By hand, by design: Why I’m using wallpaper from Publisher Textiles and Papers

by | May 26, 2023 | Building/Design, Interior Design, Sustainable Design

Now that my reno is imminent, I have some decisions to make – so exciting! My interior designer Denby Dowling has been connecting me with all kinds of amazing suppliers, including Publisher Textiles and Papers

Publisher founder, Mark Cawood, has been designing and creating original wallpapers and printed fabrics of all kinds, since 2002. Before Publisher, Mark earned his stripes at Signature Prints, makers of the Florence Broadhurst wallpapers.

Denby has worked with the Publisher team for over a decade and really rates their products and their people. After she showed me samples of their papers and I learned more about Publisher’s printing process, I was sold too.  

Here are 6 reasons why. 

(Thanks to Steph Isaac-Newton, co-owner of Publisher, for answering lots of questions for this blog.) 

1. You can choose custom colourways at Publisher and have a paper no-one else has!  

The first reason isn’t even anything to do with sustainable design. I love colour and movement so I instantly loved their beautiful designs. 

Denby and I originally went in wanting to have a 100% bespoke wallpaper but Steph explained there are lots of rules governing the way their designs come together and get printed which would make it astronomically expensive. And it potentially wouldn’t work anyway. 

But they can print any of their designs in your colourway of choice. So Denby and Publisher have come up with the most gorgeous, customised colour palette. Starting with the Publisher “Botanica” design, which Denby chose as it’s in keeping with the contemporary/vintage aesthetic we’re re-imagining in my cottage. 

Original Botanica Design

My Bespoke Botanica 

Botanica Red on Cotton

Botanica Cherry and Sage

Close up of my Bespoke Botanica

We’ll use the original Botanica design in my bedroom. A bespoke version of Botanica with custom colours, will be used from the entrance hall all the way through to the kitchen. 

Along the way, more customised designs will be thrown into the mix. We definitely want to use Dusty Green Swans somewhere, possibly in the bedroom to match the green theme we have going on. 

 As you can see, the designs really are stunning. 

Swans Dusty Green

Swans Ink & Gold

2. You had me at hand printed 

Most wallpaper printing today is done digitally. By contrast, Publisher do theirs all by hand, on two 21-metre-long tables. This enables them to print 20-metre lengths of fabrics and wallpapers.  

On average they print 200 metres of fabric or paper per day. (For more about their process, check their website.) 

Sustainability is inherent in the way they do things at Publisher, and they’re set up to be as resource conscious as possible.  

While they haven’t gone through the process of getting net-zero certification, the way they do things uses a lot less energy compared to digital printing. The only things that require power are their gas-powered oven which cures the inks, an electric printer that prints out the designs onto a clear acetate, and a UV light for the exposure unit. Everything else is manual! 

Another upside: the pigments in the inks they use don’t have to be milled anywhere near as finely as with digital printing, which also saves on energy. 

3. There’s way less waste the way Publisher does it

There’s only a handful of screen printers in Australia who still do it by hand and Steph believes Publisher is probably the biggest. But they’re still a small operation by mainstream standards. They only print to order and hold very little stock in their warehouse. That means they don’t have to throw out thousands of metres of paper if a pattern doesn’t sell. 

They also re-use the tubs that the ink ingredients come in. They’ve been using some of those tubs for 10 to 15 years now!  

(Another thing I love: with their clothing collection, all their offcuts are donated to other labels who upcycle them or use them to train their staff. Not much ends up in the bin.) 

4. They don’t poison people with solvents  

One thing I didn’t realise is that most wallpaper inks are solvent based, which means they give off fumes during the printing. As Steph says, these turps-like fumes “rot your brain”, or at the very least, give the people in the wallpaper factories massive headaches.  

To avoid that, Mark invented the ink they use. It’s as environmentally friendly as they can possibly make it, meaning it doesn’t give off turpsy or white-spirit fumes, so the staff can print all day and not have a headache at the end of it. 

Publisher also don’t need special washing units and disposal units for the ink. It can go through their normal wash bay, with their sump tanks collecting the solids and the overflow going into grey water. 

5. Their wallpaper glue isn’t plastic  

Most wallpaper today is peel and stick, using a plastic adhesive.  

 The glue Publisher uses is made out of naturally occurring chemicals, including glycerine, mixed with natural starch. Another bonus: it’s completely removable. Just wet the paper to remove it – you don’t even need to clean the wall afterwards.  

The paper base for all their wallpaper is FSC-certified through Ahlstrom, the Belgian company they buy it from, i.e., the wood is sourced from forests that are responsibly managed in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. The paper is a non-woven fibre, and it’s biodegradable. Compare that to a lot of digital papers which contain plastic and can look a bit like vinyl on the wall. 

6. And the papers aren’t as expensive as you’d expect! 

Mark and Steph try and make their papers and fabrics as affordable as possible. In some cases they can be cheaper than the digital options. (I don’t know how this could be so, but it is!)  

There is a small fee for the test printing of my bespoke colourway… but I’m happy to pay that. If you do go the custom colourway route, you must purchase two rolls, which is 20 metres. 

The good news for all you DIYers is they make their papers as user-friendly as possible – the edges are already trimmed, which makes it easier to hang it yourself, with some guidance from Steph and the team at the end of the phone if you need it. 


For anyone who’s chasing sustainable, beautiful materials for their renovation or build, go visit their website now!