Decorative Paint Technique: Parchment Instructions

From our online exclusive Decorative Paint Techniques with Danielle Hirsch of Color Splash . This Old-World look resembles parchment paper and fits in today's modern homes. Follow these instructions from Danielle Hirsch.


An elegant technique for painters of all levels, parchment is one of the most popular decorative finishes used on walls today.

Difficulty level: 1 out of 5

Danielle's Tips

  • Tonality is the color or shade of color; quality of color.
  • Work from top to bottom on the walls to avoid drip marks.
  • Stand a few feet away from the wall to determine where fixes are needed, making sure the paint is dry before doing touch-ups.
  • Using a flat sheen for the top coat colors will yield a fresco/stucco look.

Materials and Tools:

latex paint: (base coat, eggshell sheen: Linen White); (top coat colors, eggshell or flat sheen: Dark Mustard 2161-30 and Nugget AC-9) – Benjamin Moore
paint tray
2" and 4" china bristle brushes
water bottle
latex glaze (Studio Finishes 405) – Benjamin Moore
plastic containers


1. Prepare the walls for painting; apply the base coat and let dry.

2. In separate containers, mix one part of each top coat color with one part latex glaze and one part water. Prepare the damp cheesecloth by folding or tucking in the corners so when you're working, there aren't "tails" whipping around.



3. In a 4'x4' area, apply one squiggly line of each color to add depth. Work the cheesecloth in a figure-eight rubbing pattern on the outside first to fan out the paint around the edges. Create texture on the inside by dabbing the paint to move it around (figure A). Once done with this area, resist the temptation to finesse it until the paint is completely dry because holes or overlapping paint lines could result.

4. Finish an entire wall in this manner before fixing any areas. If the cheesecloth begins to feel gummy or doesn't move with ease, rinse it with tap water.



5. To fix problem spots, brush a few strokes of two parts of the base coat paint mixed with one part water over the area and soften it with a dry china bristle brush (figure B). Brush the lighter paint color mixture on the cheesecloth, and dab over the problem spot. Add more texture by alternating between the light and dark paint color mixtures.

This parchment technique is such a small effort for a huge payoff. It's also the foundation for many other decorative finishes.

Next Up

Stories We're Following

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.