The Green Garden wallpaper is all about inspiring young children to create and play, getting them to think about their wants and dreams, whilst personalising their own wallpaper. The Wallpaper features felt detachable animals, plants and and frames which children can display their creations in. It is a fun, tactile alternative to conventional wallpaper, and encourages children to think and ask about wildlife as the paper uses natural plant and animal forms from endangered British species.

This white wallpaper is printed on 100% recycled hypoallergenic paper designed to reduce our environmental impact. It has been hand printed with water based inks which contain no solvents or VOCs (volatile organic compounds, which are potentially damaging gases, released long after the paper is hung.) The felt used within the paper is also made of recycled milk bottles and natural wool.

The wallpaper is designed for young children between the ages of 3-8 but is suitable for younger ages with large shapes and visual appeal. The colours in the paper are kept simple to firstly lessen the environmental impact and also to create a playful atmosphere which isn’t to vibrant for bedtime.
The wallpaper is available to order to room specific requirement, and is available with a range of animal attachments, frames and bunting.
Developing the concept

The Green Garden wallpaper was originally inspired by natural shapes and forms used in wall art to inspire environmental conservation, developing this concept for children, and incorporating an interactive aspect. Exploring a variety of ideas and using recycled wallpaper and different hand drawn plant designs which promote the simple beauty of nature. A huge influence on my final design has been the Puff and Flock design, ‘Eco Highway’ which encourages young children to think about their carbon footprint with featured futuristic cars which run on milk instead of petrol.

I wanted to consider the physiological potential of wallpaper on children. Researching the affects of imagery and how this can be used in subconscious learning. Dream boards are used by people and businesses to focus their goals and reflect this into their daily lives using subconscious learning and the law of attraction. This can also be a useful tool for parents to bond with their children helping them understand more about their dreams and aspirations, even at young ages. I thought this concept could be used within wallpaper, and this inspired the idea of a ‘dream tree’ whereby children decorate their dream tree with images and their own creations, to reflect their wants and dreams. Other wallpapers caters for children’s creative input, but not the physiological potential with ‘colour in wallpapers’ such as, The Absolute degrees range and Graham and Brown range which both have an environmentally friendly, colour me in wallpapers.

Designing a tree which could be coloured in or have the ability to add children’s pictures and drawings would be simple with this colour in concept. However I felt a design which could change as often as children’s wants and dreams do, would be more suitable. Therefore I explored materials such as fuzzy felt which would offer a tactile child friendly option, which is also more environmentally friendly, compared to other more intrusive materials. I also discovered a metal based paint called Marabu Magnetico, which creates a magnetic surface which children could use to attach magnetic images and creations too.
Developing the design

With two potential materials in mind, I developed several designs which worked with the tree. I felt a single feature tree design would work best, but there was a need to develop a design for the surrounding areas. Working with natural images and shapes which encourage environmental consideration, I firstly developed a plant print from my original prints and drawings, using endangered plant species, painting directly onto paper with ink. However the feedback I got from the designs was that it was too stylised for children and needed to be simplified.

I used children’s book illustrations to help me simplify the designs but continued using endangered species as a subject, even if children don’t identify the endangered species, I feel it has potential to arouse conversation and interest in conservation between adults. I developed the tree to connect to a washing line so that the paper creates a 2d garden around the wall, which is more aesthetically balanced and creates more room to play and interact with the paper. The tree and washing line both should hold interchangeable children’s pictures and drawings. I decided on simple frame designs which enable the child to frame their own creations within the wallpaper, without cluttering the design.

I considered the magnetic paint called Magnetico, and experimented with it using it as an undercoat to be painted over, painting the washing line and tree as these are the intended interactive areas. I also experimented with felt, using it in the same areas and attaching connecting animals with a simple Velcro backing.  (pic of magnetico)

The areas which are not interactive I decided to screen printed as I feel this was most appropriate when considering small batch production, and the process itself  as it creates less environmental impact than conventional printing.

I approached Bovey castle a luxury hotel which offers a young children’s activities centre. I spoke with some of the play workers there to gain an understanding of some of the possible design drawbacks. They outlined potential problems associated with my design such as my chosen wallpaper surface, as children’s dirty fingerprints would be hard to wipe clean. Therefore there was a need to find an eco surface finish that could be added after the design was printed. I spoke to several experienced painter decorators and they suggested a PVA coating mixed with water, which will be sprayed onto the paper when it is hug. The castle staff also expressed concern about the magnetic paint being a health and safety issue as small pieces could flake off the paper and could be dangerous if inhaled by a child. This in itself made using Magnetico within my wallpaper a contradiction from my original design concept, and using felt a much more durable solution. The felt pieces where cut into butterflys, bees, birds and other small animals aswell as a series of bunting which is ready to be decorated and displayed on the washing line with velcro backing, the felt was cut by hand and via a card cutting machine, rather than a laser cutter as this process uses considerably higher energy consumption.

I was offered the opportunity to decorate the play centre with my wallpaper once the design was completed, which was a fantastic opportunity. Once it was ready to be installed I spoke to the Hotel management who have given me the go ahead, unfortunately the wallpaper has not been properly installed yet, as the chosen feature wall is in the process of being plastered before the wallpaper can be hung. The photos taken are of the wallpaper in the desired location but are not yet pasted too the wall.

 I am very pleased with the final product and I feel it is a creative alternative to conventional wallpaper, offering young children not only a means of play and creative input, but it is also environmentally conscious and I feel the paper itself encourages environmental consciousness through its design and making.