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Decorative Painting Techniques: Damask

Damask creates the tone-on-tone look of fine wallpaper

Wall With Character - Damask
Photo by Patrik Rytikangas

Introduction:

Wallpaper is hard to put up and a pain to remove, but this easy stencil technique creates the look of elegant tone-on-tone paper without the hassle. Flat paint applied in a pattern onto a semigloss base coat catches the light in different ways, reflecting both light and dark, just like woven damask cloth. This method works well with latex paints—all you'll need is flat paint for the stenciling and semigloss wall paint, both in the same color. You can buy stencils ready-made or cut your own out of Mylar.

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.


Steps // Decorative Painting Techniques: Damask
1 ×

Lay Out the Pattern

 
Step One // Decorative Painting Techniques: Damask

Lay Out the Pattern

Damask
Photo by Patrik Rytikangas

•Paint the entire wall in semigloss paint (at least two coats). Allow to dry.

•Mark the width of the stencil's pattern, or repeat, on the wall.

•Using a chalk line filled with baby powder (easier to clean up than real chalk), snap guide lines along your marks.

 
2 ×

Tape Up the Stencil

 
Step Two // Decorative Painting Techniques: Damask

Tape Up the Stencil

Tape Up the Stencil
Photo by Patrik Rytikangas

•Align the stencil pattern with the chalk lines.

•Affix the stencil to the wall with blue painter's tape.

 
3 ×

Load the Brush

 
Step Three // Decorative Painting Techniques: Damask

Load the Brush

Load the Brush
Photo by Patrik Rytikangas

•Put some of the flat paint on a clean plate or cardboard palette.

•Dip the brush lightly into the paint, then dab off the excess on a paper towel.

 
4 ×

Stencil the Pattern

 
Step Four // Decorative Painting Techniques: Damask

Stencil the Pattern

Stencil the Pattern
Photo by Patrik Rytikangas

•Holding the plastic stencil tight against the wall, dab the brush over the pattern in quick, straight taps.

CAUTION: Don't brush across the stencil or paint will get under the plastic and bleed beyond the pattern.

 
 
 

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