of stripe, usually consisting of very fine, irregularly spaced parallel lines that are often monochromatic in color.

Surface Printing- a mechanized form of block printing. Instead of using flat blocks, the design is engraved on rollers or cylinders. The raised area of the cylinder prints the ink, much like a rubber stamp. Most surface printing machines can print twelve colors, with each cylinder printing a different color. Surface printing is beautiful and very recognizable - the inks are thicker than most printing processes and often appear to be hand painted. This process adds an historical quality because it simulates the look of block printing - the oldest form of printing for wallcovering.

Three-Way Switch- indicates a lamp that accepts a bulb with thee different wattage levels (or levels of brightness).

Toile- the name comes from "Toile de Jouy" which is the fabric style that originated in the village of Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris. These designs typically resemble finely engraved copper etchings, use one color on a solid ground, and originally had a narrative element - such as a pastoral scene or motifs from classical mythology. Today, this technique can be used for any number of designs including floral trails, birds, or even palm trees.

Torchere- a lamp with the light directed upwards - usually a tall floor lamp, but can be smaller for table top use. It is also a tall ornamental stand for a candlestick or candelabra.

Trompe L'oeil- means to "fool the eye". Wallcoverings that utilize this technique include designs that use light and shadow to convince you that you are seeing a three-dimensional object. Some wallpaper designs that have been successful are those that simulate draped fabric, trees, bookshelves, moiré silks, and murals and accents that feature a window or door with a view.