Creative Paint Finishes
Painting is about far more than solid colors these days.
Anyone who has spent any time thumbing through design
magazines has likely noticed just how many homes are being
utterly remade with more textured approaches. These can
range from simple mottled colors to fully realized
imagery, and everything in between. If you are looking for
creative paint finishes to make your home a more
interesting and inviting place, you may take great benefit
from a comprehensive overview. Most homeowners do not
realize the sheer variety of looks, tones and techniques
that are available to DIY-ers, and the sheer variety of
choices can be overwhelming.
First things first. No matter when kind of finish you’re
applying, it is essential to make the proper preparations
first. This means not just choosing the colors you want,
but ensuring the wall itself is free of any cracks, holes
or peeling paint. Vacuum for dust in and around the area,
and lay down masking tape and drop cloths that can
withstand paint and glaze. You also want to secure good
lighting and prepare all the materials so you aren’t
mixing in a hurry and learning on the fly. Experiment with
wood pieces or an unseen corner before you create the full
solutions – practice beforehand is the surest way to avoid
disasters down the line.
Most paint finishes can be broadly divided into
categories. The most common is generally called ragging,
though it may encompass any number of similar techniques.
The point of each is to create blends of colors that are
coarser than a simple mix, combining glazes and undercoats
into finely etched, repeating patterns. For each, you want
to begun with a solid base coat of paint, something to
play off as you expand the room’s visual interest. The
second step is to mix that paint with glaze – the
proportions may vary depending on the manufacturer, so
it’s always wise to start with a lower paint percentage
and work your way up.
Ragging and sponging are essentially identical – the only
difference is what shapes you use. Sponging involves
dipping an edge or face of the sponge into the glaze
solution and pressing it for a mottle effect. Ragging, on
the other hand, allows for much greater creativity as you
can scrunch that fabric in countless configurations for a
truly random distribution. Avoid getting the glaze on your
hands, elbows or paint handles, as you could inadvertently
break the effect with an errant streak. Also bear in mind
that the top coat is what generally draws the eye, so plan
ahead and make the base coat the one you will ultimately
use for peek-through “accents.”
Combing is an entirely different effect, though arguably
an even simpler one. Because this technique doesn’t
require you to apply the glaze piecemeal, you can brush it
on more broadly with equally good results. Create a lead
line of tape or string to mark the primary parallel, and
then draw down a stiff brush in alignment with that guide.
Vertical lines are more common, though you may be able to
generate a funkier feel with expansive horizontal strokes.
As with ragging and sponging, much of the ultimate look
here depends on which colors you are matching – very close
and you have a look not unlike denim, while more disparate
glaze can create striking juxtaposition.
More interesting color combination can be layered with
greater depth, creating what many designers called a
marbleized look. This technique is as much art as science,
so you’ll need a good eye and plenty of practice to
emulate the mineral distribution of true marble. Multiple
sponging layers in subtly different hues comprise the bulk
of this technique, but much of the effect depends on finer
details such as metallic passes, subtle striations over
broad space and the application of “veins” using an
artist’s brush or a feather. As with the other techniques,
practice is essential here – give each layer plenty of
time to dry if you want a true representation of your
More sophisticated paint finishes techniques await for the
enterprising homeowner as well, from wood graining to
crackle glaze. Thankfully, they all involve essentially
the same materials, so this is a hobby that rewards
long-term experimentation year after year.
Painting Tips & Ideas
Antiquing gives instant charm to tired old furniture, so scour
those tag sales, attics or basements for a find! You can antique
any piece of furniture, but I've found that pieces with
carvings, turned legs or raised moldings look the best...
Antiqued gold home accessories are beautiful, but they can be
pricey. Well I can show you how to take a yard sale find and
make it into a masterpiece...
Look around your home, there are all sorts of everyday items
that you can use to give you a cool paint technique and great
texture for just about any room...
Caring for Paintbrushes
You'll end up with a great paint job every time if you take care
of your brushes...
A chalkboard is great for jotting down notes and a great place
for kids to draw, but they can be expensive. An easy and
inexpensive way to make your own is with chalkboard paint! It
looks like any other spray paint, but it dries to a chalkboard