"Brush" and "roller" are part of everyone's painting vocabulary, but we've got a few more that are bound to become part of yours. While the old standards boost the colors of your walls, sometimes your house demands a little more. Our techniques will not only add the same crisp hues, but also breathe life into your walls' texture. Soon enough, "faux finish" and "pressing" will be phrases you'll be teaching your friends.
Proper Prep Work
As with every painting project, the long-term satisfaction of your work depends mostly on the work you put in before you pick up a brush. Proper preparation is key. Start by vacuuming and dusting your room, to ensure no particles end up in the paint as it dries. Put a drop cloth down to protect your floors, which also keeps dust out of the air.
Wash your walls thoroughly with a large sponge. Also, sand down any rough spots and repair any imperfections in the wall. Rinse with water. When the wall is dry, apply a primer coat of paint. If these proper preparatory steps aren't taken, your paint job could fall victim to peeling, flaking or bubbling.
For each of these painting techniques, choose at least two colors that will complement each other. One color will go on first as a base coat, then the next colors will go on top. Use shinier eggshell or satin paint for top layers. Let base color dry completely before applying subsequent layers.
Use a Sponge
Sponging is one of the easiest decorative finishes to add. It looks light and airy, almost as though clouds painted your walls. Good sponges for applying paint (sea sponges, not dish sponges) are available at most hardware and paint stores.
Pour your top coat paint into a roller tray, then dip a clean sponge into the tray. Don't saturate it, apply just enough to cover the surface. Using a light touch, press the sponge against the wall. Rotate the sponge as you continue to dab it on the wall until your desired area is filled.
Create with Cloth
Creating textured paint using a piece of cloth is known as rag-rolling. Rag-rolling creates a smooth, soft, cloth-like texture. There are two methods, rag-rolling on and rag-rolling off.
For rag-rolling on, apply the base coat with a brush, then apply the topcoat with the cloth. Cut your cloth with scissors into large squares. Don't tear the cloth, as this will lead to frayed ends that might get stuck on the wall. Bunch the cloth in your hands, with the edges tucked in, not extending away from your hand where they create unruly patterns. Dip the cloth in your topcoat paint and apply to the base coat with a rolling motion.
For rag-rolling off, more cloth is needed because the cloths are used to remove paint, instead of applying it. Paint over the base coat with your second coat. Roll cloth into a cylindrical shape, then roll cylinder down the wall, lifting off the wet paint. You'll need to replace the cloth cylinder when it gets too wet and stops removing paint.
This technique creates an interesting texture that almost resembles leather. After applying base color apply second color. Cover the wet paint with a long sheet of plastic food wrap, pressing it against the wall with a hand broom. Then peel off the wrap without dragging paint.
Paint with Polish
Achieve a warm, textured look with this simple technique of applying furniture polish in generous amounts, then smoothing it into the wall in an artistic, freehand motion. Simply purchase clear furniture polish and liquid tint in the color of your choice. Mix the tint into the polish, then apply it to the walls with a chip brush. Next, smooth with a stain pad in a decorative pattern. Once dry, complete the project by polishing the surface with a car buffer for an extra-shiny finish.
Make Your Walls Pop
Bring energy and intrigue to your space by painting one wall in a room a different color. Choose the wall in the room that has a focal point-a fireplace, a piece of art or an unusual shape. Then paint it with a color that is similar to the other walls or is found in another part of the room, like the upholstery.
Use this technique to give your walls a soft, velvety look with subtle color variations that resembles the texture of suede. To get the look, paint primed or previously painted walls with a coat of special faux suede paint, which can be purchased at your local home improvement store.
When the first coat has dried completely, use a 3" brush to add a second coat. Apply the paint in an X-pattern. First make a large 1 foot X, and them fill it in with a smaller 4"x6" X-pattern. There's no need to be precise, random brush strokes will make the finish look more realistic.
Imitate Venetian Plaster
Even if you don't know all the ins and outs of every faux finish technique, home improvement stores will often carry the special paint and tools you'll need with the necessary instructions right on the packaging. For a bright, polished look below a chair rail, try a Venetian plaster interior faux finish. You'll use a similar pattern painting technique to the faux suede finish above and apply it to the wall using steel spatulas with plastic handles and metal blades.
Adding decorative finishes or faux textures is a great way to add a dramatic flair to your room. A good decorative finish makes people want to feel your walls for themselves; you may have to remind visitors not to. And when they realize it's just a creative paint job, they'll shower you with compliments.