Paint of course impacts a room simply through its color, but if you want to add some dimension, texture and depth to the look of your walls you can achieve that by using faux painting techniques such as color washing, rag rolling and sponging. With each of these techniques, a base coat of paint in a solid color is applied and then a glaze or wash it applied over it. Glazes are durable oil-based treatments and washes are made by simply adding water to ordinary latex paint that make the color more transparent; the more water that is added, the more transparent the finish. When working with washes, be aware that they tend to dry quickly; oil based glazes give you more time to work in your effects before they dry.
Preparing the Walls
Before you start painting, prepare your walls by washing them with soap or a small amount of bleach in water. If there are any nail holes or cracks in the wall, patch and sand them and wipe away any dust residue after the patching compound has dried and been sanded. Once the walls are ready, apply latex primer and let it dry thoroughly.
If you are inexperienced in the technique you wish to use, it’s wise to practice first on a scrap wall board or poster board until you perfect your method for achieving the look and color you desire.
Color washing creates a beautifully subtle, soft cloud-like effect on walls that works with many decorating styles; it has the added benefit helping to hide any imperfections on the wall’s surface. Start by painting the walls with your base color and let it dry. Depending on the effect you desire, your glaze may be in a contrasting or a complementary color. Apply the glaze in a swirling or criss-cross fashion and then use a damp rag to dab the wet glaze and soften the paint lines and edges.
Rag rolling is used to create a very crinkled or textured pattern that resembles parchment, velvet or silk; the dark and light layers created with this technique add the illusion of depth to the walls. Again, your first step is to apply the base coat of paint and let it dry. To create a rag rolling effect, there are one of two methods used: Ragging on and ragging off. To rag on, gather a damp rag in your hand and then dip it into the glaze or wash and lightly blot it onto the wall. To rag off, use a roller to apply the glaze coat and immediately dab it off with a damp rag to remove some the glaze so that the base coat will show through.
A natural sea sponge is used in this technique to create a porous, mottled look on the walls that can be varied depending on the type and size of sponge that is used. Use two or more colors making sure that one layer is completely dry before sponging on the next layer. Apply the base coat with a roller, let dry and use the sponge to pat the glaze or wash onto the wall. Don’t overload the sponge with paint or you’ll end up with a blotchy blemished effect. Another method for sponge painting is similar to ragging off: Apply the glaze with a roller or brush and remove some before it dries by dabbing with the sponge.