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The key to achieving great faux painting finishes is having the right tools. Unfortunately, it can be hard to DIY tools. Ever a DIY guru, Martha Stewart has debuted a decorative painting tool kit that allows you to create a dozen faux paint finishes easily. Is there anything Martha can't do?

Martha Stewart Living, decorative painting kitThis decorative painting tool kit by Martha Stewart makes sophisticated painting patterns a cinch. Photo: Martha Stewart Living

Martha Stewart has made a career based on inspiring us all to roll up our sleeves and create -- be it delicious meals, homemade crafts, or DIY home projects. I aspire to create many things found on the lovely pages of Martha Stewart Living. And about a year ago, I read one of the magazine's features all about different decorative painting techniques. I was hooked. And I was especially drawn to the gingham technique. The idea of creating gingham with paint was too tempting. I imagined making over my dresser drawers in a classic gingham check. But I quickly learned that a good painting job is all about the tools. And I didn't have the right ones.

When I tried to make my own gingham check tool, it was harder than I expected. The story had suggested taking a potter's rib tool and cutting out teeth to create the striped effect. It was difficult to cut into the rubber and my teeth were not even, so my gingham effect turned into a blurred mess. I'd already wasted $6 trying to make my own homemade tool, so I gave up.

Now for $18.97, you can pick up a Martha Stewart decorative painting tool kit from The Home Depot that includes all the perfect tools to create a gingham look, along with 11 other eye-catching effects: basket weave, faux bois, raw silk, plaid, herringbone, curly maple, linen, sponge-on, sponge-off, large stripes, irregular stripes. Here are a couple examples that I spotted at the Martha Stewart preview event.

Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

My favorites include the faux bois wood grain and the textured herringbone.

Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

How Does the Martha Stewart Decorative Painting Tool Kit Work?
The kit comes with 8 tools that can create a dozen decorative painting techniques along with a booklet to guide you through how to do each technique yourself. First, you start with a base coat of paint. Then you apply a glaze and use the simple tools to manipulate the glaze and create the special effects. Whether you're painting a piece of furniture or painting an entire wall, you'll need to prep your surface.

1. Wipe down the surface with a damp sponge to clean it.
2. Patch any holes in the wall with spackle and a putty knife. Let it dry. Then sand the area to a smooth finish.
3. Prime the surface.
4. Paint the base coat using a satin-finish latex paint. Allow 24 hours for the paint to dry completely.
5. Divide your surface into even, workable sections. Use a level to draw a pencil guidelines every 18" from floor to ceiling.
6. Apply your glaze.

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors
When you're choosing your base coat and glaze color, make sure there's a difference in color, but not a jarring contrast. Choose a glaze that's slightly darker than the base coat color to create a sense of depth. Or use a lighter color glaze over a deeper base.





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