Grasscloth – a practical decorating solution

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Our company has had a long association, and many experiences, with grasscloth. Here are some of the things we’ve learned:

Covers Textured Walls
Our first grasscloth shipment, received back in 1971, was evidence that grasscloth wallpaper was something different. Back then, the Japanese and Koreans packed grasscloth 25 bolts to the case, and those 3 foot long cases were hefty. Hefty has its advantages. Back in Oklahoma, where textured paint was popular with homebuilders, putting wallpaper onto textured walls was a painful process. First, you had to smooth the walls. That involved sanding, or knocking down the texture with a used brick, or first applying a liner paper. That meant time and toil. Voila – grasscloth. One application with this hefty, thick, and naturally textured wallpaper, and the painted texturing disappeared.

Please note that for purposes of covering textured walls, some grasscloths work better than others. The best at covering textured walls would be nubby with coarse grass.

lesson learned: textured walls could be papered with grasscloth

Repair Is Fairly Easy
One of our company’s early ventures was homebuilding. One day, while hurrying into new construction with a load of last minute hardware, the heavy solid core front door was briskly swung open, and since the door stops were not yet in place, the door knob went right into and through the already wallpapered, grassclothed entry wall.

This gaping hole, immediately in the front entry, was an eyesore to be fixed. First the sheetrock was patched. And while with many wallpapers, repairing previously hung wallpaper could be a problem, not so with grasscloth. By removing a horizontal band of grasscloth, a replacement strip was applied, and because of the many horizontal grass strands comprising grasscloth wallpaper, evidence of the splicing, once completed, was hidden from sight.

lesson learned: repairs are fairly easy with grasscloth

Blends In
Another early company venture was an import shop whose display wall shelving was sectioned by vertical posts. To distinguish the different sections, we used different colored grasscloths – green, blue, tan, etc. Rather than clashing, the muted tones of the various grasscloth colors worked well together.

lesson learned: natural grasscloth (even when dyed) is muted in tone, and tends to work well with a variety of colors

Hides Small Holes
Over the years we covered a lot of walls with grasscloth, and then we punctured those walls. We drove nails into them to hang racks, we stock pins into them to display bulletins, and we used picture hooks to hang pictures. When we moved the racks, took down the bulletins, and removed the pictures, the resultant holes were lost in the grasscloth texturing.

lesson learned: grasscloth works well for walls that receive small punctures

Can Be Waterproofed
People loved to put grasscloth in bathrooms, but grasscloth and moisture didn’t mix. Using the internet, we found a site that had tested waterproofing agents for marine applications. One of their best test subjects, and one that was readily available, was 3M’s Scotchgard. We conducted our own test by spraying a strip of grasscloth with Scotchgard,  and afterwards, water ran off our treated wallpaper like water off a duck’s back.

Believing it’s prudent to error on the side of caution, we would suggest three applications of Scotchgard.

lesson learned: protect grasscloth from moisture by using Scotchgard

Grasscloth, the environmentally friendly, easily adaptable, decorating enhancement, is also quite practical.

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