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I have recently found blank rolls of wallpaper (160+ gsm), sold as a home decoration solution. They're made from a mix of polyester and cellulose fibers, and I was wondering about the feasibility of using that paper as a drawing/painting surface. Given the better aging properties of synthetic fibers, would the added polyester content increase the longevity of such paper, compared to pure cellulose papers?
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I would not say that synthetic fibers are uniformly better
than cellulose in terms of longevity. Many are vastly inferior. Polyester, however, has proven to be quite resilient for
some purposes, though. It is difficult to assess whether the paper you have on
hand would be a good substrate. There are a number of factors including absorbency,
tooth, the tightness or looseness of the woven paper structure, and the
intended media (water borne paints may be repelled...or not) I generally
caution against using materials not intended for fine art purposes unless they
have been well tested. In essence, the paper may great, or not at all,
depending on a number of factors.
Thank you for the answer. Is there any way that I could test the suitability of this paper without having a lab? Something like leaving a drawing attached to a south-facing window for a couple of months? Any particular characteristics besides the obvious (will paint/drawing materials adhere) that I should pay attention to?
It sounds like you are using wall liner, an uncoated transitional material used to mask imperfect walls and improve adhesion with wall coverings. Based on my own experience, I don't think it's likely that the manufacturer will share many specifics about the paper composition unless required by law. If price is the main consideration that makes this material attractive as a drawing stock, I recommend using genuine drawing paper instead, or printmaking paper on rolls if scale is important. I do understand, however, that some "self destructing" papers like rough newsprint are really nice to work on, and tempting to use. I would guess wall liner is likely durable enough for display in the short term (1 to 5 years) just based on the condition of old wallpaper stock I have seen, but I expect any drawings on this paper would become brittle with age, and if there is vinyl present, there might be problematic decomposition residue. If you really feel compelled to use this paper, mounting to rigid panel might help mitigate loss of strength in the longer term.
Great reply Matthew, as usual.
it is great to have you onboard.
Thanks, Brian, very glad to be here!
Thank you for the answers and clarifications.