Ragging and Ragrolling

Ragging and ragrolling are very similar broken color techniques for interior paint. Both techniques create a textured effect, and can be used on walls, cabinets, or other surfaces. Different types of paint and fabric can create many drastically different results.

Both techniques involve painting a base coat first. Next, a glaze is painted on, and ragging or ragrolling is performed. For ragging, a piece of lint-free cloth must be crumpled up and pressed onto the wet glazed surface. This provides a sharper and more static effect than ragrolling, and can be varied according the the pattern in which the cloth is pressed against the glaze.

Ragrolling uses a rag that is folded or rolled up into a sausage shape. The rag is then rolled across the wet glazed surface. Ragrolling produces a softer effect than ragging, with a sense of movement or waves. Ragrolling should be done with a downward motion.

Ragging is often used to camouflage objects that cannot be moved, such as radiators. When the same finish is put on the object and the wall behind it, the object will blend into the wall. Other items of furniture such as dressers and cabinets can also be painted using ragging, but ragrolling may be better, as it produces a softer effect that will not dominate the room as much as ragging might.

Ragrolling is specifically recommended for flat surfaces such as tables, walls, and ceilings. Ragrolling should not be used on windows and doors as the moldings make it almost impossible to perform successfully. Ragrolling will not appear as dominant as ragging.

home institute 1 There is no particular type of paint that needs to be used for ragging or ragrolling. If an oil-based paint is used, than an oil-based glaze must be used, after being thinned by paint solvent. For water-based latex or acrylic paint, the glaze can be thinned by water. As water-based paint dries much faster than oil-based paint, the ragging or ragrolling should be performed in small batches so that the glaze doesn't dry.

Both techniques can be varied considerably depending on which type of fabric is used. For example, using burlap can produce a leather-like texture, and linen can produce a texture that looks like parchment. Another popular method is to paint a base coat that is off-white and glaze with white paint with just a trace of black. Ragging or ragrolling this glaze over the off-white background can provide a very elegant effect, as can a white glaze over a slate gray background.

Written by Bronwyn Harris