It is, I admit (albeit somewhat grudgingly), altogether possible that there are things far worse than a cardboard bath panel. There are, in all undeniable probability, things that are worse even than a cardboard bath panel that has (inexplicably) a shiny black coating and various damaged patches. But I don’t like it, dammit, and something must be done about it, and that something is this:
You might wonder why I don’t just buy a new bath panel. I have wondered this myself. But the thing about renting, which we do, is that – even in a flat like ours, with a landlord like ours, where we are free to redecorate and so on – we tend to find ourselves reluctant to invest in the same way we would if we owned the place. After all, we don’t know how long we’ll be here.
So I’ve decided to use Decopatch papers to cover the whole thing. Yes, really. (Not the inside, obviously. That would be crazy.) It’s just that I can’t stand that black cardboard thing any more. You can see what I mean on the right-hand side of this photo:
See? SEE? So, to explain the brown paper…
Having cover various items in paper by now, including my fussball table and men (note to self: must get a wriggle on with that), I know that sometimes strong colours show through. Like the white lines on the fussball table, which held out as long as they could until I struck lucky with about the fifth layer. So I figured that if I did an undercoat with brown parcel paper, that ought to get me off to a successful start.
And so it has. The only slight niggle is that the brown paper is much thicker than Decopatch paper, and so needs a LOT of glue. Plus it’s really boring because it’s the undercoat. But it does work, so it’s worth it.
I started with the short end of the bath. This is not only a smaller area to work on, but it’s also not immediately visible. You know me, always planning for disaster…
So far, however, no such disaster has been forthcoming:
I am using blues and turquoises, fairly warm in tone (to fit with paintwork), in five different designs. As I’ve found previously, you need at least five different designs if you’re doing this kind of overlapping patchwork style – to make sure that no design ends up overlapping itself.
I started with the edges, which were fiddly. In part because NOTHING in our flat is straight; in part because I had to crouch between the panel and the loo to work. Lovely.
But it’s been worth it, because look!
I’ve just rounded the corner onto the long side, and the next step is to glue on more undercoat. I’m going to do this in sections, as I think I may lose the will to live if I have to undercoat the whole long side before I can get back to the pretty stuff. And then, once it’s all done, I’ll probably put an extra layer of varnish on top, for added waterproofing.
I can’t wait to finish this project and then get out the bubbles for a good long soak in what is going to be a hot, hot bath. As Sylvia Plath says in The Bell Jar, “I am sure there are things that can’t be cured by a good bath but I can’t think of one”.