Post details: Tone-on-Tone Comb Painting


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Tone-on-Tone Comb Painting

Comb painting lends a subtle, textured look to walls, cabinets, even furnishings. It's one decorative painting technique that anyone can do well.

Comb Painting

Combing -- one of the simplest of decorative paint techniques -- yields handsome results, results that whisper rather than shout. By "combing" a wet coat of paint over a dry base coat, the base coat is revealed in thin lines. The technique is effective for full walls, or for detail beneath a chair rail.

When planning your project, choose two hues with enough contrast between them to differentiate between top and bottom coat. This example shows a gray-green base color combed with a creamier hue on top -- but let your imagination take the lead. Think about red combed over burnt orange, midnight blue combed over purple or emerald green. Regardless of the combination, you should try it out on a scrap board first.

Skill Level: Easy, basic painting skills

Time Required: For a small room, an hour to paint base coat, overnight for the base to dry, and a couple of hours to comb on top coat.

Comb PaintingWhat You Need:

- Semigloss paint in two coordinating hues

- Paint roller or brush

- Rubber decorative paint comb

- Painter's tape, as needed, to tape off any moldings, trim, or ceiling

For the base coat:

1. Tape off any moldings, trim, or ceiling spaces that need protection.

2. Paint the wall with base coat and let it dry completely.

Top coat and combing:

1. Work in one 8-inch section at a time, use a roller or brush to apply the top coat from top of area to be combed to bottom.

Comb Painting2. Holding a paint comb with two hands, drag the comb down the wall in a single, continuous motion.

3. Repeat the process, applying paint and combing in 8-inch sections, until the area to be combed is complete.

4. Remove painter's tape.

Tips and Variations:
If your paint comb is multisided, snip off one or two sides to get the comb into tight corners.

Add some clear glaze to your paint to lengthen the drying time (the time you have to work the paint).

Comb the raised panels of cabinets for a unique textural look. (Base and top coat can be same hue.)

Vary the basic straight-combed look by combing zigzags, swirls, or crosshatches.

Better Homes and Gardens



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