Fabulous Faux Finishes

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Painting techniques from the pros

Every home has items that can be transformed into art tools—you just have to know where to look. Using household items like paper or plastic bags, feathers or an item of your choice, you can get creative and have fun with your favorite faux painting technique. The following are a variety of techniques to try, but don’t be afraid to venture out and create a faux finish technique of your own.


Step 1

Sponging On

A simple way to add texture to a painted surface.




1.      Dab a sponge into a container of paint.  




2.      Blot the excess before applying it to the surface. 




3.      Then, dab the paint-covered sponge onto the wall or surface you are decorating. 




4.      This is a great technique for kids to enjoy as well as adults.




5.      You can alter this technique by replacing the sponge with other household products, such as Bubble Wrap or the bottom of a jar, to create different patterns with the paint.




Step 2

Rag on or Rag off. 


1.     Crumple the rag and apply to wet paint to create the rag off technique. 


2.     The rag on technique is accomplished by dabbing the rag into paint and applying it to a dry surface.


3.     Both techniques add great texture.


4.     Two different effects can be created just by changing the application with the rag: either press the rag against the wall in a repetitive motion to cover the room (similar to sponging) or, start at the top of the wall and roll the rag down the wall.


Step 3

Sponging Off


1.     Using a second color and working in a 3’ x 3’ area, paint over the base. 


2.     Dab a clean sponge firmly over the freshly applied paint to remove it from the surface.


3.     The result is a two-tone, light texture.


Step 4






Easily accomplish this effect with a straight edge, painter’s tape, paint and a paintbrush. 






1.     Tape off areas of the surface with a tape that will peel off easily without damaging the finish.

2.     Once all of the tape is applied to your liking, paint over the entire area. 







3.     After the area is covered, strip away the tape, pulling it from the surface at a 90-degree angle. 






4.     The result is clean, straight lines. 






Step 5


An easy way to create the textured look of fabric on your walls.


1.     Dip a clean, rigid brush, such as a household cleaning brush or specialty brush, in paint and dab off excess.


2.     Start at the top of one wall, position the brush horizontally, and pull the brush down the wall, creating a vertical stripe. 


3.     After the vertical stripes have been made, you can start at the top again and position the brush vertically, but moving the brush horizontally to create a checkered pattern.


4.     You can also drag off the surface by doing the same motion over a small area of wet paint.


5.     By swooshing the brush from left to right, the surface will look natural.


6.     Try a criss-cross method to add more texture.



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