Sponging, rag-rolling, stippling and paneling
are a few of the decorative paint techniques that can give your home
unique charm and character. Beautiful dapple color effects can be
achieved with minimal materials and the most basic instruction. Start
off with a simple, basic project and before you know it you'll have
the confidence to create your own design ideas and bring these techniques
into every room in the house.
Broken Color Techniques with Glazes and Washes
Most specialty painting techniques involve
"broken color," a term that means applying one or more colors in
broken layers over a different base coat to create a mottled or
textured effect. Most of the time these techniques employ glazes
or washes applied over a solid colored background color. Glazes
are made of oil-based paints mixed with linseed oil and are more
transparent than washes. They give a sleek glow to walls. They work
best when the technique requires the paint to remain open and workable
for longer periods of time. Washes are simply latex paint that has
been thinned with water to produce color that appears fresher, purer
and more delicate than that of a glaze. Washes, unlike glazes, will
also show brush marks which adds a greater sense of depth and texture.
They are also easier to make, modify and clean up which makes them
the best choice for beginners. Decorative
painting projects involve more than just putting paint on the wall.
To ensure that your time and creativity have been worth the effort,
make sure you do thorough surface preparation. This includes: washing
away any dust, dirt and mildew; filling cracks and holes; and priming
Step 1: Prepare the surface.
As with any paint project, be sure to clean and prepare the surface
properly before beginning your project.
Step 2: Choose the specific colors for your
The faux technique shown will utilize a deep tone latex burgundy
paint as the base coat. You can use this technique with a wide range
of basecoats and glazes that would suit your particular home Decorative
techniques work best with eggshell or low sheen paints rather than
The glaze coat for the Burgundy faux should be a mix of a deep brown
latex paint plus Latex Glaze mixture. Mix ratio is 4 to 1 (4 parts
glaze to 1 part latex paint) to impart translucency and workability
to the glaze. Be sure to use Latex Glaze with Latex Paint.
Step 3: Test the technique.
Purchase a few foam boards to test the technique and color combinations
before applying to the wall. Once boards have been painted and dried,
put in different locations in the room to see the color in different
lights – both daylight and artificial light.
Step 4: Apply the decorative finish.
Apply basecoat, first ‘cutting’ out around ceiling,
corners, baseboards and doors. Roller apply basecoat using medium
nap roller to minimize roller tracks. Deep tone paints often require
multiple coats to cover the surface. Using top quality paints will
give you the best coverage. Allow basecoat to dry thoroughly.
Prepare the 4:1 latex glaze/deep tone brown paint mixture and pour
into a roller tray lined with plastic liner. Fill reservoir of roller
tray with glaze, you will be using ‘flat’ portion to
‘offload’ your decorative tool.
‘Prepare’ a sea sponge(s) by soaking in water to soften,
then squeeze out all excess water. Dip sponge into glaze mixture,
‘offload’ by dabbing sponge on flat part of roller tray,
then apply to wall in random pattern. Glaze can either be dabbed
onto wall, angling wrist – or glaze can be ‘wiped’
onto wall with sponge and then ‘blotted’ with a clean
sponge to achieve desired look.
The important thing to remember when applying glaze is to work in
small areas so a ‘wet edge’ can be maintained, i.e.
keeping the glaze wet until the desired look is achieved. Many people
use a partner to help them with faux projects – both to make
it more fun and to work quickly to maintain the wet edge. Always
start at the corners and work across a wall. One tricky part of
creating a realistic faux look is to make the corners and edges
(ceiling and baseboards) look like the rest of the wall. One tip
is to first mask the edges, then find a sponge that has a flat edge.
Cut small pieces of that sponge to make it easier getting into the
small, straight spaces.
Have fun – and remember that using top
quality paints and tools will help you achieve the
results you want and ensure those results will last.
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Armoires with Chalkboard Paint
Painting the inside doors of a repurposed or unfinished armoire
can personalize this piece for your children. Using Chalkboard paint
creates a fun, creative surface for your child, but one that can
be hidden when play time is over.
As with any painting project, surfaces preparation and priming are
important to ensure the finish looks great ? and lasts through many
years of use.
Chalkboard paints are available at many paint companies stores and
home centers. The primary colors are either black or green, although
a few specialty companies provide other colors. A web search may
be the best way to find these.
For your Unfinished Wood armoire, here are the ?steps to success?.
1. Step One - Surface Preparation:
? dull any glossy areas of wood ("mill glaze") by sanding with medium
(#120) grit garnet paper; wear eye protection, dust mask and work
? fill any gouges with wood filler; let dry and sand flush
? lightly sand the entire area to be painted with fine (#220) grit
garnet paper, then dust off with clean rags
? It?s VERY Important to remove all dust or wood fibers so chalkboard
finish will be smooth.
2. Step Two - Priming:
? priming is neede to ensure adhesion of topcoat, stain blocking
and sheen or gloss uniformity
? prime all surfaces to be painted, using a top quality stain blocking
Many chalkboard paints are water based, and a top quality interior
stain blocking latex primer will work well
||- Some chalkboard
paints are supplied in spray cans. Be sure to check with the paint
professional at the store for recommendations on primers for this
type of chalkboard undercoat.
3. Step Three - Painting
? use top quality chalkboard paint in the color of your choice, following
manufacturer recommendation for application (either roller, foam brush
or nylon brush). Two coats will give you the most durable finish. ?
Most latex paints require a one week cure before use. It is also recommended
to 'condition' the chalkboard by lightly rubbing chalk held horizontally
over the entire surface, then washing the surface with a damp cloth.
Your 'chalkboard' will then be ready for years of use.
To personalize the chalkboard, consider stenciling around the outside
perimeter of the chalkboard with numbers, letters, animals or ?themes?
from the room d?or and your child?s name. Use colors that will complement
or contrast with the room?s color scheme.
blocking involves painting several colors (usually at least three)
in various-sized “blocks” on the wall. Because of its
visual interest, this technique is usually done on one wall in a room,
and often takes the place of artwork -- behind a sofa, for example.
The key is to draw the blocks in different dimensions -- varied
sizes of squares and rectangles -- and map them out in a geometric,
visually balanced arrangement on the wall. These blocks should be
sketched on paper, then transferred to the wall and outlined lightly
in pencil, then filled in with paint. Make several copies of the final
design on paper for practice. Use these to play with the arrangement
of colors in the design, then pick your favorite and start painting!Choosing
colors for this technique can be fun, but there are some things to
keep in mind to help achieve the look you’re after:• Colors
from the same color card, but in varying intensities, will give your
room a sophisticated, monochromatic appeal. If you’re looking
for subtlety, choose colors that are next to each other on the card.
• Two or three harmonious colors and a third accent hue of either
black or white creates a dramatic look.• For a fun, playful
look, choose complementary colors (those that are opposite one another
on the color wheel) such as yellow and violet. • It is helpful
to use colors of the same value, or intensity, by choosing ones that
are in the same position on several color cards --- the second up
from the bottom, for example. This helps achieve a feeling of balance
in the finished job.• If you decide to use colors of varying
intensities, you may want to experiment with several practice designs.
Using more of the brighter hue will give you a bold look, while using
more of the lighter one will be more soothing. Remember that the practice
design is much smaller than the final product, and any color you use
will intensify once it’s on a wall.
Color-blocking: How To’s•
Draw blocks in varied sizes of squares and rectangles on a sheet of
paper. Lay them out in a geometric, visually balanced arrangement.
• Make several smaller copies of the final design on paper,
then practice with your chosen colors or experiment with different
• Once the final pattern and color scheme is set, trace
the blocks onto the wall, outlining lightly with a pencil and level.
• Tape off lines using Painter’s tape (not masking tape),
then paint with your choice of colors.
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Dragging techniques are most
often used on smooth surfaces like six-panel doors, so good surface
preparation is essential. If doors are your intended project, remember
they get constant use so a high quality 100% acrylic latex gloss paint
is a good choice. High quality gloss alkyd paints also work well; however,
they will have higher odor and take longer to dry.Follow these
steps to achieve a beautiful effect - predominately the color of the
topcoat, with hints of basecoat showing through:
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- Prepare the door - fill cracks, sand and clean
- Paint with two layers of base coat, allowing
to dry between each.
- Dilute the top coat (greens and other bright
colors work well) with one part paint to one part glaze (if using
latex paint, use a latex glaze; if using alkyd paint, use an oil
- Using a dragging brush (or long haired paint
brush), apply a thin layer of the colored glaze/topcoat mixture.
Work with long vertical strokes, drawing the brush from top to
bottom, maintaining even pressure and keeping brush strokes as
parallel as possible.
- To avoid obvious brush marks at the point where
dragging begin, use your free hand to hold the bristles firmly
while starting this technique
To create an aged look, use
this technique for furniture, cabinets, vanities and more.
Choose two colors that complement your existing color scheme. Apply
the base color and let dry (1 -2 hours for latex paint and 2 - 3 hours
for alkyd paints - alkyd paints may still be tacky).
Using 100 grit sandpaper, lightly sand off patches of paint, letting
the surface below show through. Clean surface and let dry 24 hours
Repeat the above process using the second color. Let dry 24 hours. For
extra protection of the distressed look, apply a coat of clear lacquer.
Be sure to use a latex or water based lacquer if you have used latex
paints in your project; alkyd lacquer if you worked with alkyds paints.
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Creating a custom faux fireplace
Celebrate the warmth of Thanksgiving in any climate by designing a custom“faux
fireplace” using paint! Although a faux fireplace can be created
anywhere within the home, the addition of this whimsical visual design
element is especially exciting when located in non-traditional living
spaces. For example, consider personalizing an accent wall in a formal
dining room, a breakfast nook in a country kitchen or a sitting area
in a spacious master bedroom with a unique faux fireplace.It is a good
idea for decorating enthusiasts who plan to tackle the project on their
own, to map out their design on a large poster board prior to applying
onto the actual wall surface. A faux fireplace can be as large or as
small as you prefer, depending upon your preferences and the size and
shape of your wall space. If you have always yearned for a river rock
fireplace, consider applying “faux” river rocks to construct
your fireplace!And don’t forget the mantel! To add dimension and
depth to your faux fireplace, an interesting decorative mantel can be
purchased from a local salvage yard or antique store. A mantel can also
be constructed using various architectural trims and moldings that are
available at the local home improvement center. Add dynamic color to
any mantel by personalizing with paint. Special effect paint techniques
create interesting surfaces, such as a distressed looks upon a mantel
that will grace a faux antique fireplace. Regardless of the climate
where you reside, you can bring a fireplace into your home, thanks to
the creative use of paint!Creating a faux fireplace can be fun and rewarding.
Planning is most important, so best to line up all your materials first
Decide on the size, location and design of your fireplace.
Using either poster board or a computer program, make a mock up of your
room with the fireplace to be sure it looks the way you want it to.
Trace the shape of the fireplace onto the wall, using a level
to insure your lines are straight and plumb for rectangular or square
shapes. For a curved, semi circular shape, you’ll need to use
a shape to outline.For either design, you’ll need to draw in the
outline of the fireplace, the face and the firebox.
Create the ‘hearth’ using wood frame for a raised
hearth – or level the area on the floor in front of the fireplace
for a ground level hearth. If tiling this part, follow manufacturer’s
instructions for installing tile. Another option is to paint the hearth
using either decorative paint techniques or block designs. For the decorative
techniques, see our Design Center. For the blocked design, seal the
wood,then paint the ‘grout’ color. Using tape,mask off the
grout lines, then apply the color or decorative technique you plan to
use for the blocks.
For the ‘face’ of the fireplace, choose a design
that will match or be compatible with your hearth. They don’t
have to be exactly the same, but should blend – color and texture.
Techniques such as marbleizing, faux brick, faux slate, or just painted
wood are all ideas to
For the ‘firebox’, paint this area in a flat black
paint to create a shadow look
The mantel can either be built or purchased. Again, there are
unlimited possibilities. It can be finished for a natural wood look;
it can painted with the new high gloss latex paints or stenciled or
distressed. Again, these decisions must all be made before starting
the project and should match or complement the existing color palette
in your room.
Add a brass, glass or fabric fireplace screen to finish the
project that will enhance the value of your home and amaze your family
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Harlequin is achieved by using
two paint hues. First, paint the wall surface with the lighter, low
sheen color and let dry completely. Next, tape off the wall sections
in an elongated diamond pattern or cut a diamond template and trace
the pattern on the wall surface. Of course, the size of the wall typically
determines how large the diamond pattern should be. A good rule of thumb
is the diamond height should be approx. twice the width. The diamonds
should touch along the width and can circle the room as a border. Or,
one wall can be the focal point with the diamonds lined up both horizontally
and vertically.Paint the "diamond" pattern in the darker of the
two colors—the sheen of the second paint should be the same as
the base coat. This pattern can be quite bold if the color choices employed
are complementary or it can be a subtle backdrop when completed in a
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Marbling results can vary as
much as the marbles you are trying to imitate. It’s a good idea
to have a piece of marble you like before starting your project to mimic
its colors and veining. Choose base coats and top coats to match the
desired base marble and the textured effects respectively. Steps
to achieving a white marble effect:
- Prepare the surface - clean, sand, fill imperfections;
remove all residues
- Apply two coats of white basecoat, allowing each
to dry thoroughly. Mix raw sienna color with one tablespoon each
of white spirit and oil glaze. If using latex paints, mix the sienna
color with acrylic latex glaze. Apply sparingly with an artists
- With a small cloth, wipe away varying amounts
of wet glaze, allowing patches of light and dark to form.
- To create the "veins" of marble, use a thin artist
brush to apply the sienna glaze in lines, varying thickness to achieve
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1. Paint ceiling with a top
quality interior low lustre or satin latex paint in a sky blue hue.
We don’t recommend flat paint for this technique. Sometimes
it’s fun to bring the sky blue paint down onto the side walls
(by about a foot) This will give your ceiling a three dimensional
2. Allow blue paint to dry thoroughly
3. Determine where you want to place your clouds, including
portions of clouds on the walls if you painted them. You can use chalk
marks to guide your cloud design process.
4. Materials for clouds:
||a. Top quality interior
white latex paint (either satin or semi gloss)
||b. Latex glaze
||c. Cotton Rags
5. Mix 1 part white paint
with 3 parts latex glaze to make ‘cloud glaze’
6. Using a rolled up cotton rag, apply the cloud glaze to
the ‘cloud’ area. Using rags give you better control over
the amount of paint. Clouds should be ‘heavier’ in the
center and lighter around the edges.
7. To add more color and perspective, after the cloud is
completely dry (>24 hours) add touches of pink, purple or hellow
glaze to small sections of the cloud. Make these color glazes the
same way you did the white cloud glaze.
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Sheen striping is a technique that involves
painting vertical stripes of the same color, but differing sheens,
for a subtle, sophisticated look. It is often used in dining rooms,
above the chair rail, or in areas that need some visual “height”
due to a low ceiling.For this technique, you might choose an
eggshell and a semigloss product, which will create visual interest
without being overwhelming. The sheen difference should be somewhat
subtle, so a flat and a high gloss may not be the best combination.
In terms of color choice, let your personal preference be your guide.
If you need some direction, though, here is some advice: • For
dining rooms, red is often the color of choice. Red stimulates the
appetite -- which is why you see it on so many restaurant walls. Green
is also a good color for this room, as green is the color of many
foods. • Hallways and foyers can benefit from the a “welcoming”
color, like yellow, or a shade of orange, like peach or terra-cotta.•
Bedrooms can become serene havens or romantic escapes by using colors
like pale blue, green, or lavender.
Sheen Stripes: How To’s Materials required:
1. Painter's tape. Enough to stripe the entire
room or object. Be sure to use painter’s tape (something like
3M’s Blue Tape) which will not stick as much and be less likely
to pull up the flat base coast when removed.
2. Level and/or ruler
3. Quality interior acrylic flat paint
4. Quality acrylic interior semi-gloss paint (same hue or color as
the flat paint)
5. Rollers, paint brushes, drop cloths, paint roller trays, stir sticks,
Step by Step Directions:
1. Make sure the wall surface or object you
will paint is clean and sound.
2. Paint the wall(s) with quality acrylic interior flat or eggshell
paint first. Let dry completely - overnight or longer.
3. Using painter's tape and a level, mark off the area to be painted
with SG paint--typically in a vertical pattern. The usual width for
each stripe is 3" to 6". The larger the space, the wider the stripe
should be. It might help to have a second person help with the taping.
Each "flat" and semi-gloss stripe should be the same width. Use the
level to insure your lines are perfectly vertical.
4. Paint the area to be "striped" with quality semi-gloss paint -
same color as the flat paint. Let dry 2 to 3 hours, then carefully
remove the painters tape. Have a trash can or bag handy to toss the
painter's tape in.
5. Enjoy this beautiful decorative technique!
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Sponging On is a quick and simple technique
that begins with the application of a solid base paint color. After
the base coat dries, a wash or glaze is applied on top with a dampened
sponge to create a mottled look. More than one glaze or wash color
can be applied but each layer must be allowed to dry thoroughly before
the next application. Beginners may want to try neutral tones of beige
and grey or different values of color in the same family for a tone
on tone damask effect. Lighter colors are typically applied over darker
ones to create depth, but the opposite can be done for more definition
and texture. Sponging Off is accomplished by applying a uniform glaze
coat over the solid base with a brush or roller. Before the glaze
coat begins to dry, use the sponge to remove some of the glaze to
expose the undercoat. When sponging always use a natural sea sponge
instead of a synthetic household type for a more varied and interesting
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Ragging and Rag
These techniques give walls the dramatic effect
of crushed velvet, parchment, chamois leather, watered silk or brocade.
Begin with the application of a solid color base and allow it to dry.
For "ragging on," dip a crumpled cloth in a glaze or wash and blot
on the wall. "Ragging off" involves lifting off part of the glaze
coat to reveal the under coat. "Rag-rolling on" requires the painter
to roll the cloth into a sausage shape of varying tightness. Lightly
dip the roll into the glaze and apply to the base coat with a rolling
motion. For "rag-rolling off" roll a slightly dampened rolled cloth
through the wet glaze coat to reveal the undercoat. Different fabric
will create different effects. Popular materials include linen, lace,
and burlap, but almost any natural fiber material will do as long
as it is clean and lint-free. Layering glazes works well with this
technique as long as each layer is allowed to dry thoroughly.
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This technique achieves more subtle results
than rag rolling or sponging and can be best described as suede-like.
The process starts with the solid base coat which can be either a
light or dark tone. After the base coat dries, the painter begins
working from one side of the wall to the other, applying a different
color topcoat (either paint or a wash) in 12" wide strips from ceiling
to floor. Working quickly before the paint begins to set, the painter
stabs at the wet paint with a large soft-bristled brush, removing
dots of paint. To keep the brush absorbent, the painter should periodically
blot the excess paint from the stippling brush. This process breaks
up the wall color into a mass of very small dots which lends richness
to the finish. Usually stippling involves just two topcoat colors
of paint or wash. Additional colors can be incorporated into the color
scheme by stippling the paint or wash on, rather than off. To do so,
simply stab later colors on with a soft-bristled brush.
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