Decorative Finishes

28 May 2015
Want to try a faux finish? Here are some guidelines in doing it yourself!
Sponge technique - faux Finish

Advanced/Speciality Materials:

Latex and Acrylic (acrylic vs latex) paints can be used effectively for a number of faux finishes and techniques and because they are water-based. They are safer on the environment and you and can be easily cleaned up with soap and water. They are quick-drying which is not always an advantage for speciality and advanced painting. Paint additives have been developed to help with the problem of quick-drying. These include latex paint conditioners and acrylic paint extenders. These products can be found at paint retailers.

In some cases, for faux finishes, it is recommended to use paint glaze. Paint Glaze is usually thinner and more translucent than paint. There are some pre-mixed acrylic paint glazes available but they are limited in quantity and can be mixed to produce additional colours. The usual way to add colour to your glaze is by adding a small amount of paint to get to your desired colour.

Tips for Using Paint Glazes:

  • Protect the surrounding area with a drop cloth or plastic sheet, and wear old clothing as working with glaze can be a bit messy
  • Use wide painter's tape (2 inch) to mask off surrounding surfaces. Firmly rub in the edges of the tape to ensure that the glaze will not seep under it.
  • Use a paint roller to apply glaze even when coverage is desired or when painting a large surface, such as a wall.
  • Use a paintbrush to apply the glaze when a smooth finish is desired, or when painting a small surface/item.
  • Use a sponge applicator to apply the glaze when more variation and pattern in the surface is desired, or when painting a small item
  • Glaze should be applied/manipulated while it is still wet. Glaze normally stays wet and is open for application for a few minutes but this can be affected by humidity.


Faux Finishes - Tools and Paintbrushes
Glaze Application

Many tools and paintbrushes have been developed for creating specialized decorative painting effects called faux finishes. Some tools can create more than one effect based on how it is used. If this is something that you have a special interest in perfecting, you should work with the various tools to learn their capabilities on your path to becoming an expert DIY faux finisher!

While this list is not at all exhaustive, here are some possible tools:

  • blending brushes
  • stipplers
  • mottlers
  • dual woolie roller
  • edging tool
  • artist's eraser
  • stencil brushes
  • sea sponge
  • feathers etc