Two Asian-Look Wall Techniques

Find out how to accomplish two Asian-theme paint effects: crisp grass cloth and exotic stylized clouds.


Enlarge Image Freehand designs in abstract cloud patterns add to the Asian theme.

For centuries, Asian artists have captured nature's beauty in a unique, surrealistic style whose bold aesthetics, at once striking and serene, translate well to modern living.

These Asian clouds capture that style, and even if you are a novice artist, you can give them a try. Just express your creativity by painting a freehand design onto the wall.

The trick is to first draw the design on the base-coated wall using a colored pencil. When you are satisfied with the result, apply a stretchable automotive striping tape along the lines.

Brush an orange-red glaze mixture onto the wall using a horizontal dragging motion, then remove the tape to reveal the lines, seemingly etched in gold.

To increase the richness of the color, apply a dark brown stain to the entire wall. Use this technique to create any linear design or motif that complements your decorating style.

Download and Print the Cloud Pattern

Basic Steps
  • Create design with tape
  • Drag glaze horizontally
  • Add thickened mixture
  • Remove tape and repeat
  • Apply gel stain with cloth
Gather Your Supplies
  • 2-inch blue low-tack painter's tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Stir sticks
  • Paint tray
  • Standard roller frame with 9-inch roller cover
  • Paints: gold satin-finish latex paint for base coat; red satin-finish latex paint for glaze coat
  • Colored pencil: tan
  • 1/4-inch plastic automotive striping tape
  • Crafts knife
  • Glazing medium
  • Plastic container with printed measurements
  • Brush: 4-inch chip
  • Minwax Aged Oak gel stain
  • Small paint pan
  • Rubber gloves
  • Lint-free cotton cloths
Instructions
  1. Prep: Mask ceiling, baseboards, and trim with painter's tape.
  2. Paint the wall in the gold base color. Paint two coats if necessary. Leave tape on; let dry overnight.
  3. Sketch the design onto the wall with a colored pencil. Tape along the lines with striping tape. Pull gently on the tape to stretch it around curves, pressing it firmly to the wall as you go. Cut the tape with a crafts knife to prevent tearing. Burnish the tape with your finger.
  4. Mix 1 part red paint to 4 parts glazing medium in a plastic container. Using a 4-inch chip brush, drag the glaze mixture in horizontal strokes across the wall. Work down from the top of the wall. Keep the first coat light; let dry.
  5. Add paint to the glaze mixture, thickening it to 1 part paint and 1 part glaze. Drag the brush lightly across the surface, varying the amount of glaze mixture and the pressure on the brush to create small patches of heavier color.
  6. Remove the tape while the glaze is still wet, and repeat Step 3. Let dry.
  7. Pour gel stain into a small paint pan. Wearing rubber gloves, apply stain to the surface with a clean cotton cloth. Work in small areas, feathering the edges to avoid overlapping lines. Continue until the wall is completed. Remove tape; let dry.
Enlarge Image Handcrafted accessories, as well as those made from natural products such as wicker and bamboo, make perfect accents.

Grass cloth wall coverings are a popular way to evoke the faraway cultures of Asia as well as the rich texture of natural grasses.

A painted grass cloth finish can be a stylish substitute for expensive wall coverings without their potential fraying and easy soiling. Also, by painting instead of wallpapering the design, you can vary the colors to suit your decor.

Grass cloth adds interest to a wide variety of settings. It is a natural choice for plantation- and Asian-theme rooms, but also works in transitional and relaxed modern decor.

Basic Steps
  • Mark wall in sections
  • Brush glaze horizontally
  • Drag squeegee through glaze
  • Lightly dry-brush lines
  • Apply glaze mixture
  • Soften and blend lines
Gather Your Supplies
  • 2-inch low-tack painter's tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Stir sticks
  • Paint tray
  • Standard roller frame with 9-inch roller cover
  • Paints: antique-white satin-finish latex paint for base coat; warm-olive, greenish-gray, and mossy-brown satin-finish latex paints for glaze coat
  • Squeegee notched into points
  • Ruler
  • Fine-tip marker
  • Crafts knife
  • Self-healing cutting mat
  • Metal yardstick
  • Pencil
  • Three plastic containers with printed measurements
  • Glazing medium
  • Brush: 4-inch chip
  • Lint-free cotton cloths
Instructions
  1. Prep: Mask ceiling, baseboards, and trim with painter's tape. Paint the entire wall in the antique-white base coat color. Paint two coats if necessary. Leave tape on; let dry overnight.
  2. Use a ruler and fine-tip marker to divide the blade of the squeegee into 1/2-inch sections. Cut out a small notch, approximately 1/8-inch wide, at every mark with a crafts knife; use a safe cutting surface, such as a self-healing cutting mat.
  3. Using a metal yardstick and pencil, mark the wall in 3-foot-wide sections. Tape off alternating vertical sections with 2-inch painter's tape. In a plastic container, mix 4 parts glaze to 1 part warm-olive paint. Use the same process to make two additional glazes with greenish-gray paint and mossy-brown paint.
  4. Dip the chip brush into varying combinations of glaze mixes. Starting at the top of the wall, brush glaze onto the first taped-off section using a horizontal motion.
  5. While the glaze is still wet, place the squeegee on top of one taped edge and drag horizontally until you reach the opposite edge, pulling the squeegee onto the tape. Wipe excess glaze onto a cloth after each pass. Overlap the squeegee pulls to create a continuous pattern.
  6. Using the chip brush, lightly dry-brush the lines in a horizontal motion to blend and soften.
  7. Move down the wall, brushing on glaze with the chip brush. Overlap your brush strokes into the previously glazed section to create a continuous pattern.
  8. Drag the squeegee horizontally through the glaze in the same manner as in Step 3. If glaze becomes too dry to produce continuous lines, add a small amount of water to your mixtures and reapply the glaze with a chip brush. This will dampen the surface and allow a clean sweep with the squeegee.
  9. Lightly soften the lines with the chip brush, using a horizontal motion before the glaze dries. Continue until you've finished the section; let dry.
  10. Tape off remaining sections. Repeat the process until the wall is completed. Remove remaining tape; allow to dry.
Tips
  • Divide the wall into panels by taping off 3-foot-wide sections. To create the effect, dip your brush into varying combinations of glazes and apply to the wall.
  • Drag a notched squeegee horizontally across the wet glazed surface, overlapping strokes to create a continuous pattern. Blend the lines with a brush to create a soft effect.
Enlarge Image Better Homes and Gardens® Decorative Paint Techniques & Ideas

With more than 400 step-by-step photos, Better Homes and Gardens® Decorative Paint Techniques & Ideas shows you how to create 50 decorative finishes, from popular aged and stone looks to new techniques such as wicker and grass cloth. Decorative Paint Techniques & Ideas; Meredith Books; www.bhgbooks.com; 2005; 192 pages; $19.95


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