Faux Paint Combing – How to use a guide to make even paint combing lines.

Faux paint combing on a smooth wall.
Using a guide to make even paint combing lines isn’t absolutely necessary, but if your goal is a professional looking faux paint combing effect, it certainly lends a hand.

Professional painters turn to the following ideas to achieve stunning results. Using these ideas will help you do the same.

Use Chalk Plumb Lines.

Purchase a chalk plumb line. It’s an inexpensive tool and is very useful. The chalk comes in different colors, so you can even choose to use a color that doesn’t contrast sharply with your paint.

It usually helps to work with a partner when laying plumb lines on a wall. Otherwise you have to put nails in the wall to hold the end with the hook.

Before you use the plumb line, you need to mark the beginning and end of each line. If you are working with a partner, your partner holds the end of the string at one mark. You pull the string tight to the opposite mark, and then snap the string. This leaves a chalk line on the wall.

Snap plumb lines at appropriate intervals across the wall. If you’re using a narrow combing tool, you need to snap more lines, a wider combing tool will require less lines. Be sure that you use light colored chalk.

Use a Straight Edge.

Invest in a 48-inch or 72-inch aluminum “yardstick.” This will give you a good straight edge. Most measuring sticks this long are 2-inches wide.

Use the straight edge to make a lightly colored pencil guide for dragging. Measure off lines at appropriate intervals across the wall. For vertical combing, start at the left side of the wall, and mark intervals across the wall until you reach the other side. (Reverse this if you are left handed.) For horizontal combing, start marking intervals at the bottom of the wall and work your way up toward the ceiling.

Use Painter’s Tape.

Painter’s tape works as well, though it is important to realize that this type of tape is prone to going crooked as you lay it down, especially when you are working horizontally.

For vertical lines, measure intervals across the top and bottom of the wall, and mark with a light pencil mark. Connect the top and bottom marks with the tape to create your guide.

For horizontal lines, measure intervals along the left and right side of the wall. Because this may be a long stretch, I advise making two more marks mid-way. Connect the lines carefully with painter’s tape.

If you have an exceptionally good eye, or you’re faux painting a small area, using a guide to make even combing lines may not be necessary. When you are working large expanses of space, I advise using one of these faux combing guide methods. Choose what works best for you. Thought it requires an investment of your time, it is far better to get the results you want the first time. Even though paint is very cost effective, having to repeat a job twice isn’t any fun.

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