At one time faux finishes were limited by definition to finishes that mimicked the look of other expensive materials. The technique was considered a poor man’s alternative by all who weren’t in the know. In the 1920s at the height of the art nouveau period, faux finishes were seen in the wealthiest homes in the country, not because they couldn’t afford it, but because it was creative!
The definition of faux finish has expanded to include other surface looks such as tarnished metal and even fabric. These are looks that most amateur painters can master without too much difficulty.
Let’s look at some of the easiest faux finishes and where you can use them to add style and class to your home.
Color washing is one of the cheapest routes to go. You just apply a thin wash of the color you want over top of the existing paint if you like the color. Depending on the color you choose to wash with, you can get some very unusual results. A dark wash on a light wall can be very dramatic. A near-matching wash will be very subtle.
Ragging and Rag-Rolling
You don’t have to use a rag for this technique. A variety of materials are popular with this faux painting technique. Cotton t-shirts and old denim jeans are popular “rags” to work with. Your rag doesn’t even have to be fabric. You can use plastic bags, plastic wrap and aluminum foil to create interesting and unique effects.
Spattering is a fun technique. It’s perfect for a free-form look in kid’s rooms. It can also be used to create an “antiqued” look if the color of paint is dark brown and the specks are small. All that’s needed is paint and brush.
For a bold effect in a child’s room, experiment with thick paint and a soft bristle brush. For fine spatters, us a thin paint and a stiff bristle brush. (A toothbrush is perfect.)
Sponging is another easy finish. You can work with two, three and even four colors to achieve very attractive results. This is one of the best techniques to use for masking imperfections in drywall. Natural sea sponges generally yield better results than cellulose (kitchen) sponges.
Look for a sea sponge with an open and irregular shape if you want a coarser texture. For a more delicate texture, look for a sponge with a finer grain. Avoid round sponges as they tend to create round, regular patterns on the wall, which looks less professional.
Stippling, or pouncing, involves dabbing color onto the wall with a special brush known as a pouncing brush. This technique is usually reserved for small areas or for stenciling as it takes time to dab the paint on the wall. The stiffness, size of the brush, and the way it’s held determine the final effect; it can be random or very regimented.
Not only are these are some of the most popular faux finishes they are also the easiest. You decide what you want the finished look to be and the colors you want to work with. Because you aren’t imitating nature, you can do almost anything you want to.