Make a Splash!: An Overview of Passionate Paint Finishes for Walls (2)

Paint Finishes for Walls21. Colorwashing. The technique of colorwashing involves distressing color to create the illusion of faded plaster walls. It’s a wonderful technique to use on walls with flaws such as cracks and bumps. It also adds interest to smooth surfaces.

Please Note: Instructions for preparing surfaces will be given in section 9.8, You’re On a Roller! We highly recommend following those instructions prior to beginning any of these paint projects.


The Steps:

  1. Apply two coats of base coat and after you are done, let the wall dry for at least two hours. Your base coat should be white latex paint in flat or satin finish.
  2. Dilute your colorwash paint (latex paint, satin finish) with water: 1 part paint to 1 part water. The watered down paint is translucent, which will allow each coat to show the coat below. You can also mix the latex paint with wallpaper paste (1 part paint to 1 part paste) instead of water to create a more textured finish.

Stir the mixture until it is mixed well, and pour into a paint tray.

  1. Apply the diluted paint in random crisscrosses with a 3” or 4” latex brush, until there are no areas of the base coat showing. Diluted paint is very runny, so be sure your floors and furniture are well-covered. Work quickly to keep the mixture wet as you apply it, which will ensure a soft textured effect. If you are painting a large area, work in sections of about 3’ x 3’, overlapping each section with crisscross strokes by about 1 inch.
  2. (optional step to add a second color) Dilute another color paint and add a second colorwash layer on top of the first.
  3. If you are painting a bathroom, kitchen, or hallway, protect the finish with a coat of clear varnish. Note: You also can use a roller to create the crisscross strokes for the colorwash. This goes very fast and is fun!
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