portland Faux Painting Methods to Spruce Up Your Home
Wall paper is out and faux paint is in! At least that’s what you may have heard, so now you need to decipher the many options in paint finishes that are available today. All of the styles below will offer a unique look to a room. Here are nine different options you may want to consider.
1. Fresco – This Italian specialty is probably the most labor intensive. With buon or fresco, the pigment in a powder form is mixed with water and painted onto freshly applied lime plaster. There are other types of fresco including the mezzo resco and the secco fresco. The mezzo fresco technique uses a pigment powder diluted in lime water and applied to an almost dried plaster. With the secco fresco the pigment is mixed with egg yolk and applied to dry plaster.
2. Faux Fresco – This is more commonly used today rather than true Fresco. This is a similar process to the secco fresco application. A “skim” compound (spackle with water) is thinly applied over a plaster surface with a trowel or scraper. Once the skim coat is dried, professional quality watercolor is applied with soft brushes.
3. Stippling – A textured effect that simulates a fine, sandy appearance. Two people are needed to create this finish, the first to apply the glaze and the second to stipple using a stipple brush or pad. A paint color is first applied to the surface. After the paint has dried, the glaze is applied followed quickly by a stippling brush or pad. The stippling brush is firmly applied and removed “to draw up” the glaze.
4. Rubbed Finishes – This technique makes a surface look very similar to the look of Fresco, but much simpler to do. As the name says, the paint can either be rubbed on or rubbed off. To rub on, a small amount of paint, usually an egg shell, is dabbed onto the surface or wall with a lint-free rag and then rubbed out, making a thin coat of color. A second coat is usually added to even it out more. To rub off, the paint is rolled on with a roller, dried, and then lightly sanded off with sanding blocks.
5. Dragging – With this technique the surface will show brush strokes, but in an even pattern either horizontally, vertically, or both to make a woven appearance. This is best accomplished with two people. The first painter applies the paint evenly and quickly. The second painter quickly follows by dragging a “flogger” or “glider” brush from the top of the wall to the bottom without picking up the brush. At the same time the second painter must keep the pressure on the brush as even as possible and lighten up on the pressure as the stroke gets to the bottom of the wall to prevent build up.
6. Sponging – Like rubbing this technique can either be sponged on or sponged off. To “sponge off”, the paint is applied on the wall as usual. Then a sponge, wrung out with mineral spirit, is pressed against the painted surface to lightly remove the paint. This should be done in an even pattern and the sponge needs to be wrung out occasionally. With the “sponge on” method, the wall is painted, and then a glaze of a lighter color is lightly sponged on. When the first glaze is almost dry a second coat of the same color or another color can be added on top. Make sure to cover blank areas, while overlapping the previous sponge marks.
7. Ragging – With this technique a rag is used to either apply the glaze or rag- off the glaze to give the surface a textured feel. To apply the glaze, dip a bunched up rag or chamois leather and roll the rag on the wall. This may need to be applied with multiple overlapping rolls to even and fully color the wall. With the Rag-off method, the glaze is first applied to the surface with a roller. A bunched up rag or chamois leather is then rolled on the surface to move and pull up the glaze.
8. Color washing – This technique gives the surface a soft, delicate, water color look. With this method distemper paint is thinned with water and applied to the surface in irregular patterns. A crossways brush movement is generally recommended to help prevent the paint from dripping.
9. Lacquer finish – Using this technique, the surface is given depth or dimension. There are multiple ways of doing this. One method would be to apply a tinted varnish to the surface, but with quick and even strokes to avoid brush marks and drips. Two coats may be necessary. A second method, glazing can be used by applying glaze with a soft large brush keeping it as thin as possible. Once the surface is dried, a very thin coat of varnish is applied. A third method is stenciling. With this method the surface is first painted and dried; then a lacquer is applied using a stencil. You can also use tape, rather than stencil, to create stripes or squares.
With any of these methods, I recommend using a test surface such as a garage wall or the stairwell down to the basement to practice your technique. With a little time and patience you can create a unique and richly textured look in your home that you will enjoy for years to come.