Inspiration from the Past

Sometimes the old ideas are the best. Paper frames for the wall are far from being a new idea, but have become quite popular again recently along with decorative stick on ‘decals’ in general.  They were especially popular in the 18th century, circa 1750-1800, when ‘print rooms’ were all the rage. Unfortunately, few original examples have survived, but there’s a really good rare survival you can visit at Calke Abbey (National Trust) in Derbyshire, where caricatures, instead of the more usual classical prints, were collected and pasted to the walls.   Collectors of prints were able to purchase decorative printed borders by the length, and these could be cut and applied as a frame to your prints, which would be pasted onto plain, painted walls. Decorative flourishes, and additional motifs to link the images and create an overall design were also available. It was a popular female pastime, and it’s a technique which I love.

It’s also a technique which, updated, I think is perfect for children’s artwork.  There are a number of companies that produce stick on frames for walls, ranging from the more traditional in style, to children’s sticker frames specially intended for children’s rooms.  They also have the added advantage that you can peel them off again without damaging the wall.  Creating a complete ‘print room’ in this manner would be pretty costly, but you can create a small decorative feature with them very easily.  They have the added advantage that there is nothing to be knocked off the wall, or nudged askew, and no glass to break, so they are very safe for children’s rooms.

If you want to find out more about 18th century print rooms, and get a sense of what they originally looked like, it’s worth visiting this site: