Here are a few styles of the old DuPont Flair Squares wall coverings — sticky squares of vinyl “wallpaper” — that used to be super-popular. Their simplicity made them the perfect DIY project for do-it-yourselfers back in the seventies and eighties.
Wallpaper novices won’t get hung up with Flair Squares (1980)
by Judy Hill, St Petersburg Times
Are you tired of those dull kitchen or bathroom walls — and frustrated because you don’t have the expert skills to brighten them up with wallpaper, or don’t want to spend the money to hire a professional?
According to a magazine ad for DuPont’s Flair Squares, your frustrations are for naught.
“Decorate the easy way with Flair Squares,” says the headline.
And next to a photo of a neatly dressed woman putting a square up on her bathroom wall, the copy continues: “Suddenly, wall covering is easier than ever.”
Flair Squares, the ad says, are easy to use. “With Flair Squares, you don’t need special tools or skills. Just soak each prepasted 12-inch square in water and slide it into place. All squares match up beautifully. Even fitting around bathroom cabinets and windows is a breeze.”
The ad also claims that Flair Squares are easy to keep clean, won’t shrink, tear or lose their shape.
And the ad continues: “So buy today, decorate this afternoon, and enjoy a beautiful room tonight.”
DuPont spokesman Dave Sawdey explains that Flair Squares are designed for use in kitchens and bathrooms and to appeal to people who have never done any
wallpapering before. “There are rooms in the home with tight, small places where you have to cut out (wallpaper) to fit around things. Flair Squares are easier to handle there than rolls of (wall) paper.”
Sawdey also says that the product is not intended for use in “enormous” rooms, though people have done it, and is not designed to compete with traditionally-sized wallpaper.
Dip in water, slip into place and sponge smooth
Although the ad claims a room can be done in an afternoon, Sawdey says: “A lot would depend on the condition of the room — whether there are a lot of obstructions — and its size. But the average person would have no problem doing it in a short time. It isn’t the kind of product that you have to spend hours and hours with.”
To test the ad’s claims, Sawdey suggested no more than following the instructions on the package, which includes information about estimating the amount of the product needed, how to prepare walls before papering and how to “hang” the Squares.
Our test involved papering an ordinary bathroom, with one window and one cabinet. Since it had old wallpaper on the walls, we had to remove all that paper and then prepare the wall according to package directions (wash the walls with household ammonia cleaner).
Once that was done, we allowed the walls to dry and then hung the Flair Squares according to the directions on the package.
Strawberry garden Du Pont Flair Squares
As the ad claims, we needed no “special tools” to hang the squares. The only thing we had to purchase for the job was a paint roller to roll the squares more firmly on the wall once they were firmly brushed with a sponge.
Also, as the ad claims, we needed no “special skills.” Although our finished bathroom is not perfectly papered. it is adequate – and it was our first attempt at wallpapering. The squares do “slide” into place after soaking, as the ad claims. They do match up, as the ad claims. And it was relatively easy to fit them around bathroom cabinets and windows.
While it took us more than “an afternoon” (as the ad claims) to do the job – it didn’t take too long. Discounting the time it took to remove the old wallpaper, we put up 90 square feet of Flair Squares in about six hours.
As the ad claims, the product didn’t shrink, tear or lose shape. We were able to wipe off the few smudges of dirt we got on them while papering, but cannot speak to their long-term ease of cleaning.
“Good Morning” home decor/wallpaper
So, in our test, Flair Squares did perform as the ad claims — although it took us a little longer than an afternoon. We needed no special tools or skills to hang them, they did slide into place after soaking and match without problems, and they were relatively easy to fit around obstructions.
We purchased the Flair Squares on sale — a package of 15 of the 12-inch squares for $2.99. The regular price of the package is $4.99.
With Flair Squares, decorating is as easy as… (1982)
1. Dip: With Flair Squares pre-pasted wallcovering, just dip each 12″ square into water. No special tools necessary. No special skills involved.
2. Slip: Slip each square into place and sponge smooth. Even difficult areas are easy to handle. Flair Squares are washable and extra-tough, so they won’t tear or lose shape.
3. Decorate: Flair Squares come in a variety of attractive patterns, designed to beautify any room in your home. And they’re easy to strip off if you ever decide to change patterns.