Introduction

a wall painted with a faux fabric finish
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Dragging, or strie, is a way to add interest to a smooth surface. The technique is as simple as pulling a dry brush through a coat of wet tinted glaze. It allows a range of looks, including striking, fabric-like "weaves." One thing to know before getting started: "You've really got to work quickly," says decorative painter Ingrid Leess, who recommends having one person roll on the glaze while another one does the dragging. The effect is pronounced when there's a clear contrast between the base- and glaze-coat colors; tones of similar intensity can yield a subtler look. Witness the play of color and texture shown here. Below the crisp white chair rail, Behr's Cornflower Blue is topped by a crisscross pattern of Mesmerize over Starless Night, evoking the warmth of your favorite jeans. Above it, Behr's Ashwood is topped by a one-way pattern in Ultra Pure White for a look that's closer to starched linen.

Tip: Dragging the brush from top to bottom is easier when a wall is divided into sections.
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    Tools List

    • paintroller
      Paint roller
    • styrofoam cups
      Styrofoam cups
    • stir sticks
      Stir sticks
    • paint tray and liner
      Paint tray and liners
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    • 3-inch angled paintbrush
      3-inch angled paintbrush
    • 4-inch-wide stiff-bristle brush
      4-inch-wide stiff-bristle brush. Look for a brush that is stiff and coarse, like a whisk broom, a scrub brush, or this wallpaper paste brush with the soft tips lopped off.
    • cleaning rag
      Clean rag or paper towel

    Shopping List

    Clear acrylic latex glaze

    Latex paint
    Two colors for the upper walls and three colors for the wainscot; the base coat should be a satin finish or glossier.