Compared to silk’s flashy finish, linen offers an organic, natural look that can go formal or casual. Linen’s airy weave, with its distinctive nubby texture, proves popular for warm-weather garments because it breathes easily. On walls it has a similar effect, adding an understated backdrop of texture and pattern for furniture and art. Consider painting a linen look in an entranceway, a tropical-them powder room, or a quiet reading corner.
Semigloss paint diluted in 4:1 ratio with decorator’s glaze gives an almost transparent look. Use a low-nap roller to apply an even coat of the mixture, or the glaze will go on too think, says decorative painter Patricia Mohr Kramer. (Or you may want to experiment with specialty line-look paints available from some manufacturers.)
While the glaze is still wet, drag a linen faux-finish brush through it horizontally and then vertically. The brush should have stiff, synthetic bristles that are graduated in length. Wipe the bristles clean after each pass. Removing paint in two directions results in a pattern that looks like woven threads. Don’t worry about the “nubs” of paint that appear, Kramer says; they just add to the authentic linen look.
Get the Look
Gather Your Supplies
- Painter’s tape
- Sherwin-Williams semigloss finish latex paints: Vanillin SW6371 and Harvester SW6373
- Water-base glazing medium
- Mixing container
- Paint tray
- 1/4-inch nap paint roller and roller fram
- Trim brush
- 7-inch-wice linen weaver brush
- Lint-free cloths
- Crafts knife
Start to Finish
- Base coat with two coats of vanillin allowing pain to dry between coats.
- This techniques is painted in alternating sections. Allow the glaze to dry before proceeding to adjacent sections the next day. Using a level, ruler, and chalk, measure and mark the walls in even sections no more than 40 inches wide. Tape the outside edges of every other section to be painted. If you end a section in a corner, tape the edges of the adjoining wall where it meets the corner. After marking and taping, wipe away chalk marks as they will smear and show under the glaze.
- Mix a glaze in ration of 4 parts glazing medium to 1 part Harvester. Use a paint roller to apply a think layer of glaze over an entire taped-off wall section. Finish with light ceiling-to-floor- strokes to even out the roller marks.
- Beginning at the top left-hand corner of the section, drag the dry linen weaver brush across the section from left to right in a smooth, firm stroke. Wipe the brush bristles with a lint-free cloth. Directly on top of the first stroke drag across the section from right to left, using the opposite side of the brush bristles. Wipe the brush again. Continue down the length of the wall. NOTE: Start and stop each horizontal stroke on the tape. When working with a corner, drag in one direction from the corner outward.
- For the vertical strokes, start at the ceiling and lightly sweep the linen weaver brush down to the floor. The brush should skim the surface, leaving vertical lines but not erasing the horizontal lines. Wipe the brush and continue the vertical strokes until the section is complete.
- Pull off the vertical strips of painter’s tape immediately after dragging and while the glaze is still wet. Allow the first glazed section to dry overnight before taping and painting alternate sections. To abut the seams, place the tape on top of the dried glaze along the edge where the sections meet. After all sections are dry, remove the tape along the ceiling. Use a crafts knife to score along the edge of the ceiling where the tape and the glaze meet before pulling off the tape.