Supplies: Wallpaper paste, gloves, 3-4 inexpensive paint brushes, sponge, spackle scraper, lots of old books.
No doubt you’ve noticed the ubiquity of the phrase lately, but it bears repeating. Everything is going to be okay. Variations abound—I recently saw a t-shirt that read “Everything is going to be awesome”—but the essence of the phrase remains constant. So does our collective hunger for simple words of reassurance, in an age of rising anxiety and complexity.
Inspired by a friend’s Facebook page, we decided to make our own contribution to the positivity zeitgeist with a fresh design for our shop wall. We envisioned the inspirational phrase written large over hundreds of pages torn from old books.
A word of caution: this was a time-consuming process. Though the result was well worth it, we underestimated the amount of pages (over 800) we would need to cover our (20 x 7 foot) wall. In addition, the process of layering paste and pages along straight lines required over ten hours of labor. My advice? Opt for a larger page dimension than trade paperback, collect more than you think you need, and allow yourself plenty of time to complete the project.
After priming the whole wall with matte paint, we began the process of pasting and layering. In order to make sure we were creating straight lines, we first papered the whole top of the wall, creating a grid-like template. Then we worked from left to right, making lines of pages all the way down the wall.
Wallpaper paste comes with directions for use, but I can't say I followed them. Using an inexpensive brush, I simply applied a layer of paste, pressed and smoothed the page, then applied a surface coat. I then smoothed out any wrinkles with a drywall scraper.
800 pages later, we were ready to add the finishing touch. The same friend who created the Facebook page worked with us to design the lettering, then painstakingly painted the words by hand.
Every day, we encourage people to take their photos in front of the wall. In turn, they often share their own stories about how this phrase has spoken to them or helped them in some way. And the inspiration continues: Bespoke recently worked with artists who incorporated the phrase into ceramic, jewelry and screenprinted designs.