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How to Paint Faux Grasscloth the Easy Way

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How to Paint a Faux Grasscloth Treatment on Walls using Paint and Glazing Medium

When I decided to use a dark color for the top section of the walls in the “hallway of darkness” I knew I would have to do a paint technique that would add texture to disguise the fact that the surface of the walls is rough. After thinking of all the faux paint treatments that I used to paint on walls and furniture back in the 90’s using paint and glazing medium, I decided to paint the walls using a faux grasscloth paint technique.

I have the painting tutorial for you today, but more in the form of an overall process since I accidentally deleted some of the photos of the steps from my camera. :-(   Not all, but some, so I wrote the post more as an overall process so that you can see how I did it. I even made a video to show you what is involved in painting each section of the wall so it will resemble grasscloth.

Painting walls using an easy faux grasscloth technique

Here is what the walls looked like before. There is still wallpaper on the walls in the photo, but it was easy to remove since it was already peeling off.

how to make a fake transom for over a door or window

Covering the bottom section with bead board hid a lot of the problem, the top however needed something creative to make it look good.

how to paint faux grasscloth walls

Painting faux grasscloth in a dark color worked perfectly.

Different types of grasscloth wallpaper

If you are not familiar with grasscloth, it is a wallpaper that has a woven texture made from a range of materials, some natural, including hemp, reed, arrowroot, jute as well as man made materials.  They have a similar look and feel, with a pattern that is primarily horizontal and tactile. Most grass-cloth wallpapers have a single linear texture, although some may have a basket-weave pattern that offers both vertical and horizontal patterning.


The faux grasscloth I created is very subtle.  I painted it on the walls using the basketweave style that was much easier then the standard horizontal only method of taping off sections with painter’s tape, dragging a brush horizontally through the wet paint/glaze mixture, letting it dry, removing the and re-taping to do the next panel.

Instead I pencil marked off the sections and dragged the brush vertically first. This created a vertical line that made an edge that resembled a seam in wallpaper, no vertical taping needed.

How To Create Faux Grasscloth on Walls the Easy Way

How to paint faux grasscloth on walls

What is Glazing Liquid or Medium?

To create any faux finish you need paint and clear glazing liquid. It is sold where paint is sold. I have bought it in bottles as well as quart sized cans. Glaze is white, but will dry clear.

The name “glaze” often confuses many people who mistakenly think glaze will add a shine, but glaze is not shiny. All it is, is an additive to add to paint that offers translucency and a longer drying time so that you have time to work and re-work the paint to create texture or faux finishes.

supplies needed:

  • 2 colors of paint that are the same shade, but one slightly lighter than the other. I used Behr Nobility Blue PPU15-01 in a Satin finish and Clark and Kensington (Ace Hardware) Heirloom China 37C-7 in a Flat finish.
  • White semi-gloss paint if wall you want to paint over has a flat finish.
  • Clear glazing liquid/medium
  • Paint roller and roller tray
  • 1″ – angled paint brush
  • 12″ long wallpaper paste brush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Measuring tape and pencil

You can use any type of brush from a whisk broom to a shoe shine brush to create the texture and horizontal or vertical lines in the paint to resemble the texture in grasscloth. I think wallpaper smoothing brushes work the best though.

Before starting:

Start out on a wall that has semi-gloss paint on it. This is needed so the paint/glaze mixture glides over it. If doing this over a wall with flat paint, the new coats of paint will sink into the flat finish and not sit on top. You want the paint to sit on top so it creates texture.

Since grasscloth does not match up, I did not worry about keeping things perfectly straight, but you could mask out each section with painter’s tape and do every other section, let dry, remove the tape and then do the remaining sections if you want all your lines to match up.

Use a wide strip of painter’s tape along the ceiling where it meets the wall. This will allow you to place the tip of the dragging brush bristles right up to the ceiling edge and then drag it down through the paint.

I used two colors and sheens of Navy paint to create a subtle contrast between the colors:

  • The first coat/color that I dragged the brush through vertically was Behr Nobility Blue PPU15-01 in a Satin finish.
  • The second coat that I dragged the brush through horizontally was Clark and Kensington Heirloom China 37C-7 in a Flat finish.

I mixed each of the paint colors with glazing liquid:

  • 1 cup of paint to 2 cups of glaze.  If you want a more transparent look, add more glaze to the paint.

I marked 29″ wide sections on the wall. Each section to resemble a sheet of 29″ wide wallpaper. Where the sections met became the seam. I painted each section separately.

I wanted a basketweave effect, so I dragged through each section twice, first vertically. Once it was dry I rolled the second color on and dragged the brush horizontally, but you may like the look of the vertical dragging and want to leave it like that. It is fine since anything goes when you DIY. :-)

I applied the paint/glaze mixture to the wall with a small roller.

Right after I rolled the paint/glaze on in one section, I quickly dragged a dry wallpaper smoothing brush through the paint while it was still wet from top to bottom of the section to create subtle vertical stripes.

Note: If you don’t get one dragged section as straight as you would like, you can simply roll over the area again with the paint/glaze mixture and then re-drag the brush. That is one reason paint with glaze mixed in is so nice to work with.

After dragging the brush, I used a rag to remove the excess paint from the brush before using it again. I continued this process around the wall, rolling the paint on with a roller for the next section right up against the edge of the just just dragged section.

When the first, vertically dragged coats I applied to the wall were dry, I then rolled on a second coat of paint/glaze over each section, but used the second color (Heirloom China 37C-7 mixed with glaze: 1 cup of paint to 2 cups of glaze) and dragged the brush horizontally across the section of wall starting along the ceiling line.

Since the ceiling line is straight, it was easy to keep the brush even as I dragged across using the ceiling as my level guide. Once I had this first horizontal strip dragged, I placed the brush right under this first dragged section and slightly overlapped the previous brush marks and dragged the brush across the wall using the previous dragged brush strokes as my guide. I repeated this process until I had all the rolled on paint in the section horizontally dragged.

When all the paint was dry, we added the bead board paneling and cap to the lower 3/4’s of the wall.

faux grasscloth painted walls made easy

I mentioned in the beginning of the post that I made a video showing how I painted the wall and dragged  the brush vertically in a section. It is not the best video and is rather dark, (still learning) but I figured I would include it to help you understand the process.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.

Faux grasscloth painting technique. How to paint faux grasscloth on walls the easy way.

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  1. that is an interesting technique; subtle but very nice!!
    On a related subject, I have a navy blue wall, which I wasn’t really happy with because there was so much * glossy* *shine* to it… are your final results matte or glossy? Does the glaze come in flat? I think it would be well worth while if I could keep the color but knock down the shine…let alone mix two colors. That would be very brave to try! Thanks, Diane!

    1. Hi Linda – Clear glaze is flat, it is not shiny. The paint sheen you use will determine how flat or shiny the surface will be. Glaze makes the paint transparent and dries slow so you have time to work with it to create faux effects.

    1. Hi Katen – Yes it does. If you use two navy colors that are further apart on the navy shade spectrum, you may be able to achieve just that… a denim look. :-)

    1. Thanks Ann – That is great to hear! Ed was not home the day I painted so I set up the camera and hoped for the best. I think with more practice I will be able to make the videos better and add captions and more. :-)

  2. Love it! I have two questions. Why is the horizontal paint flat? And which paint is the lighter shade, and which the darker?

    1. Hi Judy – Using two sheens of paint add to the contrast and texture effect. Both paints were pretty close on the light/dark scale. The first coat was a brighter navy, the second a dull navy.