More in Painting

How to Paint Stippled Stripes

Use tinted glaze and stiff bristles to add a suede-like effect to painted walls

room with stippled stripes paint effect

Stippling offers a delicate way to soften the impact of a large expanse of color. The micro-suedelike texture is created by pouncing a flat, square brush against a freshly glazed surface. The bristles lift away the colored glaze to expose the base color, but the freckles are so tiny that from a distance your eye blends them into one shade. You could say that the technique adds a lovely haziness to the color.

Precisely because the effect is subtle, you may want to put it to work in a striped pattern to play it up a bit. Here, we used 2-inch painter's tape over the base coat to create our 2-inch-thick white stripes and simply stippled between them. Suddenly a formerly white wall gets a sophisticated cottage look.

Steps // How to Paint Stippled Stripes
1 ×

Lay Out the Stripes, Brush On the Glaze

Step One // How to Paint Stippled Stripes

Lay Out the Stripes, Brush On the Glaze

hand laying out stripes and brushing on glaze for stipple stripes paint effect

Run 2-inch painter's tape along the top of the wall, sealing the edges with a plastic putty knife; this will be the narrow, base-coat-color stripe. Measure and mark a spot 4 inches below the bottom of the tape; extend a line from this point with tick marks across the wall using a level. This will be the wide, stippled stripe. Line up the tape with the tick marks to create the next narrow stripe. And so on, to finish the pattern.

Using two disposable cups, mix equal parts of the top-coat color and glaze in a lined cut bucket. Starting at the left side of the top stripe, brush on a section of glaze about 4 feet wide.

Pro Advice
"To get the pattern to finish evenly, angle a tape measure from ceiling to baseboard until it lands on a number divisible by one pairing of stripes—here, it's 6 inches. Now simply mark along the tape at 6, 12, 18 inches and so on, to get an even spacing of tick marks to guide your taping." —Mark Powers, TOH Senior Technical Editor

2 ×

Stipple the Glaze

Step Two // How to Paint Stippled Stripes

Stipple the Glaze

hand stippling glaze for stipple stripes paint effect

Working quickly so that the glaze doesn't set up, pounce the stippling brush evenly across the wet surface. You should see the base coat begin to peek through where the bristles lift the glaze—it's a subtle effect but clearly visible up close.

When choosing a color to mix with the glaze, keep in mind how much it will lighten or darken your base coat.

3 ×

Finish the Remaining Stripes

Step Three // How to Paint Stippled Stripes

Finish the Remaining Stripes

hands wiping off stippling brush

Before moving on, use a clean, dry rag to wipe glaze off your brush. Repeat this step as necessary throughout the process; if the brush is overloaded, you'll be splashing, not stippling.

Apply glaze to the next section of stripe, slightly overlapping the already textured part, and stipple it in the same way. Work left to right, top to bottom.

When you're finished, remove the tape while the glaze is still tacky to prevent the top coat from being pulled off.


TV Listings

Find TV Listing for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.