The Decorative Paint Technique: Painting Parchment Stripes on Walls

These versatile parchment stripes create a classic, sophisticated background.

latex glaze
painter’s tape
latex paint
plastic containers
6′ level
watercolor pencil
measuring tape
plastic container
paint tray
China bristle brush(es)

Prepare the Walls
Start with lighter undertones because adding color is easier than taking it away.If the walls are in poor shape prepare them for painting; apply the base coat and let dry. If desired, follow the parchment instructions to start this project, or simply begin with the existing color.

Pro Tip
Tonality is the color or shade of a color; quality of a color.
Art-supply stores carry watercolor pencils. Roll them in your fingertips to make a sharp point when marking.

Mix one part of each top coat color with one part water and one part glaze in separate containers. Use a tape measure, watercolor pencil and a level to carefully mark the stripes. Straight lines are critical.
Mix the Paint and Mark the Lines
Tape the Lines
Put a small piece of tape on the stripes you won’t be painting to keep it all straight. Put tape along the outside of the pencil lines of the stripes to be painted (make sure it’s straight), and seal it with your fingers or a dry cloth so paint doesn’t seep underneath.


Apply and Dab the Paint
Then dab repeatedly to blend any lines. Once a stripe is done, pull the tape off right away so any excess paint under the tape can be wiped off with a rag. Use the same colors for the stripes as were used for the initial parchment finish (the second layer will turn out a lot darker). Apply a few swipes of each paint mixture, and then spread it around with a damp cheesecloth in rounded, ameba-shaped movements.

Remove the Pencil Marks
When the finish is completely dry, remove the watercolor pencil with a damp cloth. This looks great as is, but you could dress it up with pinstripes or stencils.