The color washing painting technique is one of the easiest faux-finish techniques available for quickly adding depth of color and texture to a wall. This technique is also easy to repair, so if you make mistakes, all is not lost. After you’re done, it’s wise to keep some of your paint mixtures in air-tight containers so you can complete repairs at a later date if they become necessary.
This painting method is also a particularly excellent choice for old or distressed walls, such as those that have dents, nail holes or some water damage, because the layers of color will distract the eye from the flaws in the wall and do an excellent job of camouflage.
Like most faux painting projects, the process of color washing begins with a base coat of latex paint in a satin finish, applied with a nap roller.
Apply the paint, and then allow it to dry thoroughly. Usually your base coat should be the lighter of the two colors that you’ve picked, if you want a traditional wash effect. But sometimes it makes sense to reverse the colors and use a lighter shade over a darker one to create a more chalky looking finish.
Next, you’ll need to dilute your top/wash color: use a ratio of one part paint to three parts water. Dip a decorator’s sponge in water, wring it out, and then load up the sponge with paint. Rub the sponge along the wall, "washing" the surface using a figure-eight motion, and allow this thin layer of color to dry for at least 8 hours.
You can stop here if you like the effect, or you can add another layer of color. This new layer can be the same wash color you just used, or it can be a different (but still related) shade. If using a different color, create another mixture of three parts water to one part paint, and repeat the sponging technique.
Remember to regularly take a step back and look at the wall; if there are any areas you’re unhappy with, touch them up to bring them up to your standards. Allow the finish to thoroughly dry before hanging wall art, window treatments, and putting the furniture back against the freshly painted walls.
As an optional step (usually recommended only for painted surfaces in high-traffic areas), you can wait 24 hours and then use a brush to apply some clear glaze over the entire wall. This will set the paint and protect it from potential damage.
This post was written by a professional faux finisher. To learn more techniques, see the sponge painting and rag faux paint instructions.
More related articles:
Distressed Paint Finishes
Decorating with Sponge Painting
Spray Paint Home Decorating
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