Homes & Gardens

CREATIVE MOMENTS: PAINTED WALL PANELS Annie Sloan demonstrat­es this paint project






THE staircase that we installed in our house in France, to reach the new rooms we had created upstairs, meant that the wall had to be replastere­d, obliterati­ng my original design. This led me to look at the wall in a fresh way. I felt it needed a calm and quiet design that would work harmonious­ly with the staircase and the rest of the old stencillin­g in the room. I have long been a fan of 18th-century Swedish interiors, where painted lines – just one or two of various thicknesse­s, often in blues, greys, or the traditiona­l earthy Swedish pink – were used on walls to indicate panels.

The room originally had a dado rail which no longer exists, however, you can create the sense of a dado, using paint to delineate it. Traditiona­lly, the dado is painted in a darker colour than the area above the rail.

Painting lines on walls is difficult and requires a lot of practice, so I have devised a method that can allow you to be less precise. A roughly textured wall, rather than a perfectly smooth one, gives the best results. To make a smooth wall rough, paint it first with a bristle brush in different directions, allowing the paint to be uneven with brush marks, or plaster it with an uneven finish.


Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, Country Grey and Aubusson Blue


Long, straight piece of molding

Flat brush, to paint the Old White and Country Grey Round-sided molding, to act as a guide

Oval brushes, to paint the Old White

2 fine brushes of different widths, to paint the lines Fine sandpaper

Clear wax

Clean, dry, lint-free cloth, to rub the wax on and off

I worked out beforehand where the panels should be on the stairway by doing a rough drawing and making some notes about the colours. I decided on using Old White in the centre panels; Country Grey, a warm soft pale brown-grey on the outer areas; and Aubusson Blue lightened with Old White for the lines. The lines around the centre panels were painted more thickly than those of the outer frame.

Paint the entire wall in Old White with a flat brush. Roughly work out the size and shape of the panels by eye and, with a pencil, lightly mark where you think they will go on the wall. When you have finally decided on the size of each panel, mark them out on the wall using a long straight piece of molding as a guide. Paint the outside area between the panels in Country Grey using a flat brush to work up to the pencil lines.

Lighten the Aubusson Blue by mixing it with Old White (roughly two-thirds blue to one-third white, but the quantity of white depends how light you wish the blue to be – a larger room can take a more distinct difference between the two tones). Hold the molding against a pencil line, to act as a guide – this will allow a loaded brush to glide along it without paint seeping underneath. Load the thinner fine brush with paint. As you paint the lines, use your little finger as a guide, letting it slide along the side of the wood as you paint, keeping your finger and wrist firm so the brush stays steady and straight. This will allow paint to flow from the brush evenly and at the same rate. Paint thicker lines in the same way, using the thicker brush. Before painting the lines, have a dry run first to apply the paint evenly. You may need to hold your body in a certain position to do so.

When the paint lines are dry, rub them gently with fine sandpaper, particular­ly where they are too thick or wobbly, to let the texture of the wall come through. Lightly wax the wall, taking care not to polish it so that it remains matte and not shiny.

 ??  ?? Annie Sloan gave this wall a fresh new look at her home in France
Annie Sloan gave this wall a fresh new look at her home in France
 ??  ?? The Annie Sloan Collection by Annie Sloan (£19.99, CICO Books) Photograph­y by Christophe­r Drake © CICO Books
The Annie Sloan Collection by Annie Sloan (£19.99, CICO Books) Photograph­y by Christophe­r Drake © CICO Books

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