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Redecorate on a Budget With Faux-Painted Walls

Paint is one of the most popular decorative finishes for walls and ceilings. It's inexpensive, easy to apply and can dramatically change a room's appearance.

Elephant Hide Effect

Be sure to wash walls thoroughly and begin by setting a drop cloth across the floor. Once the walls are clean and dry, spread spackling compound on any holes or cracks. Sand the surface where spackling compound was applied and wipe the area free of dust.

Apply painter's tape where appropriate. Starting with the ceiling trim, prime the wall surface, working down. Once all trim areas are complete, add primer to walls with a roller, using a "W" shape. Be sure to criss-cross your strokes, which will minimize drips and smears.

Once the primer is dry, take tissue paper, roll it up, then unroll it to give the paper a crinkled appearance. Spread wallpaper adhesive on a section of wall, then add tissue paper to the treated area. Rub the paper back and forth to leave creases. Continue with this process until the entire wall is covered (figure A).

After the tissue paper is dry, the wall is ready for a base coat of paint. When that is dry, mix one part paint to one part latex glaze. Use a lighter paint shade to highlight the raised areas of the wall. Apply the glaze/paint mixture to the walls with a brush in an up-and-down motion (figure B). Once the paint is dry, remove all taped areas and touch up any surfaces necessary. This costs around $75 and takes two days to complete.


Complete all prep work. Using measuring tape, measure around the perimeter of the room and divide it into equal sections. Transfer the dimensions to graph paper to get a feel for the design. Move furniture to the center of the room. Next, starting on the wall above the door, measure and mark off the width of the stripes using an 8-inch spacer. Use a 4-foot level and pencil to draw straight lines from the ceiling to the floor (figure C). Keep the lines as light as possible.

Mask off all the trim in the room. Starting at the door again, lay (medium adhesion) painter's tape out vertically along the lines, checking each one with a level (figure D). Spread a drop cloth on the floor and cover all furniture with plastic.

Using a brush, paint in between the tape with a (your color choice, such as blue) glaze. Follow the brushing by using a plastic bag dabbed on the surface to subtract the glaze (figure E).

Once the first coat dries, add a second color of darker shade, using the same technique. When this is dry, gently pull the painter's tape from the wall.

Reapply the tape over the treated stripe to outline for the second stripe, which will be a different color (such as yellow). Apply color with a random motion using a rag (figure F). When dry, remove the tape carefully and you are done.

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