Before rollers and latex, paint was a thick emulsion that went on with tedious brushing. Bristle marks were often visible, and they became more prominent as years and dirt accumulated. The strie technique mimics the look of centuries-old paint altered by dust and sun. It's best used on paneling or other woodwork; in white, it's perfect for creating French country kitchen cabinets.

Finkelstein creates the effect by layering coats of glaze tinted a base color onto a paneled wall; each layer darkens the surface. Then he runs a brush through the glaze to create bristle marks that reveal the lighter base. He accents the most recessed section of the panel with a second glaze in a related color..

Getting Started

The secret to decorative painting is glaze, a transparent coating that's tinted and applied over a painted wall. Glazes come in latex (water-based) and alkyd (oil) formulas. Finkelstein recommends the latter for its longer working time. Note, however, that alkyd glaze requires an alkyd base coat, and cleanup means mineral spirits or turpentine. Glazes are sold untinted, so to get the color you want you'll need to add pigment. Many paint stores will sell you small amounts of the pigments they use to tint paint separately; for as little as $5 you should be able to purchase enough to tint a gallon. To get the color right, fill a small bucket with glaze and add pigment drop by drop. Make sure your base paint and all glazes are thoroughly mixed and that you try them out together on a test piece of primed drywall before you begin.
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    Tools List

    • Glazing Brush
      Glazing brush round with rounded bristles
    • Stipple Brush
      Stipple brush oblong, with flat bristles
    • Spalter Brush
      Spalter brush thin and rectangular, with squared-off bristles; toothed spalter brush can be used instead
    • Toothed Spalter Brush
      Toothed spalter brush spalter brush with chunks of bristles removed to enhance brush marks

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