How to Paint with Roller Stripes

937836_painting_2Paint rollers are wonderful tools that cover an area quickly and easily and have transformed the time it takes to paint large expanses of wall and ceiling. They are conventionally used for making a wide, even mark that when correctly applied leaves a solid, flat finish.

However, a paint roller does not have to be limited to solid areas. There are different types of rollers which are designed to be used with the various paints available.

Even then the roller itself can be made more versatile – it can be bound so as to put all kinds of different lines and patterns on to the surfaces. These can be very successfully used as broken color techniques. If you paint on a glaze and use a bound roller to lift it off you can achieve all kinds of results, depending on the cloth, string or other material used to bind it.

One method involves simply tying a tight string around the middle of a sponge roller, so that it can paint two stripes with every stroke -omitting a band of color down the middle. The width and number of the stripes can be varied according to the number of times you bind the roller. Another effect is created with rough string, or twine with a hairy texture.

This can be wrapped around the roller sponge firmly – but not tightly enough to draw it in very far. If the twine remains in contact with the wall it will fleck the work slightly as you go. The twine needs to be changed regularly before it gets saturated with glaze. You can use torn strips of fabric in exactly the same way.

A small area such as a toy box or a cupboard door can be jazzed up using a very small roller (such as those found in toyshops) and rolling first vertically and then horizontally to create checks. If the paint is thin, or just a colored glaze, at the place where the stripes cross you will get a deeper color from the two layers. Entire walls can be done this way – particularly with pale colors – if the boldness of the pattern suits the room.

The colors can be changed with the direction – a yellow ground with an ochre horizontal stripe and a sienna or mid-green vertical stripe creates a warm, vibrant combination. In a thin glaze, it can almost look as if the walls are wrapped in light blankets.

There is a great deal of scope for density of paint, color combinations and width, number and direction of the stripes. They do not have to cover the whole wall, particularly if you are using strong colors. Stripes can be taken from the skirting board to the chair rail, meeting a horizontal band of color or a border.

Another, softer, paint effect can be used on the top part of the wall, or it can be left plain in one of the stripe colors. This is preferable if the walls are to have a number of pictures on them. Stenciling can also be added to roller stripes.

These techniques will give a different effect again when you apply paint, rather than glaze, to the wall. Instead of a translucent finish that shows wisps of string and subtle layers of color, you will get a more definite mark or stripe. It is the simplicity of these informally drawn strips of color that makes them so delightful in plain paint.

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Updated: October 28, 2013 — 4:47 am

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