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Q: We are creating panels on our dining room walls with moulding strips and I want to fill in the panels with a paler shade of the main colour, or paint the panels white. Is there a paint technique that would suit these walls?
A: This sounds like a great project. Panels make a stunning highlight in a dining room. One way to decorate the inside of the panels is to apply a strie finish. Strie is like dragging, where you pull a stiff bristle brush through a coloured glaze to produce a fine pattern that looks like linen. You can apply strie to a whole wall, but it is easier and more effective as a highlight technique. Using two colours that are close together will make a soft, sophisticated finish. If you want a more dramatic look, try a red coloured glaze over black; for a contemporary setting mix a silver metallic glaze and drag over blocks of white panels.
In the photo shown here the walls are painted Wedgewood blue and the panels and mouldings painted off white. I mixed a coloured glaze — one part water-based glazing liquid and one part blue paint. By adding glaze to paint it becomes translucent, which allows the base coat colour to shine through. Glaze also slows down the drying time so that you can work with the paint. I rolled the blue glaze over the panels and while still wet, dragged a hard bristle paint brush through the glaze from top to bottom keeping the lines straight. I repeated the dragging until the effect of soft white and blue lines was achieved.
For a more casual look, try strie on chair rails and trim work. Always drag in the direction of the grain or the length of the moulding. This technique also works for furniture. Tape off panels on drawers and on the sides of a dresser, or highlight the centre panel of a dining room or play table.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit www.debbietravis.com.