Interior Wall Finishes
By Deb Roberts
When it comes to treatments for interior walls, the choices seem to be endless and in many ways, they are! As a builder, you are only limited to your imagination. Your choice of wall treatment is usually based on the type of theme or décor you’re using in the house.
The most popular interior wall treatment is wallpaper. There is a large variety of miniature wallpaper available, but you can also consider other alternatives such as scrapbook paper or “life size” wallpaper in solid colors, textures or smaller scale patterns. You can also print your own wallpaper designs. Standard wallpaper paste can be used and is readily available in the hardware section of your local discount store. In an airtight container, wallpaper paste stores very well. You can also use tacky glue or ModPodge. The trick to gluing wallpaper is to make sure the glue is applied in a thin, even coat and then use a roller or soft cloth to smooth it down carefully. If bubbles do develop, you can use a tiny pin to prick a whole in the center of the bubble while the glue is still moist and smooth the paper down.
Stucco is another popular choice for interior walls, especially for a more rustic appearance. Greenleaf stucco is a fine texture that is perfect for smaller scales and mixes well with any paint. (with non latex paints, you may see a slight lightning of color) Stucco works well for both interior and exterior wall finishes and is easy to apply. In fact, it’s a lot like frosting a cake and it can be textured with a sponge or brush while it’s still wet. Depending on the thickness of your mixture and how heavily you apply it, you can change the entire look of the wall.
Another use for stucco is to make Venetian plaster. A thicker mix of stucco and paint gives a heavier consistency, and after it is applied to the wall, you can use a dry brush to create the swirling strokes traditional in this lovely wall finish. The smaller your brush, the more in scale your texturing will be.
Paperclay is an excellent choice for finishing walls with a stone look. Paperclay can be rolled out thin and applied with glue to the interior walls. While the paperclay is still wet, use a plastic carving tool to press in the lines of your stones, then ponce the clay with a dry brush to give it texture. After it’s dried, it can be painted, then dry brushed with an accent color to give a lovely stone finish.
A lovely and elegant choice for an interior wall is wainscoting. Wainscoting can be purchased as individual components from a miniature store, or you can make your own wainscoting with a variety of materials. Leftover siding strips, tongue depressors or strips of basswood can all be used as wainscoting. We’ve included an excellent tutorial by Christine Hardy on how to make your own wainscoting in this issue of the Gazette.
Tiled walls are an exceptional look in a mini house and can be made with either pre-fabricated sheets of tile, or you can make your own with mosaic tiles found in craft stores. Mosaic tiles can be applied using spackle as grout for a realistic look. You can even tint the spackle with a bit of paint for an extra touch of color.
Spackling compound can also be used for texturing walls. Simply apply the spackle to the walls in the texture and design you prefer and let it dry. It’s light weight and dries to a nice finish that can be easily painted.
Antiquing painted walls gives an aged appearance to the “not quite new” home. To antique your walls, simply let the paint dry, then use a soft cloth to dry wipe stain over the walls and rub off till you have the desired tone. (Practice on a piece of scrap wood so you are sure the paint and stain give the colors and tones you want)
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas for wall treatments. Sometimes the best results are the ones that come from experimentation so don’t hesitate to mix and match designs, colors and textures for a truly unique look.
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