Getting Started with Faux Painting

Faux means “false or artificial” in French, and faux finishes are techniques used to create beautiful paint effects. Faux painting is not limited to walls. It can be used on ceilings, boxes, frames, tables, cabinets, flower pots, and candlesticks.

Faux painting can be used to achieve the look of a specific material, like marble or stained glass, to create the look of age, or to create a unique paint texture. Faux painting can also be combined with other techniques like stenciling and trompe l’Oeil for an even wider range of effects.

Two Important Tips

First, faux painting usually involves either specialized paints or paint additives or special, or unusual, paint applicators. When you consider a faux painting project, make sure you’re aware of all the necessary materials.

Second, some faux painting techniques involve manipulating the base coat, while others have to do with a top coat. Make sure you understand what needs to be done in what order for the technique you choose to work as you desire.

home institute 1 Types of Faux Painting

Often, faux painting involves multiple colors and applications of paint, sometimes using special paint or additives to achieve particular effects. Here are some of the techniques often used:

Glazing—When glazing, also known as “broken color,” the first layer applied is a base coat. This coat is the color that will be least visible in the final product. One or more additional colors are individually mixed with glazing liquid and applied on top. The glaze layer(s) can be shaped in the following ways while the top layer of paint is still wet:

    Bagging—After the glaze color has been applied with a roller, use a crumpled, clean plastic bag, such as a food storage bag—different weights will give different effects—to pat the surface, switching to a new bag when the old one is too full of glaze.

    Sponging—Use a natural sea sponge slightly dampened with water to pat the glaze color, or use it to apply the glaze color.

    Ragging—Similar to sponging, use a slightly damp clean rag to either apply the glaze or remove it.

Antiquing—Antiquing usually involves using crackle or patina. Crackle is applied before the main color and allowed to dry before the main color is applied. It makes the surface paint appear to be cracked with age. Metallic and pearlescent finishes add a patina to a base coat.

Textures—Paints premixed with textured materials provide another approach to faux painting. Sandwash includes bits of stone and sand. To imitate a plaster wall, venetian plaster textured paint can be used.

Further Guidance

A number of companies offer instruction in faux painting techniques. Whether provided on a video or as instructional cards, these tools can help you become familiar with the techniques you can use and the effects you can produce to help you make a choice about the type of faux painting that would best suit your home.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

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