Sponge Painting Walls

Looking for fresh ideas when painting your home? Remember walls no longer have to be one standard color anymore. Consider using the sponge technique to spice things up. There are many different techniques you can use when doing decorative painting like stenciling and painting walls two-tone. But sponge painting is probably the easiest technique to learn and one of the most striking. It involves dabbing a second color over the first plain color to achieve a more textured effect. You’ve probably seen this used in restaurants or nightclubs but it can work just as well in a home.

Just as in most painting endeavors the first step is to choose colors. Obviously you will want two colors that compliment each other well. If you are going for a highly noticeable and striking effect you will want to choose colors with a lot of contrast, a fairly dark color and a fairly light color. You will also need to decide which color to use as the base color and which to use as the accentuating color. One interesting thing about sponge painting is that it allows you to use darker colors than you would normally use. A dark solid color will seem oppressive but with a lighter layer of sponge painting on top you can avoid making the room seem too dark. Using the dark color on the bottom or creates a totally different effect from using it as the accentuating color so consider both possibilities. Remember when buying the paint that the accent layer will not use nearly as much paint as the solid layer.

If you are aiming for a subtle effect choose colors that are equally light or dark. One suggestion is to use colors that are only one or two shades different from each other. There are also many specialty paints on the market now that can be used to create a unique look. For instance, using a metallic paint as the accent coat can be quite striking. Sponge painting requires at least two colors but you don’t have to stop at two. Many accent layers can be added on top of the solid base. However, the colors must be chosen even more carefully if there are more than two so that all the colors blend well. Choosing the colors is particularly difficult for sponge painting because it is hard to visualize what the actual effect will be. As long as the colors compliment each other it should turn out looking great. If you are not sure you will like effect chooses one spot to test it out on that and if you don’t like it simply paint over it with the solid color. However, it is impossible to get the full effect of sponge painting until you paint the whole room.

Once you have chosen the colors the actual painting is fairly easy. You will need to buy a sponge to apply the accent color. Most paint stores stock natural sponges that can be used or you can use a regular kitchen sponge as well. Before painting it is a good idea to test out the sponge technique on a piece of paper. You should be able to get a good idea about how the two colors will look together as well as what types of patterns that your sponge will make. Take note of the effects you can achieve with the sponge and what looks best to you. Once you are ready to paint the walls first apply the solid color in the same manner as you usually paint the walls. Allow plenty of time for the bottom coat to dry before attempting to do the accent coat. If the walls are already the color that you want as the solid there’s no need to paint them again. In fact, adding the accent coat is a good way to make a big change to room without a lot of work. It can also be used as a cover up for dingy walls.

Applying the accent color is the fast fun part. First make sure the sponge is damp. Then dip the sponge in paint so that the edges all have paint on them but do not dunk the whole sponge in the paint. The sponge pattern is achieved by the dry spots on the sponge as well as the spots with paint on them. Now you are ready to gently dab the sponge on the wall. Do this in several places. Make sure to space these dabs out and do it in a fairly random manner. Remember that when you first dab the sponge there will be a lot of paint on it but after a few dabs amount of paint will be less. Avoid putting first dabs next to each other or you will wind up with dark spots and light spots. Instead of starting at one end and moving straight through to the opposite end try to place dabs randomly in a large area. Keep adding dabs until you attain the density you desire. Be careful not to apply too much of the accent coat and clog up the effect. Also be aware of the corners. Don’t just dab to the edge and leave the corners clear or you will wind up with an unwanted empty margin around the edges. Go ahead and dab in the corners and where the walls meet but don’t mash the sponge into the corners. The accent coat dries fairly quickly. If you are using more than one accent coat make sure the first is completely dry before applying any others. Also remember to leave enough empty space for the amount of different colors that you are using.

Sponge painting is much easier than it appears and it can be used to achieve many effects from wild to classy. The most important part is deciding what kind of effect you want. With a little planning sponge paint can go a long way.



Painting tips & tricks of the day


Giving old wood a fresh look
Exterior wood siding can be painted, or stripped and painted. Strip paint using a torch by burning the old paint and scraping it lightly being careful not to damage the wood. Clean the surface with trisodium phosphate (TSP), which you can find in the paint department of your local home renovation centre. Repair siding where needed and caulk. If you are repainting in the same colour, apply the finishing coat after the wood is dry. If you are changing colours, apply a primer coat followed by the new colour, using exterior paint (an oil based primer will be necessary if going from oil to latex). Avoid painting in full sun, at sunset, in the early morning, in the rain or in the wind. To keep bugs from sticking to the fresh paint, simply add two tablespoons of citronella to the paint.


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