How to Affordably Create a Linen Look with Paint

If you have items in a room that are dreadfully plain and could use a paint makeover, painting them so that they resemble fabric, or more specifically in this case, linen, can create a great visual punch that livens the space. Or, if you are feeling more daring, painting the entire room with a linen look will definitely give the room an entire makeover. The results are astounding and the price, energy and skill to do so are all very minimal.

First gather together the tools that you will need.

The amount of paint you need to cover the project you are doing, latex-based in satin or semi gloss. You will need one color for your base paint and a variation or coordinating color that will be mixed with glaze to go over the top of it (to create the linen appearance)


A small whisk broom, hand held

A paint mixer (the wooden stick that comes with many paints is fine)

Bucket to mix glaze and paint in

Paint Roller and Tray


The first step is to paint the area you are working on and then allow it to dry completely.

Mix your glaze and coordinating paint together in a bucket. Use two parts of glaze to one part of paint.

Step two is to use your paint roller to run the mixture you made in step one over one section of the wall or item you are painting. You have to work in small sections because the glaze and paint dries quickly.

Use the whisk broom on the wet section to create the linen look lines. First you will go across the item being painted in a horizontal sweep, starting at the top going from left to right. Then you will move the whisk broom directly under the place you have ended your sweep and brush back from the opposite direction (going right to left). Be careful to wipe the broom after each stroke with a clean rag to rid the broom of excess glaze. Repeat this over and over until you have reached the bottom of the wet section. Remember that the mixture dries quickly so you have to do this in a relatively quick manner.

Hold your whisk broom at the top of the section you just whisked your horizontal lines, and brush long, vertical lines over the entire wet section. Again, make sure to do this quickly because your glaze mixture is already drying. Be careful to wipe the broom after each stroke with a clean rag to rid the broom of excess glaze.

Repeat this process in sections until you have completed the job. Allow to dry.

You now have a room or item that looks like it has been custom covered in linen fabric. It is a very crisp and refreshing way to liven up the look of a room or an item, and it is not at all expensive or difficult to do.

For variation, depending on what you are painting, you can use painter’s tape to assist you in giving the illusion of visual seams. Simply whisk one section of the wall over a painted wall, as directed above and allow to dry. For the next section, align painter’s tape in a straight vertical fashion, starting on the inside edge of the section you just finished. Make sure the overlap is the size you want your seam to appear to be. Apply glaze and paint mixture in the horizontal and then vertical brush strokes, as described above. Allow to dry and repeat, using the painter’s tape for each section Keep sections uniform in size when applying the seaming technique.

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