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Decorative Painting Technique: Linen and Canvas Look


Give your painted walls a linen or canvas look with these decorative painting tips

Walls can acquire a linen or canvas look without the effort of applying wallpaper. These decorative painting techniques utilize one or two basecoats and one glaze coat plus a top finish for protection. This technique also requires two days and we recommend two people for the job.

Always keep in mind, when starting a new faux or decorative painting project to:
1) practice first on a piece of primered wood.
2) You do not have to paint all four walls. A single accent wall may add more drama and emotion to your room.

You will be re-creating the look of wallpaper, so it is important to work in sections that are similar in size. You will create "seams" with painter's tape. You will need a specialized brush - either linen or canvas - and a few clean, soft rags for wiping the brush. To apply the glaze, you will need a roller and pan.

Begin by taping the ceiling edges and the corners of each wall. You want to protect the opposing walls until they are ready to be glazed.

Start with a semi-gloss basecoat. This sheen will add depth to the walls. When the basecoat has dried thoroughly, you will be ready to mark off and tape the sections to be glazed. Use chalk to create a straight line from floor to ceiling in 36-inch or 42-inch sections. Remember, you are simulating wallpaper strips.

When you are ready to glaze, you will work your way around the room on the first day with every other section; even-odd, even-odd. On the second day, you will re-tape over the glazed sections and repeat.

When taping, be sure to tape to the inside of the section that will not be painted on the first day. Also, remove all chalk marks as they will show up underneath your glaze.

One person will do the roller and brush work, while a second will pour out glaze, dab the roller, and observe for trouble areas. Pour out only enough glaze for each single section.

Use the roller to cover the entire section from ceiling to floor. Start at the top and work your dry brush from right to left or left to right. End each stroke on top of the tape. (Note: you will probably want to use the widest tape available.) This will give you a nice seam without too much buildup. After each swipe, clean the brush with rags. Continue working your way downward with the side-to-side brushing.

You will need to work quickly while the glaze is still wet and pliable. As soon as you reach the baseboard, start again at the ceiling and draw the brush lightly from top to bottom. The bristles should bend slightly; too much pressure will remove the side-to-side lines. You do not have to draw perfectly straight sweeps with the brush, but a steady hand will be an advantage. You are not trying to achieve uniform or continuous lines; that is the beauty of canvas and linen.

Allow the first sections to dry before removing the tape. You will get a crisper line if you lightly cut into the glaze at the edge of the tape with an artist's knife.

To complete the odd sections, you can re-tape in two ways:

1. Butt the tape up to the unpainted section.
2. Offset the tape about 1/16 inch so you will create a small overlap onto the dried glaze. This will give you a more defined seam.

Repeat the process from the day before. Allow plenty of drying time before you add the polyurethane finish.

Whether you choose a canvas or linen look, your walls will take on an elegant, but contemporary feel and add new dimension to the room.

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