Popular Faux Painting Techniques Explained
By Julie Lohmeier
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
Here are the various type of faux painting techniques:
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 and texture.
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
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
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