How To Reproduce Existing Wallpaper Designs

Vintage wallpaper is a classic design element that instantly adds nostalgia and atmosphere to any home, office, or workspace. Unfortunately, not every company that manufactures custom wallpaper stays in business, leaving consumers without options when wear and tear take their toll and the discontinued wallpaper needs replacement.

However, thanks to professional wallpaper scanning, photography and digital printing, modern solutions exist that successfully recreate patterns which are difficult or impossible to find on the market.

Getting Started

To ensure an accurate wallpaper reproduction, certain creative and technical considerations are essential.

Fine Print NYC | Excellence in PrintingRequest an EstimateCommitment to Superior Quality and Outstanding Customer Service with Real, Personalized Interactions

Step One: Identify the “Core Pattern” of the Design

Is your wallpaper a repeated pattern? If so, replicating the roll will require a full scan of the “design repeat”. Choose any part of the design as a starting point, but aim to provide your designer with enough visual content for a seamless copy.

Case Study #1: Classic Repeated Pattern Wallpaper

For an precise evaluation, your printshop will need to see a clear and complete image of the core pattern. This is attained by finding elements repeated both vertically and horizontally, creating a square or rectangle around the repeatable area.

Core Design of a Wallpaper Pattern

Capturing the entire design is crucial for (A) Getting an accurate price quote and (B) Creating a faithful reproduction. When dealing with severely damaged or missing patterns, an artist may need to recreate parts of the design from scratch.

Note: Be aware of patterns with a “drop” feature. This refers to a design where each consecutive horizontal repeat is slightly offset vertically, resulting in a step-repeat or staggered checkerboard effect. Identifying this pattern early on can save a lot of time and costs associated with scanning your wallpaper.

Case Study #2: Panoramic Wall Mural

For murals without a repeated pattern, the “core pattern” is basically the entire wall. Scanning a sample is impractical; instead, the wall must be professionally photographed, considering angle, camera quality, and lighting to ensure crisp details and uniformity of color and contrast.

Core Design of a Wallpaper Mural

Step Two: Digitize Your Wallpaper

Method #1: High-Resolution Scanning

Man Operating a Professional Digital Scanner

This is the most recommended method for reproducing wallpaper. Professional-grade scanners capture images at the highest resolution, eliminating concerns about lighting and angles associated with digital photography.

Professional scanning captures fine details and textures that cameras might miss, including fabric textures and embossing, adding character to the design. You’ll need to provide an actual wallpaper sample, or if incomplete, a high-resolution photograph of the remaining panels.

Method #2: Digital Photography

Digital Camera Shooting a Wallpaper Pattern

This method requires the highest resolution possible. Smartphones are useful for assessing a project but are not advisable for producing print-ready artwork. We recommend using a professional-grade DSLR camera with maximum resolution settings on a tripod for maximum clarity. Hiring a professional photographer can address issues like lighting and angle, but a DIY approach can also work with careful attention to lighting and camera placement.

The Importance of Lighting in Replicating Wallpaper

Comparison of lighting environments and how they affect the clarity of wallpaper patterns

When capturing wallpaper with a camera, lighting will be a primary concern as a loss of details and contrast often occurs in shaded areas. Diffused and uniform lighting is most effective, and one of the top reasons it may be worth hiring a professional with their own lighting equipment. For DIY photography, you can also achieve great results if your room has sufficient windows and there is no direct sunlight.

PRO TIP: A cloudy day at high noon provides the most ideal lighting conditions. Avoid taking any pictures with direct sunlight on your pattern.

Avoiding Distortions with Good Placement

Proper Camera Angles for Capturing Wallpaper

Ensure the camera is parallel to the wall and facing directly ahead. This helps to avoid both perspective warping and the blur that often occurs based on the camera’s distance from the target.

PRO TIP: For interior shots, a 16-35mm lens is recommended; for smaller sections, 35-200mm lenses are suitable.

Fine Print NYC | Excellence in PrintingRequest an EstimateCommitment to Superior Quality and Outstanding Customer Service with Real, Personalized Interactions

Choosing the Appropriate Methods For Wallpaper Replication

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

  • Budget (both time and monetary cost)
  • Repeat Patterns vs Panoramic Murals
  • Design complexity and intricacy
  • Photography skills or access to a professional
  • Physical condition of the existing wallpaper

Seeking Professional Wallpaper Assessment

To get an accurate quote for your wallpaper replication, it is advisable to take two daytime sample photographs:

  • Image #1: Shot of the entire wall to identify core patterns.
  • Image #2: A close-up of the pattern, to assess colors and the level of detail.

These images are for evaluation purposes, so a smartphone or consumer-grade camera should be sufficient to provide an assessment and estimate for reprinting your wallpaper

A Word on Wallpaper Covering Materials

Photo of a Selection of Vintage Wallpapers

Printable wallcoverings come in various finishes, textures, and materials. The finish and quality of these materials can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. Always request a “press proof” before final production.

When contacting a print shop, include your evaluation photos and describe the desired texture, look, and finish to expedite the process.

About Pricing

The cost of duplicating wallpaper is assessed based on characteristics which are unique to each project:

Digital Recreation of Old or Out of Stock Wallpapers

Photo of a Person Designing Wallpaper on a Computer

This service includes scanning, retouching, and illustrating to create a printable file. Costs vary based on the state of the original wallpaper, completeness of the sample, color matching needs, number of colors, and design complexity.

Due to the numerous factors involved in each wallpaper design you will need to consult a printshop directly to determine the scope and complexity of attaining your wallpaper replica.

The cost of this process is determined by:

  • State of the Original Wallpaper: Does it need a lot of retouching?
  • Completeness of the Sample: Are there areas missing? An artist may need to render them by hand.
  • Color Accuracy: How close does it need to be? It can be more time consuming to match an existing wall than print a new one from scratch.
  • Number of Colors: A designer will need to trace and isolate each one, adding time to the design budget.
  • Design Complexity: Is your core pattern large or contain lots of details? You may require higher resolution scans.

Wallpaper Matching & Printing

Photo of Wallpaper Sample with Color Matching Chips

Consider purchasing a sample or “press proof”. This is when your design is printed at actual size on the same exact material, so you get an accurate preview of what your final rolls will look like.

If color matching is critical for your project, especially for historic wallpaper replicas there’s a strong possibility that multiple rounds of samples may need to be purchased. Expectations on timing and cost should be adjusted accordingly. Letting the colors have some wiggle room definitely expedites projects and keeps the cost down.

NOTE: Digital printers using CMYK and UV inks might not perfectly match certain colors, especially metallic/solid inks or exotic pigments.

Total Pricing Variables

Photo of a Calculator on Architectural Blueprints

Square Footage: In our experience 100-150 square feet is about the average requested size. If you don’t know what your area is, you can get it simply by multiplying the width of a wall (in feet) by its height. Feel free to use our free Wallpaper Calculator and get a total measurement of all your walls.

Number of colors: As we mentioned earlier, the complexity of your project is directly tied to the number of colors that appear in your pattern. The necessity to print samples and provide small palettes of options adds to production time and material cost and will be factored into your estimate accordingly.

Material/Stock: Most print shops will offer traditional wallcoverings with lots of textures/effects. These typically are installed in a traditional fashion using a special paste. A more economic and speedy option is “peel and stick” wallpaper, which comes with its own adhesive backing.

Printing Method: In the case where you are not satisfied with the results of a digital press, there are other options, including screenblock printing, which can more faithfully reproduce certain designs. These methods are time-consuming, costly, and beyond our area of expertise.

Advantages of Digital Reproduction & Printing

Digital layout allows replicated wallpaper rolls to be tailored for each space, ensuring a perfect fit, easier installation, along with reduced waste & cost. For step repeat patterns, your installer will no longer need to measure each vertical drop since these panels are designed for easy, side-by-side installation.

Digital Printing is also far more time & cost effective for replication as opposed to more traditional methods like custom block printing, which are more elaborate and time consuming processes which demand a very special expertise.

Yet another advantage is the longevity of digital artwork. Simply store your file in a backup service like Dropbox or Google Drive. It will be easy for you to send out if you ever need a reprint of your wall. We’ve also had instances of homeowners breaking down walls or expanding the footprint of their home. In this scenario, being able to order more rolls makes life a lot easier.

Disadvantages of Digital Printing

As mentioned earlier, matching of certain inks and colors may not be possible with the digital CMYK process and inks. Deeply saturated hues, metallics, fluorescents, etc can only be approximated.

Traditional wallpaper printing methods often leave thick layers of paint which provide additional texture. Since digital printing relies on the paper absorbing all the ink, rather than sitting on top of it in a thick layer, this effect is not achievable

Limitations on the types of materials you can print on. Wallcoverings for digital printing must be specially manufactured for this purpose, whereas traditional screen or block printing can be applied to almost any material, including paper.

We’ve found these cases to be very rare, but they are worth mentioning if you find yourself in the market for reproducing old specialty wallpapers for a historic renovation project.

Our Experience

Photo of 1940s wallpaper mural with asian decor

Built on decades of printing knowledge, and a love of history and conservation, wallpaper reproduction has become our most popular service by far. When ebay, craigslist and all the fruitless internet searches have exhausted the hope of the people, Fine Print NYC is the #1 place they turn to for reprinting wallpapers which are discontinued, out-of-print or damaged beyond repair.

This is what we do all day, every day. And we love it! 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.

Fine Print NYC | Excellence in PrintingRequest an EstimateCommitment to Superior Quality and Outstanding Customer Service with Real, Personalized Interactions

About the Author

Steven Garcia is a multimedia artist & graphic illustrator from Brooklyn, New York. With an extensive background in fine art and history, Steven currently oversees prepress operations at Fine Print’s Restoration Department - industry leader in digital recovery of rare, damaged or lost art. He also curates and performs restorations for History101.nyc, the internet’s #1 source for rare & vintage NYC images. When he’s not creating or repairing graphics, he’s traveling the world, renovating properties and recording music.

About Fine Print

We're a NYC Print Shop & Design Firm Devoted to the art of Custom Wallpaper and the Replication of Vintage Wallpapers.

Related Products

The #1 Independent Wallpaper Printing & Design Shop in New York

Request Estimate • Call us at (212) 619-5446

Frequently Asked Questions

Reproducing Discontinued Wallpaper Patterns

Can Fine Print reproduce discontinued wallpaper designs?

Absolutely, we are industry leaders specializing in the replication of discontinued or rare wallpaper designs. Our team of skilled artisans and cutting-edge digital printing technology enables us to recreate intricate patterns, textures, and colors with remarkable precision. Whether you have a sample of the original wallpaper or just a snapshot of the design, we can bring it back to life.

Our expertise extends beyond mere replication; we can also enhance the durability and quality of the wallpaper, ensuring it meets contemporary standards while preserving the authenticity of the original design. So, if you're looking to resurrect a discontinued wallpaper, trust Fine Print to deliver a faithful reproduction that seamlessly integrates into the legacy of your space.

What process does Fine Print use to replicate rare or out-of-print wallpaper patterns?

We use a combination of photography, professional scanning, digital restoration and large format inkjet printing services as a toolset, but the "secret ingredient" in our process are the artists and craftsmen who bring their mastery yand creativity to every facet of a project regardless of era, style or intricacy.

The first step is to obtain a digitized copy of your wallpaper. This can be accomplished with digital photography or high resolution oversized scanning (recommended for maximum detail)

Once the wallpaper has been digitized, our graphic designers and illustrators inspect it carefully for defects, color inconsistencies, debris, damage or even the slightest hint of wear as the main goal is to restore the pattern to its original glory.

Once the scan has been retouched, you will receive a digital preview before deciding to order a small printed sample that can provide a an accurate preview of your wallpaper's look and feel.

When the quality, colors and material of the sample match your expectations, you can order as much wallpaper as you like. It comes in rolls measuring 54" wide by 360" long, but can also be cut into custom panels (free of charge) to match your ceiling height.

How accurate is the color matching for reproducing vintage wallpaper designs?

For maximum accuracy, we work almost exclusively with original samples. We believe that contact and proximity to the source material is fundamental for conservation. We have multiple team leaders involved in the color matching process, with each of them inspecting the sample in the same setting under various lighting conditions. Once the agree on a match to attain a consensus and ensure consistency across roll production. We run test prints daily so there isn't any fading or drift throughout this process. It's how we make sure each and every one of your rolls or panels are identical and will appear seamless on your walls.

Also worth noting: the more modern your wallpaper original is, the more likely its color can be matched accurately. Duplicating the color of an antique wallpaper with older, out-of-print inks can pose challenges when put through a 4-color CMYK printing process. Because of this limitation, there are certain color families which can be approximated, but not perfectly replicated. The same can be said for metallic, fluorescent or other specialty inks.

To expedite the matching process, we recommend the use of colorbook standards, such as: Pantone, Benjamin Moore, RAL, etc. We highly recommend observing the color at different times of the day, under different lighting conditions in the installation area. Get a second, or third opinion if you can. Color has an tricky way of playing with one's perceptions under certain conditions, so the more perspective you get, the better.

We are always honest and up-front with our clients about how close a match they can expect. Decades of experience have taught us a lot about our equipment, how far it can be stretched, and the colors within our reach. It rarely happens that we can't get a "close enough" match on a given hue, but it is a possibility one should be aware of.

Can Fine Print recreate wallpaper from damaged or partially lost patterns?

Repairing damaged wallpapers is one of our most requested specialties. We remove all rips, tears, scratches, mold, stains, discoloration, fading, dust, signs of wear from the scanned original. The idea here is to turn your sample into a mint-condition print, untouched by time.

Beyond cleanup and repair, we paint, illustrate, and digitally re-render any missing portions of your wallpaper. We use the original as a reference, along with wallpapers of similar period/style in order to create an authentic, seamless integration, as close as humanly possible to the original.

What quality of image or sample is needed to replicate a discontinued wallpaper design?

You always want the highest resolution possible, especially for intricate or highly detailed patterns. As an example we professionally scan wallpaper at 500-1000dpi. 300dpi is generally recognized as the industry standard for phtographic clarity, however photowalls can be printed at resolutions as low as 150dpi depending on their content, contrast and detail level. Our specialists will let you know right away how viable your artwork is.

If you are photographing your own wallpaper, then you definitely want a professional grade DSLR style camera, set to maximum resolution and stabilized on a tripod. Extra care should be taken to establish uniform, diffuse lighting for a consistent tone and color throughout the piece. For walls wider than a square, multiple shots will likely need to be taken.

Between both methods we always recommend professional scanning as the superior option for its consistent lighting, uniform colors and extra details we are able to capture.

How does Fine Print ensure the texture and feel of the original wallpaper is replicated?

With over 30 materials to choose from, we have an ample array of textures, including Plaster, Canvas, Paper, Leather, Grasscloth, metallics and many more.

While we cannot guarantee a 1-for-1, perfect match to your existing wallpaper, we find that in most cases we're able to get close enough to the original that very close inspection is required to see the difference. In any case, you can order a small printed sample of your wallpaper and make the comparison for yourself before you decide to move forward with your final order.

Technical Aspects of Wallpaper Reproduction

What technology is used for high-fidelity reproduction of wallpaper patterns?

Our oversized scanners can scan up to 1000dpi, providing crystal clear replica of your original which is so well captured you can ctually increase its scale and size without any noticeable loss in quality.

On the software side we use a combination of Adobe Photoshop for sample repair, and Illustrator for color separation and recreation of missing artwork when necessary.

Our printing press outputs high definition graphics at a whopping 1200dpi. At this resolution, the tiniest details, right down to a human hair can be printed with photographic clarity.

The inks we use also play a large part in our process. They are photosensitive inks which are simultaneously cured and dried by an ultraviolet lamp as the wallpaper is printed. This makes sure that the colors are locked in and will resist any smudging or fading

How do you handle color variations in replicating aged or faded wallpapers?

Replicating colors on aged or faded patterns presents a unique pattern that requires a certain level of experience and creativity. When replacing only a small section of a wall, extra work is required to ensure that the scan matches the level of fade on the wall. In cases where a historical remodel wants to completely replace the old wallpaper, then more creative license can be taken to liven up the colors.

Another service we offer is the creation of custom color variations based on existing designs. Sometimes a client will absolutely love everything about their wallpaper, but want one or two colors to be tweaked in order to match other elements of their decor. Ask our specialists about recreating wallpapers as colorways and they will know exactly whe you need.

Are there any limitations I should know about in regards to full color digital printing of wallpaper replicas?

Limitations vary based on the scope of the project and nature of the original sample. We will let you know from the first time you send us a preview of the wallpaper if it will face any challenges in its replication.

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest limitations of our digital process comes from the ink. While it is some of the most vivid and durable ink on the market, it is not magical or able to match the millions of combinations of pigments and tones from older processes. Metallic inks, fluorescent or strongly saturated colors can prove difficult, if not impossible to match.

Embossed wallpapers such as Anaglypta, are another example of something we cannot provide in our shop. We are a full color, large format digital printshop so any specialty processes such as embossing, debossing, foil stamping, letterpress or thermography are not within our capabilities.

Can Fine Print replicate wallpapers that have intricate or hand-painted designs?

Intricate work is where we really shine. From elaborate victorian damasks, to hand painted asian landscapes, our artists are well versed and experienced in all styles and motifs of wallpaper decor.

This work can indeed be time consuming and plays a large factor in the price of recreating your wallpaper. If you send us a quick snapshot of your original we will let you know the exact scope, timeline and cost of your unique project.

Legal and Copyright Considerations

Are there any copyright issues involved in replicating discontinued wallpaper designs?

Discontinued prints are often available to the public domain and free to reproduce. However there are cases where an active design house or printshop simply ceases production and reserves the rights to the artwork. If the producer of your sample is still in business, then our advice is to contact them and clear the use of that particular design.

Fine Print will always do its best diligence in this regard, but accepts no liability for breach of intellectual property laws. It is the responsibility of the client to affirm that they (1) have permission from the manufacturer and (2) have no intent to repackage or re-sell the wallpaper to a third party.

How can I tell if my wallpaper is discontinued?

Discovering the production status of a wallpaper comes with a lot of research and discovery. Ideally you either have leftover rolls or a sample of the original from the manufacturer with a serial number and company details. Performing a google image search and uploading your wallpaper as a search query is another effective way to discover the origin and status of your unique print.

There will be cases where it is impossible to tell. There have been so many wallpaper printshops and design houses with limited print runs, and no shortage of modern wallpaper companies producing thousands of designs a day so this task will only become more challenging over time.

To see a list of the most popular producers of antique, out-of-stock prints check out our list of discontinued wallpaper manufacturers.


Guidance & Tips

Read More
Mastering Wall Preparation for Perfect Wallpaper InstallationUnlock expert tips for flawless wallpaper installation. Learn how to prep walls, test moisture, and select adhesives for enduring beauty.Continue Reading
Read More
Learn How to Design Files for Custom Wallpaper Printing DIYDiscover the art of designing files for wallpaper printing and DIY techniques for custom wallpaper to create personalized wall murals, wall media & wallcoveringsContinue Reading
Place Order for Custom Samples12" x 12" Press Proofs Available in 4 finishing options.
Corporate Headquarters

Open Monday - Friday: 9:30am-5:30pm
*Closed Saturday & Sunday*

Open in Google Maps
Production Facility

Open Monday - Friday: 7:30AM - 3:30PM
*Closed Saturday & Sunday*

Call us at (212) 619-5446  Request an Estimate  Email us at
All Rights Reserved  © 2024 Fine Print, Inc  Terms of Use  Privacy Policy