If you want something more interesting on your walls than plain emulsion or eggshell paint, there are a number of special painting techniques you can use, some of which require some extra tools plus home-made or commercial oil-based glaze and a selection of tints.
Sponging involves dabbing one or more additional colours on to a base coat to give a mottled finish. It should be done with a sea sponge (not a cellulose sponge) which should not be overloaded. Start at the lop of the wall and dab lightly. Sponging off also uses a sea sponge, but here the paint is put on the wall first and dabbed off.
Ragging on is done by ‘printing’ the wall with a rag dipped into coloured paint on top of a basecoat. Ordinary rags can be used or, for a different effect, cheesecloth, chamois leather or plain cotton.
Ragging off involves first painting the wall with an oil-based glaze and then removing it with dabbing movements.
Rag rolling is similar to ragging off, but here the rag is bunched up and rolled up and down the wet paint – not an easy technique to master.
Dragging also involves working with a wet glaze, but here a paint brush is used to draw down the glaze to leave a striped effect. As with ragging off and rag rolling, the job is easier with two people one to apply the glaze and one to apply the technique.
Stencilling is an old technique for which you need a prepared stencil of the pattern required and a stubby stencil brush to apply the colours. For best results, the stencil should be spray mounted into place to prevent it from moving.
Effective stencilling can also be achieved by using an indoor aerosol paint.
Stippling involves dabbing a brush on to wet glaze. A special stipple brush can be used, though many people achieve good effects with (clean) shoe brushes.
Colour washing is achieved by first putting on full-strength emulsion of one colour and following this with a different colour thinned with water and applied with random criss-cross movements.
Spattering is a technique which gives dots of different coloured paint on the base colour. It is achieved by flicking the paint at the wall, most easily done by loading the paint brush and hilting it against a piece of wood. Several colours can be used to good effect.