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What is Anaglypta?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 16, 2024
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Anaglypta is a white wall-covering made from paper but it is not your typical wallpaper. It is imprinted with raised designs, which create more detail. It can also be painted, which sets it apart from some other varieties of wallpaper. The term anaglypta is from the Greek and means raised ornamentation. This style of wall covering has been around for more than 100 years. It began to increase in popularity — and availability — outside of Europe in the late 1900s.

Anaglypta is not usually ready-to-hang wallpaper. Because it is thick and heavy, you cannot simply dip it in water and press it to the wall. It requires a strong adhesive, which may also require more drying time. While this crisp white wall covering is beautiful as is, and is used in its natural state on many occasions, a favorite feature is the ability to paint it.

Anaglypta should be hung first then allowed to dry for a day or two before applying paint. It should also be primed before painting, and a lightly tinted primer is the best choice. Since anaglypta is white, using a primer in the same color carries with it the risk of missing indentations or intricate areas of pattern. A tinted primer will help ensure that every nook and cranny is covered.

One of the best ways to create a luxurious finish when painting anaglyptic wall coverings is to use layers of color. Start with a background color. Once it dries sponge or lightly brush on another color, highlighting the raised or embossed areas. Color choices depend on how deep a contrast you wish to achieve. Another benefit of anaglyptic wall covering is that it can easily be repainted when updating decor.

This uniquely textured wall covering from the Victorian era adds charm and style to any room. Because it is paintable and comes in many beautiful designs, it is perfect for faux finishes, such as mimicking a hammered tin ceiling or creating a mock tin backsplash. These looks are achieved through the use of metallic paints and creative painting techniques.

Anaglypta is also frequently used to imitate stone or as a less expensive way to achieve the feel of intricately carved moldings. Other favorite uses include mimicking wainscoting and creating unique craft projects. The possibilities for using anaglypta are virtually endless.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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