Tread lightly

Artist Sara Pulver helps you transform your stairs in a jiff

Laura DiCaprio

Although   regularly   considered   an afterthought when decorating one’s home, the staircase is often the first thing people see when they walk into an entryway and should not be forgotten within the overall décor. Home  decorating  trends  are  now paying  attention  to  this  once  forgotten space, with  features  on  HGTV  and  This Old  House  encouraging  people  to  take another  look  at  the  design  opportunity the home staircase holds. Local artist Sara Pulver noticed the stair riser trend surfacing on Pinterest but discovered there were not many  outlets  available  to  purchase  the unique decorative decals. She decided to combine her artistic talent with the vinyl decals  trend  and  now  offers  a  variety  of designs in her Etsy shop, Crowbabys (Etsy. com/shop/Crowbabys).

Her decal shop, Crowbabys, is a partnership between Pulver and friend Dave Curtice, who  has  a  vinyl  shop  at Village  Gate. A variety of vinyl stair risers are available, and the shop also features decals for windows, mirrors, doors, and tiles.

“We have simple patterns,  ornate  patterns,  and  quite  a bit  in  between,” she  explains. “Color  is important…the trend right now is focused mainly on subtler colors: warm gray, beige, etc. But some people want color and come up with different combinations to really make their risers pop.”

Choosing  the  right  pattern  and  color might seem like a daunting task, but Pulver eases any design apprehension by offering help with the decision. “I’m always happy to do a digital mock-up to help a customer visualize” she says.

Once  a  color  and  pattern  have  been selected,  the  next  step  is  to  apply  the decals to the risers. Below is the step-by- step process of how to apply your own stair riser decals:

1. Completely  clean  and  dry  your risers. The  cleaner  the  riser  is, the stronger  the  decal  will  adhere  to  the space.

2. Align the decal and tape it in place using masking tape along the top edge of the transfer tape. Make sure the top and sides are aligned perfectly.

3. Place  a  piece  of  masking  tape vertically down the center of the decal, from top to bottom. This will act as a hinge so both the left and right side of the decal can swing away from the wall.

4. Remove  masking  tape  from  one side of the decal and pull the decal away from the riser. Peel the backing tape  off  the  half  of  the  decal  you  are working with and cut the paper off near the center hinge.

5. Starting  from  the  center  edge  of the  decal  near  the  masking  tape, wipe  over  the  transfer  tape  with a  burnisher  tool  or  credit  card outward from the center. Firmly go over the entire decal surface until it is completely adhered to the surface.

6. Once the first half of the decal has been applied, remove the masking tape  and  center  hinge  tape  from the  decal. Pull  this  half  of  the  decal back  from  the  surface  and  peel  the backing paper from the decal.

7. Starting from where the first half of the decal has already been applied, wipe  over  the  transfer  tape  with the burnisher outward toward the edge. Firmly go over the entire decal surface until it is completely adhered to the surface.

8. Slowly  and  carefully  peel  the transfer tape from one end of the decal. Peel the tape at a sharp angle so you can press on the decal as you peel the tape. If any part of the decal starts to come up with the tape, run over that part of the decal with the burnisher and try to peel the tape again.

Take the first step, rise to the challenge, and  transform  your  neglected  staircase into a customized space that reflects your personalized style. As Pulver encourages, “Stair  risers  are  almost  always  forgotten in  home  décor  and  they  are  rich  in possibilities.”

For more information about Sara Pulver, her  artwork, and  stair  riser  decals, visit  or  email


A low-maintenance gal with high-maintenance hair, Laura DiCaprio is a writer, media director, and amateur clarinetist living in Fairport.

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