Papering over the cracks.

Lining paper…
What a boring subject for this blog!
Well, when I first joined the company, lining paper was as much in demand, it seemed, as white Matt!
We stocked thousands of rolls… all the grades too!
480, 600, 800 and 1000!
And that was it!
There was no 1200, 1400, 1700 or 2000.
Fibreliner? What? No, we had cotton backed lining to paper over the cracks.
Yes, paper with a criss cross scrim of cotton thread on the back!
Cross lining! That was hard work!
And Rex paste was the order of the day for the stickers.
And size: hot water size ( what an unbelievable stink! ) or cold water size.
And only 2 tub pastes: green top or red top.
Or Solvite.
Strong enough to hang a man over a shark infested pool with…?
Anyway, 480, 600, 800 cotton backed…all now gone…
Pastes? We have literally dozens of makes always in stock.
Size? BSE got rid of hot size in the 1990’s and it never came back!
So here we are all those years later and lining paper is still providing us with the proverbial silk purse to paint or paper on to.
I recently had a customer point out that a wallpaper he had to hang had see through parts in its design, the trick was to line the wall and then paint in the colour you wanted visible through this part…
And that got me thinking.
When I was young, (dark ages) one of the biggest reasons for the use of lining paper was as a base for specialist effects such as rag rolling or sponging.
When we were stripping out our Buckhurst Hill showroom to refurbish it, pulling down the wallpaper revealed a lovely rag rolled wall…all done on 800 lining by my old mate Gary Knight.
He worked here 30 years ago and taught me a lot about the trade.
We lost Gary a few weeks ago but it’s nice to know what what he did had lasted so long.
So I think my next project is going to be a recreation of that wall.
1000 lining, eggshell, scumble glaze, some colorant and a rag.
And certainty that no one else will ever have exactly what I make of it, only me.
I’ll post the finished job here later!

Happy decorating folks!

Be well.


Can you remember what colour I had?

Most of us decorate regularly.

Trouble is, for some, regularly means every five or six years!

Trends and fashions change and if you’re like me, memory often fails too!

But, if you’re trying to remember what paint you used as you’re not trying to keep up with fashion, just keep your house looking nice and want the same again, I suspect you’ll find the answer in that massive pile of old paint cans in the shed.

The rusty ones. Covered in spider webs. That got damp. With the faded labels. Hmm…

Ok. So. I’ll ask them in the paint shop. They know me. I’m always in there!

Well, a year ago, we finally entered the 21st century. We now have a system that can indeed, remember you! If you give us your details at the point of purchase we can store them and help out when needed.

But, I still use the most fail safe method I can think of!

When I finish painting, the very last thing I do is loosen the two screws holding the light switch to the wall, pull it away and underneath, on the wall, with an old fashioned pencil write: 

Ceiling: Benjamin Moore Aura Matte Neon Green 2031/10

Walls: Farrow And Ball, Estate Emulsion, Charlottes Locks, 

Trim: Little Green, Intelligent Eggshell, Purpleheart. 

(Go on, I dare you to Google my colour scheme!)

And the date I painted it. 

You can even repeat the process for wallpaper!

Problem solved.

It’s always there and when you decide on a colour or finish change, simply rub it out or paint over it and repeat!

The older I get, the harder it is to remember things, if I need to put something new in, I have to let something old out!

Little things like this make the difference!

Happy decorating folks.


Eco Echo…

I have been fortunate enough to have spent 35 years in the shop this year. 

During that time I’ve seen enormous changes to the paints we sell, the way they are sold and the headlines behind why we do what we do.

In 1987 we were still selling large quantities of lead based paint. It seems crazy now but for the next 3 years I was selling it more regularly for exterior paint work than anything that Dulux Weathershield or Sandtex ( a Blue Circle product back then! ) had to offer. Our primary lead brand was Magnet Paints. The argument that it outlasted other paints seemed to outweigh the dangers for many decorators.

I remember the ban in 1990, I had been told by many old decorators that it would never happen but here it was! I also remember at the time trying the new water based gloss from Dulux. It felt and looked like silk emulsion! Nonetheless, the eco revolution had begun and we were all going to be part of it. Over the next few years products such as Hammerite were “watered down” and slowly moved aside by more environmentally conscious replacements. At the time many seemed like short term stop gaps but the march went on.  But now, who would consider Hammerite when we have water based products from companies like Bedec, Bradite or Zinsser that perform just as well with none of the stink? We had the VOC legislation debacle in 2012, I’m sure we all remember Dulux Retail paints going yellow and the Watchdog TV grilling they got. However, we adapted and adopted…

So, this year we will see the removal of paints containing MEKO, an anti skinning agent in solvent based paints. However we’ve studied it, and now, less than 1% of what we sell is solvent based! Amazing! But the real revolution is happening as we not only get cleaner paints but paints that help clean the environment as they work. May I introduce Graphenstone to you? This is a fast forward to the future of decorating. Some of it actually absorbs CO2! We now have their new tinting system at our Buckhurst Hill shop and their full range of the most environmentally friendly paints in the world! Dare I say: the greenest white paint in the world! 

(Other colours are available 😂)

Please ask for a colour card or information leaflet or simply go to Graphenstone’s website and join the great clean up of the paint world!

Be well.