How to Create a Herringbone-Pattern Tabletop
Transform a tired surface with glaze, tape, and a toothy tool
If you like the textured look of herringbone, see what a paint comb can do. Drawing a comb through wet colored glaze gave this plain laminate table an almost three-dimensional look. "This is one of my favorite tricks," says decorative painter Ingrid Leess. "The best part is, if you don't like the way the pattern looks, as long as the glaze is still wet you can just wipe it away and start again."
Leess started out by sanding and priming the table, and putting down a base coat. She used a satin finish, which helps the glaze coat go on and come off more smoothly. The herringbone pattern was created with equal parts latex paint and clear acrylic glaze. Glaze slows the drying time, but when choosing a color, keep in mind that glaze will also lighten it, Leess says. To minimize drips, wipe off the comb after each pass. When the pattern is dry, top it with a protective coat of polyurethane.
Once you get handy with the technique, you can experiment with waves, zigzags, and crosshatches and on other surfaces, from walls to flower pots. For a closer look at herringbone how-to, read on.
Paint: Mythic's White (base coat), Sunny at Heart (glaze coat), and Brooks Bay (walls)
If you like the ordered feel of geometric lines, you'll love what a paint comb can do for you. It offers an expedient way to work a pattern of evenly spaced parallel stripes into glaze. How you apply them—in squiggles, chevrons, a crisscrossing design—is up to you.
We blocked out a bright, bold herringbone on the old laminated table here to inject some eye-opening zing into a breakfast nook. It's a lively twist on an age-old pattern and much easier to execute than it might seem. Just tape off rows and drag a comb diagonally across half of them in one direction, then half in the other.
You can buy a comb, or, for a more homespun look, craft your own by snipping teeth out of a plastic lid or putty knife.