Monday, October 4, 2010
Linen Walls: Get The Look With Paint
Since first posting the above image of a painted wall treatment meant to resemble linen (or a tweed) fabric in the master bedroom, I've gotten several requests asking for instructions on how to recreate this look. While the bedroom is undergoing a redesign, this treatment, which adds a subtle yet luxurious depth and texture to the walls, has been incorporated into the new design.
I finally had a bit of time this past week to put together this tutorial. For the sake of documenting the process in photographs, the steps were painted on a canvas. If you can, just pretend its a section of wall that is being painted instead! Also, creating this effect is a simple project but with one hard part...it's a time consuming process. Because of this I would suggest this treatment be used on a feature wall rather than all the walls in a room. If you attempted that I suspect you'd be cursing me the entire time.
Begin by painting the selected wall a base color. This will likely be the same paint color used on the other walls in the room, but it could also be another color which coordinates with the main wall color. In this bedroom all walls were painted SW Universal Khaki, with the linen technique applied to the headboard wall in the room.
Next, pour an ample amount of the wall color into a container and mix in white or ivory paint to lighten the color. The amount of lighter paint added will depend on the colors being used and how much contrast between the paint shades is desired. I mixed a ratio of approximately 5 to 1.
Mix the paint colors together.
Then using a small painters brush, apply the lightened color onto the wall in lines. This is done by painting a series of lines across the wall in a crosshatch pattern.
The lines should vary in length, with some painted closer together and others further apart. Repeat this process working from one side of the wall to the other, from the ceiling to the floor. Do you now see why this is a time consuming process?
Once the wall has been covered with the first layer of pattern, mix in another portion of paint, and this time consider using a metallic paint. I used Painter's Touch Brushed Metallic in Platinum. Doing this adds a soft shimmering quality to the final result. Also, depending on the shade of paint used and the degree of contrast desired, additional white or ivory paint may also be added at this time. This is where you will just have to experiment to achieve a look that appeals to you.
Mix the paint colors together.
Repeat the process of covering the wall with a crosshatch pattern, layering the new paint color over the initial layers, being careful not to paint any lines directly over lines painted in the previous step. Painting the crosshatch pattern twice, in the gradually lighter tones, is what creates the look of fabric. When you look at a linen fabric the texture and pattern is a result of subtle differences in the thread color making up the pattern and the shadows created by the texture.
Applying this technique on textured drywall is actually easier than on the canvas I used to show the steps. As you can see in the above close up, the texture of the wall actually lends itself to attaining the look of a fabric. This is due to the brush not being able to easily push the paint down into the texture, with the strokes skimming across the top surface of the texture. So don't be concerned that the lines are "broken" when painting the crosshatch pattern, this is actually something you want to see!
So there you have it. Are you ready to paint a linen looking wall, or do you think ordering a couple rolls of wallpaper is the direction you would opt to go instead?!