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.
- Mark wall in sections
- Brush glaze horizontally
- Drag squeegee through glaze
- Lightly dry-brush lines
- Apply glaze mixture
- Soften and blend lines
- 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
- Fine-tip marker
- Crafts knife
- Self-healing cutting mat
- Metal yardstick
- Three plastic containers with printed measurements
- Glazing medium
- Brush: 4-inch chip
- Lint-free cotton cloths
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Using the chip brush, lightly dry-brush the lines in a horizontal motion to blend and soften.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tape off remaining sections. Repeat the process until the wall is completed. Remove remaining tape; allow to dry.
- 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.
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