Combing is a specialty paint finish accomplished by applying a glaze over a base coat and then removing some of the wet glaze with a graining comb creating bold patterns of stripes, squiggles, swirls or designs of your own fancy.
Tools. Graining tools are available from Hirshfield's, or you may make your own. Use cardboard, plastic or any rigid material that can be cut into a comb shape. The size and spacing of the teeth determine the pattern.
1. Apply base coat.
Use a quality latex eggshell enamel
such as Hirshfield's Platinum Ceramic Eggshell, Pratt & Lambert's Accolade Interior Velvet or Benjamin Moore's Regal Aqua Velvet. Two coats may be necessary on some colors.
2. Formula for glaze.
Use Platinum Ceramic, Accolade or Regal Aqua Velvet for color. Thin as described below. The dilution ratio is affected by heat and humidity. Experiment to find what works best for you. Start with:
1 part latex paint
2 parts Blend & Glaze
(Note: Depending on the dilution ratio, a quart of latex paint thinned to these directions should make enough glaze for a 10' x 12' room.)
3. Prepare for glazing.
Use 4" Easy Mask masking tape at ceiling and baseboard. Glazes are runny and a bit messy. Take extra time to be certain that surfaces not to be painted are taped off and well protected. Do not leave masking tape on overnight. Cover all heat registers to prevent glaze from drying too quickly.
4. Applying the glaze.
Latex glazes dry quickly so working with 2 people is advised, one to apply the glaze and one to do the combing. While one applies a uniform coat of glaze 18" - 24" wide from ceiling to floor using a paint pad applicator or paint roller, the other follows behind doing the combing. Never apply more glaze than can be combed within the working "wet time" of the glaze.
5. Combing walls.
The teeth of your comb remove the wet glaze allowing some of the base coat to show. The spaces between the teeth leave behind undisturbed glaze.
Starting at the ceiling, draw your comb through the wet glaze. Don't worry if your lines wiggle here or wobble there -- variety makes this technique fun. Wipe the comb free of glaze after each stroke. Continue applying glaze and combing until the entire wall is completed. If your glaze loses its wet edge before the next strip of glaze is applied, blot it with a wet sponge.
6. Allow yourself plenty of time.
It isn't necessary to complete an entire room in one day. However, once you start on a wall, be prepared to finish that wall.
7. Practice first.
Remember to use sample boards (all professionals do) for developing the desired tooth pattern when practicing your combing techniques.
Try using your combing skills to add a sense of drama to floors and furniture.
Latex Eggshell Enamel for basecoat
Latex Eggshell Enamel for glaze
Blend & Glaze Latex Formula
4" Easy Mask Tape
Graining Tool of your choice
Brush, roller & tray for basecoat