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Horizontal vs. Vertical Grasscloth Wallpaper

Joan Norton

Grasscloth wallpaper designs are typically available in horizontal and basket weave patterns. Bamboo, arrowroot, sisal, reed and many types of wild sea grasses are used to create the natural colors and textures of grasscloth wallpaper. Horizontal pattern placement reduces the natural tendency of the grass to fray. Basket-woven grasscloth is applied either vertically or horizontally.

Raffia Cloth

Hanging wallpaper.

Madagascar cloth raffia, rush cloth, rough weed and sisal are woven-grass wallpapers with three-dimensional texture created from broad-leaf plants. Madagascar cloth is woven in a basket weave pattern that may be placed horizontally or vertically. Its natural color range is light beige to dark brown but is often dyed pink, green or blue. Other rough-woven grasscloths are shades of creamy white, ivory, beige and dark brown.

Rush Cloth

Grasscloth made from rushes is often designed in basket weaves. Its cross-weaving provides extra strength. Basket weaves are used in high-traffic areas of the house because they do not fray as easily as one-way weaves. The natural fibers in one-way weaves may shred slightly over time. Grasscloth is never uniform in design or color. It is not designed to be matched exactly.

Application Techniques

Many grasscloth wallpapers have a thin, absorbent, rice-paper backing that shows old paint or glue spots from the wall underneath. The wall should be cleaned well and painted with primer before wallpaper is applied. Light, thin, grasscloth papers need a thin sizing material such as potato or wheat starch. Grass fibers are best cut with very sharp scissors to achieve a clean edge. Sharp scissors also help the fine detailed cutting needed around crown molding and banister edges.

Horizontal Grain

Grasscloth wallpapers bend easily along their horizontal grains. To bend the paper around a wall corner, spray it lightly and allow the misted water to soak in briefly. Do not allow grasscloth to be wetted for longer than a minute or two because it will separate from its backing. Coarser grained reeds and grasses do not bend. Dry grass may snap off easily in an attempt to bend it.