Master Class: All About Wallpaper


Dering Hall’s March Master Class: All About Wallpaper took place on Wednesday, March 6. Amy Mills, owner and founder of Paper Mills, joined Dering Hall to share some in-depth information and provide useful tips for choosing and installing wallpaper.

About Amy Mills:
Amy Mills has been printing wallpaper for over 26 years. She is the founder and owner of Paper Mills, a design house specializing in custom wallpaper and fabric manufacturing. Amy’s specific areas of expertise are hand printing and hand-block printing, which is what most of this presentation is focused on. Click here to view a Studio Visit of Paper Mills.

The webinar, which can be viewed here, covered the following topics:

Wallpaper uses

  • Wallpaper unifies a space and can tie all the pieces of the room together

  • It adds a decorative detailed layer to the room

  • It’s a finishing layer

  • Often pattern can provide a sense of drama or mood that other design elements such as paint can not provide.

What makes hand-made wallpaper unique

  • Hand painted & hand printed wallpaper always show a bit of the human hand

  • There are inherent variations in the surface which add to the beauty of the overall design

  • Imperfections are what make handmade objects of any kind more beautiful

  • Machine methods such as screen printing, rotogravure and digital printing provide a unified surface that is perfectly consistent in look and feel which the brain recognizes

Customizing existing patterns

  • Many companies offer the possibility to customize existing patterns to the color scheme of your project

  • Paper Mills does this and try to make it simple and easy for you to customize their papers to suit your needs

  • You can send in your carpet, fabric or color chips for matching they will produce a strike off in 2 weeks or less for approval

Designing custom patterns

There are four phases within the Paper Mills design process:

  1. Drawing – They sketch your idea or if you have a drawing to scale they edit for the block print method or process the design in machine methods if you require type II vinyl or any other specialized materials such as grass cloth.

  2. Transfer the drawing to the block – Paper Mills use old fashioned methods for transferring imagery onto the carving surface: they trace the drawing onto the carving so that they are essentially drawing it again keeping the hand quality throughout.

  3. Block carving – The Paper Mills team painstakingly carves the image out of the block exactly as it has been drawn–there is little room for error. It takes sharp tools and a steady hand and over 30 years of block carving experience for the kind of precision they need in their manufacturing process.

  4. Strike-off phase – Custom colors get applied to the block & they print the design in your color scheme.

Deadlines and timing for wallpaper design

  • Before you begin planning: speak to your wallpaper hanger and gain an idea of their availability.

  • Have sample in hand to share with the hanger!

  • Tell the mill the quantity you need and schedule production

  • Coordinate with the manufacturer and the paperhanger to have a smooth installation of your product on the timing your project requires


Dering Hall would like to thank Amy Mills for participating in our webinar and sharing her expertise with our audience. For more information on Amy Mills and Paper Mills, Inc., check them out on Dering Hall.

Erin Gilbert