3 Ways to Use Leftover Wallpaper

3 Ways to Use Leftover Wallpaper

I do a little bit of repair work on the weekends to keep up with my hobby of building stuff and to justify my love for expensive microbrews. On one of these jobs I tossed up about 3 rooms worth of plain wallpaper and since they sell rolls in pairs, I had this leftover bit with no real way to use it.

So it sat, and sat, and sat in my garage. For over 2 years the usefulness of the wallpaper was limited to a good house for the stray mouse and spider. Finally, sick of seeing the stupid thing, I made a vow, by the end of the month I’d be rid of it without wasting it. Here are the three ways I found it to be genuinely useful out of the dozen or so things I tried.

1) Monitoring the Use of Tools

I’ve got a teen that loves to play with construction. I’d never try and curb this enthusiasm, since building myself skateboard jumps in elementary school with my friend James basically got me hooked on woodworking. However, there are just a few things that I don’t want my kid using unsupervised, the most important, in my opinion, is the table saw.

My saw is adjustable in a myriad of ways, and can be easily converted to a router at any time. Aside from the free-swing capability of the blade or bit, it has a high revolving rate. Combine this awesome tool with my love of routing freehand, and you have a very powerful, very capable tool with most of its safety features disabled.

To make sure that I’m the only one using the saw, I just hid the wallpaper roll in my locked chest, and every time I’m finished using the saw, I just glue a small strip of wallpaper on the side of the saw blade. Since the pattern would be nearly impossible for my son to recreate, and it gets worn off nearly immediately while using the saw, it is an easy way to discourage unsupervised table saw use.

2) Fast and Simple Bookmark Gifts

My son actually showed me this possibility. He wanted to impress a girl at school that he had been talking to with his crafting skills, and he learned that she loved to read.

Taking a small amount of wallpaper, a hole punch, and some interesting thread, he made a really awesome bookmark in the shape of a vampire for her. (She was reading a book from the Twilight series.) I never heard how that ended up working out for him, which usually is a good sign for him.

For more adult purposes, I’ve learned how to use this small trick to get my books back. I have a couple of good friends that read the same books with me. We each get a book, and then mail them to one another to read. Once all three are read, we meet up for some beer and a discussion. If there were a book I purchased that I really wanted back, I would create a simple bookmark for it out of the wallpaper that asked anyone borrowing the book to send it back to me. Try it; you’ll be surprised how effective it is. I’ve gotten nearly all of the books back that I have done this for.

3) Quickly Surface your Work Bench

In my workshop, the workbench is the alpha AND the omega. Every single project starts and is finished on it, from the planning and measurements all the way to the final sanding and finishing.

Since it holds a place of such honor in my garage, I make every attempt to keep it in decent condition. However, I refuse to look around for a notepad or some newspaper when I need to record some measurements or put a quick coat of primer on something.

I prefer to just use the surface at all times. Need to start a hole for a screw? Nail it straight into the workbench and wrench that thing out. Want to test the threads of a new bit before you get to the good wood? Drill the workbench. However, if every measurement I recorded and every color I’ve ever sprayed ended up on the bench, my wife would never stand to look at it every day.

The solution was simple and brilliant. A friend was over to sand and repaint an outside light fixture to protect it from further rusting. He saw that I was about to go outside to spray paint, and saw the roll of wallpaper. We put two and two together and now the roll is used as a surface to paint and write on for every project of that sort.

Craft Bonus: My son sometimes likes to keep the paper afterward because he thinks that the random numbers and equations all over the sheet mixed with holes from nails and colors from the paint makes it artistic. He then uses some leftover (or a length of wallpaper border) to create a frame of sorts. At the very least it is an interesting way to document the process.

1 Comment

  1. one
    Comment by Hamza@bathroom remodeling los angeles: Nov 19, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    I didn’t knew earlier that leftover wallpaper can be used in so many ways.But I think the reason is that I also didn’t had 3 rooms worth of wallpaper.After all when you have a thing in such abundance only then you can experiment on how to use it in non-conventional ways

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