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metal comb
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Faux Painting Ideas - Combing
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Faux Painting Ideas  -  Combing

Applying an interesting texture on your walls is easy and it’s fun to do.

You don’t always have to wallpaper the walls to arrive at a texture. You can achieve a rich, tactile, dimensional surface with only a tool and latex paint.

Interior designers have been incorporating combed walls in their rooms for years. It always looks inviting, and lends an air of sophistication and intimacy whenever used. The first time I saw it was at the Kips Bay Show House in New York City. It was so well done and unique, it left a lasting impression on me.

You can create your own unique texture with this technique. And you don’t have to worry about making a mistake. I will give you all the steps and materials, everything you need to know.

The combing technique is not limited to walls. Although it’s wonderful on walls, you can apply it to old furniture that you found at Goodwill, or in a consignment shop, or in your own attic. You can give new life to a forgotten dresser or chair. You can also comb storage boxes.

Specialty shops are full of refurbished furnishings, treated with faux finishes and selling for very high prices. Now you will be able to create your own unique pieces for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one from a chic shop

You will need one or two combs. These are special combs designed for this purpose. There is a rubber comb and a metal comb. You don’t need to buy both unless you want to. The rubber version has two key sizes. The metal one is the classic comb that everyone uses. It’s referred to as a single wave comb because its keys are just one size. Combs can be purchased at paint stores and craft stores. You will also need one or two glazes, plus a base coat and a primer.

Are your walls begging for personality? Then let’s get started.

Your walls should be clean, sanded, and smooth. Even if your walls are in good condition, you will want to apply a primer.

Decide what two colors you want to use to make your texture. We like tonals: two tones of the same color, maybe one a little darker than the other. Just be sure your colors are compatible. Use latex paint. One color will be the base color, and the second color will be the glaze color that you will comb. You may decide to use a third color (glaze) as well, but don’t worry about that yet.

The base coat should be a semi gloss or satin latex paint (not flat, nor matte, nor gloss finish).

Apply the base color on the wall with a roller in a “W” pattern. Go back over the wall until it is completely covered and there is no streaking. For best results, apply a second coat of the base paint, making sure the wall is completely covered.

The second color we will refer to as the glaze. It is one part satin finish or semi gloss latex paint plus four parts latex glaze. The glaze has a thick milky consistency that will give your combed wall its characteristic transparent, dimensional look. The glaze will also allow you enough time to comb the wall before the paint sets up.

Be sure to mix enough glaze color to complete the entire room, but keep those one to four proportions. Mix the paint and glaze thoroughly.

Apply the glaze with a roller, starting at the top left corner of the wall. Paint a horizontal strip clear across to the other side of the wall. Paint a foot and a half wide strip. Make sure it’s covered well. The reason you paint a strip at a time is because you want to be able to comb the area before the paint sets up.

When the strip is painted, you can start to comb (make your texture).

Start at the upper left corner and comb clear across the wall in a continuous rhythm. Don't lift the comb. After you have completed the first pass, clean your comb with a clean soft cloth.

Now, make a new strip of glaze that slightly overlaps the first strip. Don’t make the strip too wide, about a foot and a half. Match the comb keys with the textural pattern that is already on the wall so that you see no interruption of pattern.

Repeat the process. Do the next strip and the next until you finish the wall.

Allow the wall to dry completely.

A single comb texture can be fine as is. However, you may want to continue adding color and texture to the wall.

If so, choose a second darker latex paint that compliments the first color.

Once again, mix the color with latex glaze in the one to four proportion. Be sure to mix enough color to complete the job.

Roll the second glaze color vertically this time, covering no more than a two foot vertical strip. Start at the left. Comb down the length of the wall. This will give you an interesting woven look. Continue until the texture is throughout the entire wall. Your room is finished.

What if you want a different texture, such as a swirl, a scroll, a wave, or a crisscross pattern?

You can do whatever you like. Just be sure to make the texture consistent throughout so that the pattern will flow nicely. You want the eye to travel across the wall and not get snagged on any element.

Congratulations! It’s time to arrange the furniture and enjoy the great job you have done.


Street Talk

Interesting ideas Joan, very nice!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

Glad you like it Maria.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Joan, my wife really enjoyed this article. Me, I hate painting, lol

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

Hi Shawn. Glad your wife enjoyed it.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Love the article Joan, just one question, in Africa a dusty continent, does dust not collect in these patterns? It all sounds so easy they way you explain it, I'm sure though it's not.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

Thanks Rob. To answer your question, no more than any wall. Just go over it with the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner from time to time. The relief pattern on the wall is shallow, and certainly no more than grass cloth. It's easy to do. Just need a steady hand. There are professional faux technique painters who can do it for you.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks Joan it certain sounds different and sometimes one just wants one different wall in a room,,, Linda and I might just try this...

  
  about 9 years ago
  

Go for it Rob. It has a decorative polished look.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Combing to add texture to a boring wall of paint a Brilliant idea Joan Great article

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

Thanks Jacob. The finished wall looks wonderful.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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