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linen effect using paint

How would I paint a wall and get a linen effect?

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Posted 2011-08-04T16:59:42+0000  by greek1949 greek1949


Hey there greek1949,


A great question! With so many different finishes out there and about 50 different ways to do them, it can get confusing sometimes =D



First things first, a list of what materials you'll need for this:

  • Base Coat

This will be your "background" color. You can choose any type of paint be it Behr, Martha Stewart, etc. I would recommend something lighter than your eventual glaze coat, as well as something without a lot of shine (ex. Eggshell)

  • Glaze Color

This is the color the actual linen effect will be in. You'll need less of this than you will of your base coat (you'll need 1 qt. for every gallon of glaze coating you do) Again, this can be mixed in any make of latex paint.

  • Faux Finish

We sell these from either Behr or Martha Stewart in our stores, and either works great for this (I'll be demoing with Martha Stewart for you.) You will actually mix your latex glaze color with this, and it becomes your new glaze coat. Be sure to follow the appropriate mixing proportions on the can, or ask at the paint desk when you're picking the colors out.

  • Linen Dragger

Now we do sell a specific tool for this effect, which I will demo, but there are other ways to go about it that i'll cover later :)

  • Thin Roller or Chip Brush

If you're covering the whole wall, I would use a thin 1/4" nap roller to apply the glaze coat. If you're working in sections, use a small chip brush then.

  • Terry Cloths or Shop Rags

Keep some handy, you'll need em!




I did a quick demo for you to help show you the steps to it. Sometimes it's easier to visualize =D




  1. Apply your base coat like you would normally and let it dry.
  2. Put a thin layer of your glaze coat over it with the roller or chip brush, not too thick though!
  3. As it's still wet, use your linen tool to drag your vertical stripes. Be sure to keep them straight as I mention in the video.
  4. Repeat (3) until you have the lines to the fineness that you want. It's up to you how to make it look =D
  5. Let the vertical striping dry for a minute. If you need more paint, apply a very, very thin amount to the area if needed.
  6. Start your horizontal strokes. Again, make sure to keep them straight and go over it until the lines are as fine as you're looking for.
  7. Let it dry and enjoy!~

Here is a look at my demo up close -> here!


As I mentioned earlier, there are different ways of going about applying this effect. As you can imagine, it will take you some time to apply a full wall of it using that small dragger tool, and you need to go from top to bottom each time. Aside from using that specific dragger, you can also apply it with a brush too! A natural bristle brush works great and the finer the bristles, the finer the lines you'll get. I have also been taught the crazy method of using a sweeping broom to do this. No no, I'm not lying to you. We actually do this as a demo at our store when I do the clinics. It works great for doing really large areas and has you done in half the time! Each way gives you a bit of a different look, so I would experiment a bit with it like I did on the demo board in the video.


Another thing to consider is doing it in sections, as you don't want the paint to dry on you too fast, or else the effect won't work properly. If you need to work in large sections, you'll need to increase the dry time of the paint and make it last longer. Products like Flotrol can help for this, but I have found it best to increase the moisture in the room through means of humidity.


You can ask any questions you have about it either on here, or in your local store's paint desk. I look forward to seeing how it turns out for you, so be sure to share pictures of it!~ =D


Posted 2011-08-05T13:52:28+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI
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