DIY Combing Faux Finish

You will love this finish!  It can give you just a bit of texture and interest to bold impact when you vary the colors you use. For a subtle effect, select two tints of the same color, or the top coat can be thinned with extra glaze to tone down the color. For drama, use contrasting colors for a charming look of bold contrast.


Paint Tray
Foam Roller with a long handle or an extension handle
Rubber comb tool available at any hardware or paint store
2 shades of paint – acrylics work best with this technique

  • Paint your walls with the base coat and let dry completely – check the directions on the paint for the drying time.  I usually do the base coat one day and the next coat the following day to approach each with a fresh attitude and energy.
  • Mix the glaze in a throwaway clean plastic bucket or container.  Use one part water, one part glaze and one part paint.  Stir well and add to the paint tray.
  • Load up the foam roller, wiping excess on the upper portion of the paint tray, that’s what the textured upper portion is for.
  • Roll onto wall using long vertical strokes, and only apply to a section large enough for one swipe with the comb. 
  • Immediately after each pass with the roller, drag the comb steadily from top to bottom using even pressure and speed.  Wipe down the comb after each pass.
  • Now repeat for the next section, working all the way around the room.  Be careful as you work your way into the corners, try to plan your wall to the size of your comb, some combs are offered in varying sizes.  You can also make your own comb using a squeegee and a craft knife to cut out the comb pattern.

The only difficult aspect of this project is the comb stroke itself.  For more formal looks, you should use one continuous stroke from ceiling to floor, which is difficult, especially when trying to keep even pressure on the tool.  Your other option is to work in smaller sections that are reachable without paint aerobics. 

If you don’t like the look of one of your comb-throughs, use the foam roller on it while it’s still wet and cover with more glaze to re-do.  If it dries and you don’t like it, there’s a texture to it that needs to be sanded down slightly to be covered up. 

It’s an easy technique that is really charming for a breakfast nook or any space that needs texture and impact.  But, choose wisely, as it’s not just a quick repaint job to cover it up.