Linen Paint Technique


Linen is cloth made from the flax plant, which is a reedlike tall plant with long fibers. Flax plants are soaked in water until the hard exterior rots away, leaving behind its soft interior fibers. By 30,000 B.C., people in Central Asia spun linen cloth and made linen rope. Linen is still a very desirable cloth with a textured, striated weave. In lieu of expensive wallpaper, you can use a simple faux linen painting technique to recreate the look of linen on your walls.

Things You'll Need

  • Painter's tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Latex semigloss paint in two shades of the same color
  • 2 paint trays
  • Paint rollers
  • Latex glazing medium
  • Paint stirrer
  • Assistant
  • Linen-technique brush
  • Rags
  • Tape any moldings or window and door frames with painter's tape to prevent paint splatters. Place a drop cloth on the floor to protect floors from paint.

  • Pour the darker shade of paint into a paint tray, and roll onto the entire wall with your paint roller. Wait for it to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Mix together three parts of your latex glazing medium and one part of the lighter-color paint in a large bucket. Stir with a paint stirrer. Pour some of the mixture into a clean paint tray.

  • Roll the glaze and paint mixture with a clean paint roller vertically up and down your wall in strips. Do not overlap the strips. Roll three strips and have your assistant drag the linen-technique brush straight down the wall firmly. Wipe the brush with a rag after your assistant completes one drag.

  • Roll strips of the glaze and paint mixture as your assistant drags the linen-technique brush down each section of wall you rolled. Do not overlap the brushing.

  • Drag the linen-technique brush horizontally across the wall once you have completed the wall with vertical drags. Drag evenly and level across, and wipe the brush after each horizontal drag. Allow the wall to dry completely for 24 hours.

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  • Photo Credit detail of a linen book cover image by Bruce Amos from
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