How To Reproduce Existing Wallpaper Designs

Wallpaper is a classic and nostalgic design element you can add to a home, office or conference room. Unfortunately, not every company which manufactures custom wallpaper stays in business, and consumers may be left without options for reproduction once wear and tear have taken their toll on a particular design which is no longer being produced.

However, there are modern solutions to this issue with the use of professional scanning and digital photography, which can be used to recreate old patterns and designs.

Getting Started

There are certain creative and technical considerations to be made to ensure an accurate reproduction.

Step One: Identify the “core pattern” of the design.

Case Study #1: Your wallpaper is built on a repeated pattern. For evaluation purposes, you will need a clear image of the pattern itself. This can be determined by finding elements which are repeated both vertically and horizontally, creating a square or rectangle around the repeatable area.

Core Design of a Wallpaper Pattern

Case Study #2: Your wallpaper is a large mural of artwork, a drawing or a photograph. This means the entire wallpaper must be captured at high resolution because there is no repeated pattern to build off and recreate.

Core Design of a Wallpaper Mural

Step Two: Once you have identified the core pattern, there are two ways to successfully digitize the pattern for printing.

Method #1: High Resolution Scanning

Man Operating a Professional Digital Scanner

This is the most recommended and professional method available for reproducing wallpaper. Professional-grade scanners are a standard for capturing images at the highest possible resolution without having to worry about lighting, angles or any of the considerations that come with digital photography. Professional scanning is also an excellent way to capture colors and ensure that they match accurately.

Given that original wallpaper material is required for this process, you will need to provide an actual sample of the wallpaper itself. This sample must include the entirety of the core design.

NOTE: For damaged or incomplete wallpaper swatches, ask your print shop if they provide restoration/recreation services.

Method #2: Digital Photography

Digital Camera Shooting a Wallpaper Pattern

This process requires the highest available resolution, which means you must use the maximum amount of pixels available to your camera. This is not a job we would recommend for a smart phone. You will want to use a professional grade DSLR camera, mounted on a tripod to achieve maximum clarity and detail. Ideally, you would hire a professional photographer for this project, as they are more experienced at addressing many of the issues that can arise.

You will want to ensure an even amount of lighting (without any reflection or glare) to capture all the colors and contrast. Diffused lighting is the most effective and one of the reasons you might hire a professional. Though you can also achieve great results if your room has sufficient windows and there is no direct sunlight. A cloudy day at high noon provides ideal lighting conditions.

Proper Camera Angles for Capturing Wallpaper

You will also want to place your camera is placed in perfect parallel to the wall, in order to eliminate any potential warping of the design based on perspective.

So which method is right for you?

We will always recommend high resolution scanning, but the method which will work best for you depends on a number of variables:

  • Budget
  • The complexity of the design (how fine are the lines/details?)
  • Your level of skill with a camera or access to a professional photographer

Seeking Professional Guidance

Many homeowners and decorators may have difficulty assessing these variables. This is why we recommend taking two sample photographs of your wallpaper:

  1. An image of the entire wall, in order to correctly identify core patterns.
  2. A close up image of the pattern itself, for assessment of detail.

These images are for evaluation purposes only, so a smart phone or consumer-grade digital camera are fine to use.

Once you send these images to a print shop, they should have no problem providing further instructions and guidance.

A Word on Wallpaper Covering Materials

Wallpaper coverings are available in a variety of finishes, textures and materials. We always recommend that you ask to see a “press proof” of your design and all cost involved before proceeding with final production in large quantities.

When contacting a print shop, be sure to include your two evaluation photos and also describe the texture, look and finish that you would like to achieve, as this will expedite and move the process along quickly.

Please Feel Free to Contact us With Any Questions

If you have any questions or would like to send us some samples, feel free to contact one of our project managers at inquiries@fineprintnyc.com. We are also available to take your call from 9:30AM-5:30PM EST at (212) 619-5446.


Guidance & Tips

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How to Prepare Wall Surfaces for Wallpaper InstallationOne of the most important yet neglected stages of wallpaper installation is the preparation of the wall itself.Continue Reading
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How to Design Files for Wallpaper PrintingA brief guide to wallpaper file preparation. Produce consistent, high quality murals, patterns and prints with this handy set of tips.Continue Reading
Place Order for Custom Samples12" x 12" Press Proofs Available in 4 finishing options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a minimum square footage?
Yes, we have 50 square feet minimum per order.
What are the most popular sizes?
The three most requested sizes are 100, 300 & 500 square feet.
What is the maximum width x height you can print per roll?
The maximum roll size width is 52 inches wide by 360 inches in length.
Can I see sample before printing my project?
Yes, you can order a press proof sample of your custom artwork. We offer four coating/finishing options: matte, gloss, semi-gloss and texture.  
Can I see a digital proof before final production?
Yes, our pre-press department will provide two rounds of digital proofs for approval prior to final print production. Please note, any additional digital proofs will be billed accordingly.
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