Popular Faux Painting Techniques Explained
by Julie Lohmeier
Description: Explanations of popular painting techniques, including sponge painting, ragging/rolling, color washing, striping, striť, dry brushing, and frottage.
In the last 10 years, faux painting techniques have
gone from obscure to popular, from the realm of
professionals to do-it-yourself projects. These
techniques are not difficult although they can be time
consuming (what decorating or remodeling project isnít
though) and require quick hands.
Called ďfauxĒ painting because these techniques mimic
or create a false look of stone, texture, leather, and
more, you will find that the styles fall into one of
two types: additive or subtractive. Additive (also
called positive) techniques simply mean that you add
color onto the wall. Sponging is the most common of
this type. Conversely, subtractive (also referred to
as negative) techniques means you take paint off after
it has been applied. Ragging is a common subtractive
technique. Most negative techniques use glazes and
require that you move quickly before the glaze dries.
When it comes to glazes, there are two types: latex
(water based) or oil based. Latex is by far easier
since it cleans up with soap and water, but oil based
glazes provide longer working times and generally
provide a harder, more durable finish. However, for
do-it-yourselfers, I recommend latex glazes and
working in small areas at a time. I have also seen
solutions that you can add to the glaze to lengthen
the working time. For your first glazing job, you may
well want to consider using this additive available at
finer paint supply stores.
Here are the various type of faux painting techniques:
Sponge Painting (Sponging): Probably the easiest method, you apply
paint to a wall with a natural sea sponge. It
provides a richly textured look. In addition to good
looks, itís a simple way to camouflage an uneven or
repaired crack wall. Use a couple of colors over the
base paint to add greater depth. Be bold or subtle;
itís up to you. You can use glaze or paint just as
easily with this technique. Iíve seen this done in a
negative manner, but it is most commonly performed as
a positive method.
Ragging/Rag Rolling: Typically a negative technique,
you paint a tinted glaze over the base painted walls.
The glaze should be tinted darker than the base coat,
keeping in the same color family as the glaze allows
some color through it as well. Either use a wadded up
dry rag or twist a rag into a cylinder. Then dab or
roll the rags to remove the glaze. You can use one or
two colors over the base coat. You may also do this
in a positive method like sponging for a softer look
Color Washing: In this additive technique, you apply
the tinted glaze mixture over the base coat using a
circular motion as if you were washing the wall. Use
rags for a very soft look or a natural sea sponge for
a more textured appearance.
Striť: Create a historical and aged texture to the
wall, with this negative method. Roll tinted glaze
over the base coat, then use a wall paper brush to
make fine lines from top to bottom. The glaze should
be darker than the base coat to allow the lighter base
to show through the fine lines.
Striping: The only difficult part of this positive
technique is getting your stripes straight. Be sure to
use a level or drop a plumb line. Tape off your
stripes, then paint every other one with glaze. If you
use a bold color, you do not need to tint the glaze to
get a delightful two-tone effect. For softer colors,
you may wish to slightly darken the glaze
although it is not necessary. This technique may also
be combined with color washing as you color wash the
stripes for more interest and texture. Of course, for
a more dramatic look, you can use paint in
complementary or various colors.
Dry Brushing: This is a positive method in which you
use a small amount of paint on a brush in herringbone
patterns to create the texture. You will need tow or
three colors to achieve the best results.
Frottage: Using plastic sheets for this negative
method, tinted glaze is applied over the base coat and
then plastic sheets are applied and smoothed over the
glaze. Once the wall is done, the plastic sheets are
removed for a marbling effect.
Faux finishes can provide interest and texture to your
rooms Ė and less expensively than wall paper. While
you may need to block out a full day to do the work,
by the end of the day, you can sit back and admire the
rich, luxurious look of your new room.
Julie Lohmeier is the veteran of numerous home
remodeling and building projects. From working hands
on and doing much of the work herself to hiring
contractors and construction managers, she has seen
the entire spectrum of home improvement. She shares
her remodeling tips, home decorating ideas, and other
various rants at http://www.myhomeredux.com.
Softening Your Walls with Color Wash
Decorating Walls With Stencils
Decorating with Sponge Painting
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