Tips for Faux Paint Finishes

Paint has always been used for two entirely different functions. On the one hand, it is a covering used to bring solid color and life to otherwise boring surfaces. Home exteriors and room interiors are the typical examples of this treatment, though you may also hear painted furniture and powder-coated vehicles included as well. On the other hand, paint has traditionally been used as the indispensable medium for art, creating the illusions of depth, representation and abstraction on flat, blank canvases. Somewhere in between the two lies the concept of faux painting, an umbrella term that refers to any number of innovative room-painting techniques.

Why “faux”? The term makes reference to the fact that painting this way often implies depth and texture where there is none. Some have even gone so far as to say faux painting is the art of “drawing” something that doesn’t exist – be it fabric, metal or a third dimension. Most experts categorize fax paint finishes under a few main flags – sponging, dragging, stamping, marbleizing and so on. Although a few require exotic materials, most simply demand household items and concentration. Thankfully you hardly need to be an artist to master techniques such as these – for the most part, they require little more than patience and repetition. The benefits can be spectacular – dazzling forms and unexpected contours that lend every room a more inviting and stylish sheen.

Of the major techniques, ragging may be the most common. In it, you apply a base coat in your color of choice, wait for it to dry, and then use a blotted rag to achieve secondary texture over the first. Most experts advise practicing with your glaze before you hit the actual locale, as details such as pressure, rotation and saturation can make all the difference. Once you are comfortable with the look, you simply need to repeat the same motion as needed, rotating when necessary, to achieve a mottled appearance akin to fabric. You may also want to experiment with cotton versus polyester, as the material you use may affect the clarity of the print. Some advanced painters have even been knows to affix chamois cloth to a traditional roller to expedite the process!

Sponging works much like ragging, but with markedly different results. Instead of crumpling to create a repeatable shape, sponging makes use of the holes that naturally arise in a porous sea sponge. That means the texture you get is far finer and subtler, closer to pointillism than illustration. The steps are essentially the same – apply a base coat, pick your glaze, practice, blot and apply. But one of the nice things about sponging is that you need to look closely at the wall to discover the technique – from afar, it simply looks like a blended texture. A number of designers even recommend sponging more than once with subtly different colors to build up depth and complexity and reduce the uniformity you might otherwise see from such a fine-grained technique.

Another popular choice, usually called combing or dragging, involves precisely what you may expect – vertical or horizontal streaking techniques to create a “grain” in the glaze itself. The difference here is that you want to apply a full base coat and a full coat of glaze before you begin the technique. Generally the glaze coat is then “combed” using a stiff brush to apply subtle parallel lines over the length of the room. Many painters apply blue tape or a guide to ensure all the motions are parallel and perpendicular to the lines of the room. Different brush types and bristle gauges can offer finer or coarser grains depending on your preference, and the amount of time you give the glaze to set may alter the appearance as well. Experiment with a small section of wall or wood until you get precisely the aesthetic you want.

Of course, faux painting can also include advanced techniques such as crackle glazes, metallic finishes and more, so do not limit yourself without speaking to a pro at your local home wars store first. Anyone who has visited an art gallery can vouch for the fact that nearly any material can be “faux’ed” with paint, so be sure and let your imagination free before it’s time to commit.

 

 
Handy Tips, Advices, Ideas & Warnings

Choosing the right paint texture
Each paint finish has its own properties. The more matte the finish, the more it hides imperfections and uneven reflections, but it's less washable. The glossier the finish, the more washable it is, but also the more sensitive to imperfections and it will mask less efficiently. In order: glossy, semi-gloss, pearl, eggshell, satin, matte. Semi-gloss is best for hall walls and for windows and frames; use matte on ceilings and satin and pearl for the rest. Kitchens, bathrooms and basements have their own antifungal paints.

Drying paint and the temperature
Paint in a ventilated and temperate space. When temperatures are between 10C and 32C there's no risk, although 15c to 22C is ideal. Latex paint will dry in a few hours at this temperature. Oil-based paints will dry more rapidly in a warm, dry environment.

Wood preparation before painting
When we paint wood, we're decorating it, but we can also protect it for good if the surface is prepared properly. New wood must be sanded along the grain. Painted or stained wood as well, unless you strip it down to its bare surface. Pores, screw and nail holes can be filled with plastic wood or joint compound, according to the case. Remove all accessories to minimize trimming. Paint over knots with orange shellac to hide them forever. Finally, be sure that the wood is dry and clean.

Painting old moldings
Over the years and after many coats of paint, door frames, windows and wall molding joints are no longer well defined and easy to trim. Carefully trace over the joints with a plasterboard knife using a yardstick if necessary. The traced cut will act as a paint dam? as long as you don't use too much.

Paint without removing fixtures
To avoid having to remove fixtures before painting, particularly when the pieces are difficult to get off, nothing works like Vaseline petroleum jelly. Just spread it on the surfaces to be protected before starting to paint and when finished, clean the fixtures with a paper towel or a soft cloth.

Removing paint on glass and windows
It is well known that dried paint can be removed from glass with a razor blade. If the glass objects are textured or uneven, soak them in water and dishwasher liquid for a few hours.

Doing clean touch ups
During light painting jobs, put a "Zip Lock" type sandwich bag in a plastic margarine tub and fold the bag edges over the rim. Pour the paint into the bag of your "paint tray" and once the job is over, remove the bag and seal it, or throw it away.

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.

Finishing product: paint, stain, varnish, etc.
Different customers have different needs. No product meets every need. To select the appropriate product, start by identifying your needs based on the following specific criteria in order to create a “funnel” leading to your ideal product. The product selection process is simple, effective and based on eight product selection criteria: function, environment, surface, use, composition, appearance, colour and quality.

Masking knots before painting
Knots in finished wood will appear sooner or later after painting. Before painting, seal the knots with a lacquer. It is the only liquid sealant that will efficiently seal in knot resin, without discoloring the finishing paint.

Choosing the right paint texture
Each paint finish has its own properties. The more matte the finish, the more it hides imperfections and uneven reflections, but it's less washable. The glossier the finish, the more washable it is, but also the more sensitive to imperfections and it will mask less efficiently. In order: glossy, semi-gloss, pearl, eggshell, satin, matte. Semi-gloss is best for hall walls and for windows and frames; use matte on ceilings and satin and pearl for the rest. Kitchens, bathrooms and basements have their own antifungal paints.

Drying paint and the temperature
Paint in a ventilated and temperate space. When temperatures are between 10C and 32C there's no risk, although 15c to 22C is ideal. Latex paint will dry in a few hours at this temperature. Oil-based paints will dry more rapidly in a warm, dry environment.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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