A first for life and pups! A guest post!

This post is long overdue (because I’m slow), so without further ado, here is a compelling and instructive post from the GAOOG on her recent experience with the coolest of the cool, removable wallpaper.

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Hello all!! Thank you to the brilliant, and my favorite, designer, Kate, for inviting me to do a guest post on her blog!!

This post has been a long-time coming as this DIY project unfortunately took much longer than it should have to finish. Should you decide to take on a project like it, I hope my mistakes make your experience much easier!

We live in a two-bedroom apartment that was built in 1982, a real pinnacle moment in time for design, wouldn’t you agree? Sigh. So much brass and mirrored-glass. Because we rent, any changes I make have to be temporary and cannot cause damage. I’ve been able to do a modicum of updating through furniture, art and organization, but there are some things that require a lot more magic (see: all that brass and mirrored glass). One of the biggest sources of my frustration was a wet bar in our living room. It had a smoky mirror behind it and smoky glass shelves. It was rather dark and depressing and the uselessly dim recessed light above it did not help.

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I googled options for covering up mirrored walls, and scoured Houzz, Apartment Therapy and various sites that might address this issue. Painting the glass wasn’t an option because I needed something removable. I considered chalkboard tiles but found nothing that was suitable and, let’s be honest, they wouldn’t have looked right with the tiles and the wet bar.

I sought the help of my previously-mentioned favorite design expert, Kate. She suggested removable wallpaper, and sent me to Chasing Paper! Genius! Thank you, Kate! Within hours I’d ordered an adorable pattern that would go swimmingly with the 80’s wet bar! Huh. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.

Now, here’s where things get sticky. Pun intended. 🙂

My first mistake: I did the math wrong and ordered only two sheets, when in fact I needed three. This is very much a me-mistake and I’m confident none of you would do the same. I soon realized my error and ordered the third. Obviously I was annoyed with myself because I unnecessarily paid twice for shipping, but this is not worth getting hung up on. Moving on.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally had all three sheets! Hooray!

That’s when we realized what our next hurdle would be – cutting the paper to size. Now, when putting it up on walls most people clearly just stick it up and then once it’s up, cut it. JB thought we could do that, too, but we didn’t want to stick it up without knowing if that would work, and we could not risk cutting the glass. We tried it once, using the brackets for leverage, but getting the X-acto knife through both the wallpaper and the removable backing, while also getting a nice clean line, proved to be a nightmare. I suggested that we instead cut the two-ply sheet with a piece of cardboard underneath it. That way the knife would have something to stick through and we’d have better leverage on the floor. JB was hesitant, but we tried it and lo and behold! It worked beautifully!

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As you see in the photo, we used the glass shelves to make sure that we cut straight. They were weighted and the perfect length so, win-win. Once we got the first strip cut, we faced our next hurdle, sticking the piece up on the mirror. I hadn’t realized how challenging this could be because the Chasing Paper video made it seem so delightfully simple! Lies. Sticking it up on the mirror and getting it to line up right without bubbling was neither delightful, nor simple. Our first few attempts were disastrous. JB held the top of the paper as taut as possible while I tried to smooth it on the mirror from the bottom up. No matter what, the paper bubbled. I wished we had a tool like a cake-batter scraper. Wait! Why not use a cake-batter scraper? I grabbed our rubber dish scraper (clean, of course) and used it to smooth out the bubbles little by little. It worked like a charm! Though all of our arms were exhausted by the end.

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We worked our way through the right side piece in the same fashion. We then sadly realized our middle piece was cut wrong; the pattern didn’t match up. Alas. We’d have to order yet another piece. Ugh. More shipping costs. In the meantime we still were able to cut the top side pieces to match, so we went ahead and did that. We’d at least had the forethought to hide the seam under the top shelf so we had a little leeway with the matchup of the patterns if we needed. Luckily those two pieces matched nicely and went up easily because they were so small. Finally we got something right!

Next, we waited. Again.

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By the time the piece arrived, the wait had actually ended up being a welcome one. I think we needed a breather — for the sake of our marriage, as well as our arms. When the piece arrived, we laid it out, brought out the cardboard and got to cutting. As this piece was the biggest and required intense matching up on both sides, it proved to be the hardest to get up. It was difficult to get it aligned and to keep it straight all the way to the top. It tended to veer off course easily and, once again, keeping out those damn bubbles was trying! Sadly, it took us about three times and I had no new tricks to try. In the end, slow and steady won the race. That, and a lot of finagling with the dish scraper.

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The small top, middle portion was our last bit and not terribly hard due to its size. Voila! Three weeks and some change after the idea began … we finally had a beautiful, bright, mirror-less wet bar!!!

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Now, if only I could paint those tiles, and the cabinets, and change the fixture… Someday!

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3 Responses to “A first for life and pups! A guest post!”


  1. 1 Mary Lloyd October 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    That is remarkable. Thank you for sharing.

  2. 2 kateandgracie October 20, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    GAOOG, I’m wondering if a credit card would work in lieu of a scraper. Thoughts? That’s what I’ve used on removable decals.

  3. 3 Terry October 26, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    I didn’t realize this lovely guest post has been waiting for my reading pleasure! You guys did a terrific job! I remember putting up a simple wallpaper border in Maggie’s room –I was 8.5 months pregnant, but how hard could it be? Quite the strain on the old marriage….Thanks for a nice peek into your home life!


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