Big Wipes: review

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Judging from the picture below, it will come as no surprise I am a fan of these Big Wipes, Heavy Duty 4×4’s cleaning wipes. I’m also a fan of the firm’s Power Spray cleaning solution, too; in my experience both products are the best on the market. 

Short Description

Living somewhere as isolated as I do, new products take time to filter onto the shelves of my local decorator centre. Until recently, we didn’t have as much access to the internet either, so we just got by with what was available locally. The first wipes I used were self-branded ones a from a local builder’s merchant called Travis Perkins. They were okay; you could just about clean your hands with them, but they were little more than repackaged baby wipes.

A few years ago, I found a small display of Big Wipes in Travis Perkins, so I purchased a tub to try. The difference between the products was like night and day. Big Wipes heavy duty wipes are much harder wearing than any builder’s merchant own brand or any of their recent competitors such as Grime boss or Hippo Wipes.

Having used various types over the years, I always return to what is my opinion the best on the market. Big Wipes are not only good at cleaning your hands, but tools or spills are easily mopped up from various contaminates such as paint, oil, grease, caulk, foam, silicone and general grime.

I have used the Big Wipe Heavy Duty 4×4’s as a light degreaser and mild abrasion pad on some jobs, too, and they performed the task with no issues.

Having gone through a period where I had relatively poor skin, (a form of eczema so I’m told), I need to be careful about the chemicals I use. Again, using a Big Wipe hasn’t aggravated my skin and I have looked into their composition to ensure they are free from solvents that may cause irritation.



Tough durable fabric

Excellent cleaning properties

Pleasant smell

Dermatology tested


Prices sneaking up

Shouty advertising video



My preferred Big Wipe is the heavy duty 4×4 ones as they have many uses. Expanding foam or ready mixed light weight fillers are renowned for clogging your tools, but Big Wipes can easily remove both. I found even when filler has almost dried a Big Wipe will still remove it from filling blades, hands, van door handles and anywhere else it gets to.

They really are an essential piece of kit in the van now and even after using all the wipes we often recycle the packaging as a handy container.


Cleaning ability 9.5/10

Durability 9/10

Kindness to skin 8.5/10

Scrubbability 8.5/10

Value for money 8.5 /10




Latest product review

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Coral Paperwiz


Ok let’s be totally up front and honest here, this isn’t really a new tool. It’s a bold copy of our old friend the Wall-wiz.  Nothing wrong there I hear you say, if Wall-wiz has gone out of production fair play to Coral for reintroducing a replacement copy.

Short Description

These types of tools do have their uses admittedly, although I sometimes think they are not as versatile as the manufacturer would suggest. Perhaps it’s only because I am such a dinosaur I still like to use my papering brush when hanging the majority of wall coverings.

Using a cutting guide to knife wall papers probably started with the use of an artex caulking tool and things have evolved from there. The Coral Paperwiz and its predecessor the Wallwiz introduced these standalone tools which have been designed to replace at least three traditional ones.

I find it will only work as a replacement for my papering brush on certain smooth surfaced papers, hard wearing vinyl’s are quite good and recently the current trend of paste the wall papers seem to work ok if smoothed with the Paperwiz.

In my opinion it’s no use on textured wallpapers or those which go very soft when soaked as it can take the surface of delicate papers, where a soft papering brush can be used gently.

Not sure about its suitability as a seam roller, rubbing a hard piece of plastic over a seam on some papers would just shine the seam like many plastic seam rollers used to.

The Paperwiz’s final trick is it can be used as a cutting guide, yes despite  it being fractionally thicker than the original Wallwiz which in turn was thicker than most plastic caulkers, I like it, I like it a lot.

I always reach for the Paperwiz now when wallpapering, recently I hung some paste the wall paper and never used my papering brush once, just Paperwiz’ed for smoothing on and cutting guide.

Admittedly as a cutting guide you need to pay attention, push the Paperwiz into the desired position and get the blade of your knife resting right against the curve at a slight angle so you get a close cut, but once your there you can create straight consistent cuts every time.

As decorators it’s also fun that these come in a range of translucent colours, bringing a bit of fun into our tool boxes which I applaud.


Lightweight translucent design

Solid Construction

Tactile feel

Fun Colours


Trimming guide edge takes practice

One radius corner adequate.


Priced at under £5 from various outlets there is no reason why everyone who hangs wallpaper should have one of theses in their kit, even if you only use it for one of its multitude of abilities it would be a worthwhile addition. Easy to use, easy to keep clean and useful little product

Comfort   9/10

Cleaning 10/10

Application 7/10

Value for money 10/10


Victorian ceiling restoration

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As you will read in my posts the majority of our work is reasonably straight forward. Having said this it’s much more than just painting our goal is to provide a quality customer service from the start and leave a pleasurable end result with all our customers which has been our philosophy from the beginning.

A recent local project allowed us to use a fuller extent of our skills in restoration. I was invited by a new customer to offer advice, colour scheme and redecorate the lounge in their Victorian home.
Part of my remit was to repair an ornate ceiling. I have always assumed these ceilings to be an early Superglypta type of wallpaper, but after discussing it with a good friend and professional decorator Russ Pike from Nottingham’s prime decoration he suggested the correct term for this particular type was a Camiod ceiling, so it’s true you learn something every day.
I had assumed that most of the ceiling edges that appeared loose would simply stick back but after closer inspection I found the situation was more serious so as this was a special ceiling I devised a rescue mission. The ceiling is actually made up from 20 individual ceiling panels creating the raised ornate border, with a period paper in the centre.
Each pane of Camiod border was inspected, if it wasn’t soundly adhered to the ceiling I carefully cut around it and took it down. Once on the floor each piece had to be cleaned, numbered and a thin stabilising solution brushed on the back to seal and strengthen them.
My attention turned then to the original ceiling and the reason for poor adhesion in the first place was down to distemper or whitening the products very much used at the time the house was new.
So I needed to prepare and stabilise those surfaces also.
Once I was satisfied both surfaces were dry and solid I began the slow process of piecing the ceiling panels back together. Each piece had adhesive applied and was returned to its original position. The large corner panel took two of us to hold in situ and had to be held in place with a few screws as the adhesive set.
The ceiling paper strips that had come down needed double soaked with Solvite flake adhesive before they were pliable enough to rehang.
Once everything was returned it was left overnight to fully dry.
The next day we needed to dress the joints of the Camiod paper with powder filler.
Also we were preparing the walls and woodwork stripping the old wall coverings and abrading the woodwork.
The walls were being lined to paint apart from the chimney which was receiving a feature paper
After all the preparation was completed the colour scheme we advised was a classic simple one of Dulux pure brilliant white on the coving, Gardenia on the repaired ceiling and newly lined walls, Rosepetal on the frieze with Dulux Trade Brilliant White QD undercoat and gloss on the woodwork.

Finished of with feature wallpaper on the chimney I helped chose to complement the period of the property and give the final wow effect. Which I hope you will agree in this video was worth the effort.











Totally absorbed in decorating

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Ok I have previously mentioned I am the unofficial stunt double for the Dulux Dog, well that’s my excuse for the graying uncut hair anyway.

Also the fact my father has been involved in painting and decorating for a while now and by default it must have “abraded” of onto me.

Its not enough I try and run my small family business, spend time with the family and do a bit of gardening hahaha!! I also try and write reviews. If you wish to have a look at an early review I wrote please continue reading. Will share more as we continue our journey.

Rust-oleum  Chalky Finish Furniture Paint


My project with Rust-oleum’s Chalky Finish Furnisher Paint was to modernize three items of pine furnisher. I had never used this particular product before, but I had gathered together the preparatory products I would usually use on such a job. These included a degreaser, some abrasives and an adhesion promoting primer and some masking tape.

Short description

Despite initial reservations after reading the Rust-oleum instructions I decided to follow them as close as my professional pride would allow, so I placed my adhesion promoting primer to one side and began my preparations. After removing items that were not getting painted or that needed to be painted separately I degreased all the surfaces, Rust-oleum recommends White spirit for this task, as I was attempting to remain environmentally friendly  I opted to substitute Krud Kutter.

After Degreasing and washing over each piece of furnisher, I waited until the surface had dried, before I could key each area using a 240 abrasive on a manual dust extraction system, finally wiping over again with a clean lint free damp cloth. I protected the areas I wished to remain pine with another new product from Stanley, their professional masking tape.

I was then ready to apply my first coat. Despite it only being a 750ml tin the Rust-oleum felt heavy, things looked promising that it would be a concentrated paint as promised by the manufacturer. Opening the tin revealed it was “thick creamy consistency” after thorough stirring. I had different parts of a bare pine coffee table, a previously varnished pine box and a factory finished television cabinet to decorate.

I choose to start with the pine table, the Rust-oleum could not be brushed about due to its viscosity and again I was tempted to add a little water to assist flow out but I managed to resist as I wanted to see if it lived up the manufacturers claims of “exceptional coverage in one coat”. I continued to coat each piece of furnisher and observed the coated areas bleach out as they dried. Naturally the bare pine table was the quickest to dry as it was the first done and the paint was easily absorbed.

In my opinion all three items of furnish would not be up the required standard with just one coat. I was trying to achieve a smooth uniform finish and with one coat they were still a little translucent. I waited 4 hours before returning to continue as recommended by Rust-oleum . Prior to applying a second coat I performed a basic scratch test on each item. Just with my nails, which are quite tough at the best of times I scraped them across the surface of each item. Out of the three as you would expect the bare pine table performed the best with not visible signs of damage. The varnished box and factory finished cabinet didn’t do as well both were marked in the test with the box fairing marginally better.

So as recommended once again I did not abrade the surface, just simply applied a second coat. On this occasion it went on a little better, although I did think it had a similar properties to the limewash products of time gone by where it appeared to soften the previous coating a little, Once they were all coated I just left them over night to fully dry again.


It’s a fairly straight forward product to use

Creates a fashionable finish

Rust-oleum suggests you can use two colours to create the popular shabby chic look.

Pleasing finish once dry both in appearance and touch (*although read below)


Bit DIY focused

Adhesion to pre varnished or factory finished surfaces questionable.

*Resilience to every day wear and tear on high traffic areas will need additional protection, Rust-oleum recommend their finishing wax.

Disappointment from your average DIYer that one coat coverage isn’t realistic.


If I am totally honest I didn’t really want to like this product because of its DIY aspirations. Despite the fact I would have preferred a proper adhesion primer and it would have been better if after two coats it was more durable.

I actually liked the finished effect it created, which was as described a Smooth Chalky Matt, you would pay a premium for if you bought pre finished furnisher like this. So if you are a DIYer or professional I wouldn’t be ashamed to recommend this product as long as you are aware of its limitations.

Rust-oleum is a long established business associated with many famous brands; many decorators will recognize them from the Zinsser and Blackfriars products.


Value for money 75/100

Opacity                  75/100

Application            70/100

Finish                      85/100

#furniturepainting #chalkpaint


Recent furniture restoration.

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For many years we have quietly undertook commissions to redecorate or restore items of furniture. Just before I started my apprenticeship I remember my dad telephoning Dulux technical advice in Slough to ensure the eggshell finish he was going to redecorate a child’s cot with was safe to use in that situation. Fortunately it was.
Times have advanced and predominately we use water based products now where ever possible. But the principals are still the same and preparation is paramount. Items of furniture should not only be pleasant to admire from a distance because they  are tactile must be pleasing to touch also.

A recent example of a little renovation project are two tables out of the local theater and arts center which had rather been forgotten about. Although they were in a sorry state I managed to strip back the surface to reveal the table tops were solid oak. After a bit of care and attention  they were sympathetically restored.

#furniturepainting #restoration



Here is a little of our history

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Here is a little of our history, more to follow naturally. Time is progressing on once more and our little website has received another minor update so I am reviewing my blogs and updating them as we go, please excuse me if you’ve seen them before.

As this was my very first real blog on here I thought I would start by looking back a little, my apprenticeship started in 1983, my Dad had just bought the little Mini van in the picture. When he signed the van up it was just done as Vic Wilkinson I wasn’t even allowed a mention at that time. In the following years we progressed onto slightly bigger vans as you can see.

We are with you in all weathers for all your decorating requirements,

V. Wilkinson & Son are entering their 50th year in 2018, we shall look forward to working with our customers bringing their decorating ideas to reality.

#paintersanddecorators #wallpapering #kitchenpainting  #furnisherpainting #lincrusta #glitterpaint

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