The Art of Wallpaper Restoration

Fine Print is proud to announce a new addition to our blog, covering the unique and creative challenges of wallpaper reproduction.

The Backstory

We’ve printed a lot of wallpaper over the years. Most of our early work was built around modern custom wallpaper designs. People would send us something they liked, mostly from stock sites or hiring a graphic designer - we’d print it out and that would be the end of the transaction.

However, over time a trend began to emerge. We were seeing a lot less new designs and far more requests for reproducing old ones. A scrap of wallpaper from a grandparent’s house, a vintage print with water damage, a photo of wallpaper that no longer exists - the demand for these services inspired us to open up a whole new division staffed with designers and retouch artists.

During this process we accumulated a specialized skill set. The learning curve was steep but also fascinating. We quickly realized that no two jobs are the same, but all of them usually share a few key concerns:

Image showing isolated colors from a wallpaper sample

Dirt, Dust & Grime

Any wallpaper that has been up for more than 10-20 years is bound to collect a lot of residue. After scanning a sample at 800dpi and zooming in to 400%, it becomes apparent that we can’t do anything with most samples without removing every last speck of dust, hair, fading and stains. Any scuff marks, wrinkles or other signs of aging are also removed.

Incomplete Samples

There are cases where parts of a pattern may be too damaged, or completely missing in order to make a faithful recreation. This type of reconstruction requires ingenuity, creative problem solving, and the ability to draw and imitate a large variety of styles. Thankfully our team of designers and illustrators are up to the task. We’ll be exploring their case studies in depth on this blog.

Color Matching

It sounds so simple - you take two colors and you match them. Done! If only it were that simple. The truth is that color matching is an artform of its own (link to our article here). There are many factors to consider:

  • Lighting conditions where comparisons are being made
  • Matching an existing installation, whose color likely has shifted over time.
  • The stock/finish of the paper, which may or may not add warmth to the overall tone
  • The number of colors that require a match
  • The intricacy of the design itself

To overcome these obstacles, our job is to separate each color. Sometimes this can be done with software, though many cases require our artists to mask them out by hand.

This entire process can take an afternoon or several days/weeks depending on these variables. We’ve definitely nailed a lot of samples on the first try, but many designs, especially those with more than 4 colors usually require multiple rounds of press proofs and clear communication with the client to stay on the same page.

Adapations & Remixes

There are special cases where someone loves a particular design, but isn’t a fan of the color palette. They will send us a pattern and specify a list of standardized colors (Pantone, Benjamin Moore, etc) which they would like to see in place of the originals.

Case Studies & Documentation

This entire process has been a rewarding learning experience and we’ve been collecting notes and photos along the way. We believe it will provide educational value to anyone who is trying to repair damaged art/photos. This entire series is dedicated to our fellow graphics nerds and all the great people out there helping to conserve the legacy of our cultural past.

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

Health & Safety Concerns

Are your wallpapers hypoallergenic, and how do they cater to individuals with severe allergies?

Our wallpapers are designed with health and safety in mind, catering to the needs of individuals with severe allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments. By selecting materials that are less likely to harbor allergens, our products aim to create a safer, more comfortable indoor environment. Additionally, we ensure our wallpapers are resistant to mold and mildew growth, further supporting the well-being of sensitive individuals.

How do your wallpapers ensure indoor air quality is not compromised?

Maintaining indoor air quality is a paramount concern for us. Our wallpapers are characterized by low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, adhering to stringent guidelines for indoor air quality. By minimizing the release of these harmful compounds, our products help ensure a healthier indoor environment, conducive to well-being and comfort. Through rigorous testing and compliance with industry standards, we ensure that our products maintain VOC levels that meet or exceed regulatory requirements, offering a safer choice for both residential and commercial spaces.

Are there any chemicals or synthetic materials used in your wallpapers that might trigger allergic reactions?

We are dedicated to producing wallpapers that are safe and non-irritating for all users, including those with allergies. Our products are formulated without the use of harmful chemicals or synthetic materials known to trigger allergic reactions, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and heavy metals. This careful selection of materials underscores our commitment to health and safety.

How does your wallpaper resist mold and mildew growth, ensuring a safe environment for sensitive individuals?

Our wallpapers are engineered to resist mold and mildew growth, an essential feature for ensuring the safety and comfort of sensitive individuals. Through the use of inherently resistant materials and treatments, our products prevent the adherence and proliferation of mold and mildew, thereby promoting a healthier indoor environment.

What certifications do your wallpapers have regarding environmental and health safety?

Our wallpapers are backed by rigorous certifications that attest to their environmental and health safety. These include low-VOC certifications, compliance with international toxicity standards, and certifications for mold and mildew resistance. Through these certifications, we demonstrate our commitment to upholding the highest standards of safety and sustainability in our products. All materials are perfectly suitable for healthcare facilities, nurseries, retirement homes or any other environment where health is a primary concern.

General Wallpaper 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 wisummaryh is 52 inches wide by 360 inches in length.

How can I make a payment?

We accept all major credit cards and company checks. Please note, a job ticket must be created and payment is required before we can start proofing/final production.

What is the standard turnaround time?

Once final proofs are approved, standard production time is 5-7 business days. Please note, production time may change depending on our current press schedule and how many specialty options have been selected.

Wallcovering Material Concerns

What kind of wallpaper material do you use?

Our wallpapers are a non-adhesive, fabric backed vinyl material which is installable via traditional pasting methods. They are available in matte, gloss, semi-gloss or textured coating/finishing options. We also offer peel and stick wallpaper.

Can I pick my own design/image?

Yes, if you provide high resolution artwork, we can print your custom design.

Is the material durable and washable?

Yes, ordinary dirt and smudges can be removed from the surface with a mild soap and warm water.

Is the material removable?

Yes, our wall coverings can be removed. Please note, all surfaces must be primed with a drywall sealer and water based primer prior to installation.

Do you provide installation services?

Unfortunately, we do not provide or recommend installation services, however the following article is a useful guide for installers: How to Prepare Wall Surfaces

Wallpaper Sample Questions

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.

Can you ship material/printed samples for my review?

We can not send out material/printed samples without a job ticket being generated into our system.


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