Martha Stewart Paint Techniques

Faux finish painting techniques allow you to create elaborate home interiors.
Faux finish painting techniques allow you to create elaborate home interiors. (Image: Images)

Martha Stewart is well known for her decorating style and extensive line of home and garden products. She has also developed her own line of paints and painting tools and created easy-to-follow Martha Stewart painting techniques. It is not necessary, however, to purchase Martha Stewart products to achieve her painting techniques. The majority of necessary tools and supplies can be found at paint stores and home improvement centers.

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Stenciling Techniques

Stencil painting is a technique where the painter secures plastic stencils to a surface to be painted and applies paint with a paint dabber or sea sponge. Martha Stewart painting techniques involving stencils include stenciling antique copper vines around the border of a large mirror; stenciling rose vines and roses around the outer edge of an occasional table; and stenciling decorative leaves up a flight of stairs. A hallmark of Martha Stewart painting techniques with stencils involves blending colors by applying paint in layers and contrasting the borders of stencils with a color lighter or darker than the main hue. She recommends applying paint in thin coats, using a separate dabber for each color.

Faux Marble Technique

Faux marbling is a Martha Stewart paint technique that allows a painter to create the look of cultured marble in paint. She recommends this technique for painting decorative end tables and buffets. To achieve the faux marble finish, Martha Stewart recommends painting the surface with a flat white paint and then applying an alkyd glaze along with black artist's oil paint and mineral spirits. The surface is then painted with the mixture using a natural-bristle brush, which creates a marbled appearance.

Combing Techniques

A decorative painting technique known as combing allows a painter to create a surface with a rich, texturized look. Martha Stewart recommends this approach for everything from furniture to walls to outdoor pottery pieces. This paint technique involves applying a base coat of paint and then covering it with a glaze in either a complementary or contrasting shade. The painter then uses a painting tool called a comb (which can also be substituted with a flexible plastic hair comb or a piece or corrugated cardboard), pulling the teeth through the top coat of glaze to uncover the base coat, leaving a striped finish that has the look of wood grain. This Martha Stewart paint technique can also be used to paint swirls, checker boards or abstract designs.

Gingham Technique

To create a gingham pattern, the Martha Stewart paint technique to use is that of utilizing a rubber potter's rib to “drag” glazes applied to base coats of paint both vertically and then horizontally. For best results, this technique should be applied in small squared off sections of walls. A painter can create different sizes of gingham finish using this paint technique by using different sizes of potter’s ribs.


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