SPONGING: This is normally a positive technique although it can be negative. Prepare walls and paint your basecoat typically in a light shade flat or slight sheen. Mix Latex paint and water equal proportions (or to your liking). You can add glazing liquid for more transpar- ency if desired. Wet a natural sea sponge and wring out. Dip into the paint fully and wring out or put abit on the sponge then tap on a piece of cardboard to distribute the paint - whatever works for you. Gently pounce the sponge on the wall turning your wrist each time so you don’t repeat a pattern. Don’t press or twist into the surface - keep a light and even touch. Immediately go over what you have done with another damp sponge to soften up the sponge marks. This is optional but I like to do it to remove the dotty appearance of sponging. If you plan to apply more than one color, leave lots of the background showing which you will fill in with other colors. I apply 2 or 3 colors together even while wet so they blur and soften better. Related colors such as pink, blue and purple (for example), will work together whereas pink and green will create a muddy color. If you want a strong look, apply contrasting colors, but they won’t be as pleasing to the eye. For a soft, muted appearance, colors from the same family work best and will be pleasant to look at. You can do one color at a time letting each dry first, and will find this nec- essary when doing contrasting colors. For corners, use a small cut piece of sponge or a small splayed brush to tap in the color. This is the part that needs extra attention as a poorly finished corner is a sign of a true beginner. See tips sheet for more help on sponging. PLASTIC BAGGING - TRY THIS VARIATION FOR A DIFFERENT EFFECT: Take a plastic grocery bag and turn inside out so the lettering is on the inside and won't come off on the wall. Scrunch it up into a ball and dip it into the same thinned paint or glaze you would use for sponging. Dab it onto a plastic plate or cardboard to distribute and remove some of the excess. Make sure there are lots of little folds so that when you apply it to the wall, it creates a wrinkly sort of effect. Apply just like you would if you were sponging. Keep re-shaping the bag in your hand when you dip it so there is lots of wrinkles where the paint hits the wall. I use this technique instead of sponging most of the time because I like it so much. I tried it one day by accident and really loved the effect so have kept using it. I prefer to add glazing liquid to the paint for this technique as it gives a softer translucent finish on the walls.
COLORWASH: Build up layers of thinned paint to create a cloudy, textured finish. Gives a soft look with the fluid quality of watercolor paints. Create a casual old-world feel to a room. Apply base color in a flat or eggshell finish. The colorwash is mixed: 1 part latex paint with 4-7 parts water depending on the look you want. More paint gives a darker more opaque wash. You may substitute glazing liquid for the water - this will give an entirely different look - more translucent. You can use all three, so is really necessary to practise this technique using various proportions of paint, water and/or glaze. There are various ways to apply the colorwash: by using a wide brush, apply the wash in every direction, creating X’s, arcs, or brushing all over. You don’t want your brush dripping. You can leave some background showing, then go over a second time with a slightly different color and fill in the gaps or cover the wall area once and leave as is. You can also use a second damp brush to soften the brush marks as you work, by having someone help you because it dries extremely fast. Another method: is by saturating a rag or sponge in the wash - cheese- cloth works well. Apply all over the wall in a circular “washing” motion. Keep the rag wet but not dripping and continue until the wall is finished. Again, you can leave open areas and go back with a second color once the first coat is dry. Multiple layers look the best with this method, but is a personal choice. Colorwashing is very effective when applied over sponging or ragging to soften. SMOOSHING: This is a negative technique so is best to use oil glaze and you will almost certainly need the help of a friend. Prepare and paint your wall surface if necessary. This is best done in a light base color with a darker glaze applied over. See my recipes for mixing glazes. Apply the glaze with a roller to the surface doing the whole wall at one time if you can manage it. Immediately, apply a large plastic sheet to the wall, covering the glaze completely. Once in place, smoosh it around with your hands, not fingers as they will leave imprints. When you think it has been wrinkled enough start at the top and pull the sheet of plastic down, remove and discard. The thickness of the plastic will determine the amount of wrinkles but a fairly thin drop sheet type of plastic works well. Some people work in sections so that may be what you feel more comfortable doing. See my tips section for more helpful hints.
NEGATIVE RAGGING: Prepare walls and base coat in low sheen finish. Flat finish sucks up too much paint. Make a glaze 2-3 shades darker than the base coat using oil glaze if doing a large surface for more open time. Mix according to my recipe given adding 1 part paint thinner if mixture is too thick. Pour into a paint tray and use a roller. Apply to the whole wall or work in 3 foot sections, whichever you prefer. Dab or roll a dry scrunched up rag through the glaze removing a little or alot. Texture of cloth will determine the crispness of the marks left on the wall. An old diaper works well or T-shirt material. Whatever material you start with, make sure you have plenty to finish all surfaces as they becomes saturated quickly. If you work in sections, always leave a wet edge. Be careful not to leave a noticeable pattern when working. I have used a scrunched up plastic grocery bag turned inside out for doing this technique and find it leaves a nice impression as well. See hints section on how to dispose of your saturated rags. POSITIVE RAGGING: Prepare base coat and glaze as above. No need to use oil glaze for this technique, latex/acrylic glazing liquid will work just fine. See my recipe given. Take an old sheet and rip into about 1 foot square sections removing all frayed threads. Dip into the glaze till saturated then squeeze out until it doesn’t drip glaze. Roll up into a rosette shape ball and roll over the surface of the wall in various directions until filled in. As an option, you can dab the rag onto the wall continually changing it so that a pattern doesn’t develop. These two methods are abit different so whichever one you start doing, continue until finished. Keep re-dipping into the glaze and continue the same pressure at all times. Stand back every so often to see if any area needs to be filled in more. See tips for more general info.
SHADOW STRIPING: Create a wide range of effects by using a variety of color combina- tions and different levels of contrast. Bright colors with high contrast can give more drama whereas subdued colors with less contrast will create an elegant formal room. Ways to create contrast: 1. Paint a base coat in eggshell or satin in color of choice. Make stripes the same color only a higher sheen. 2. Paint base coat in color and sheen of choice and create stripes by sponging or ragging on. 3. Paint base coat in color of choice and create negative ragged stripes. 4. Paint latex eggshell or satin sheen base color and create stripes using a semi-gloss acrylic urethane. 5. Do a low sheen paint technique on the walls like negative ragging then create stripes by applying a clear semi-gloss urethane. 6. Use these methods to create diamond shapes, checks or stenciled contrast areas as well. 7. Create metallic stripes using gold, silver or copper acrylic craft paint mixed with glazing medium and create stunning stripes. Can also be used to create stars, or stenciled onto a wall randomly to create various effects. 8. Take watered down paint and brush on stripes. More casual and not as even as when using masking tape. Can be dry brushed overtop to create more uneven coloring. 8. Paint a base coat color then apply wide masking tape evenly across the wall. Take glaze and roller it onto the wall in wide easy-to- do sections. Remove the masking tape and immediately rag or bag the glaze to mottle taking some into the masked out areas. The masked areas will remain lighter than the remainder of the wall. Continue until you’ve completed the whole wall. How to measure the stripes once your base color is completed: 1. Decide how far apart you want the stripes to be and determine if you will end up with an even amount of stripes by dividing the width of the wall by the width of the stripe. Say your wall is 10 feet wide, and you want 5 inch stripes - divide 120 inches by 5 and you get 24 stripes. 2. Apply low-tack painters tape to the top and bottom of the wall by working in 4 foot sections. Make a tick where you want your stripes to be - at the 5 - 10 - 15 inch marks on the top and bottom tape sections and so on. Stretch a line between the top and bottom and check to make sure they are level. Snap a chalk line using blue or white chalk. Don’t use permanent chalk. 3. Remove the top and bottom tape and mask out every other stripe with low-tack masking tape. Leave the chalk line exposed so you paint over it. 4. Apply the color you want in the stripe area using a low-nap roller for applying urethane or paint glaze. Or do one of the options listed above. 5. Immediately remove the masking tape to reveal the contrasting stripe. DRAGGING OR STRIE': Done on woodwork or cabinets dragging gives a nice texture. Paint with base coat color and allow to dry. Using masking tape, tape off where you wish the pattern to appear and if doing in sections, tape off those as well. Normally you would do areas where you can drag a brush only in one direction. Mix glaze according to my recipes given, using either oil or latex glazing liquid. Brush or roll glaze onto the area then drag a dry bristle brush (size depends on size of area) removing some glaze and creating a linear pattern. If you were doing a cupboard door for example, you could do the outside frame by masking out each of the four panels. Side panels would be dragged vertically, top and bottom panels would be dragged horizontally. The center of the door could be divided into 4 triangles and each one dragged individually or it could be painted and stenciled or ragged for abit of contrast. Remove masking tape immediately and allow to dry. DENIM WALLS: This strie’ technique is quite similar to the look of denim. Basecoat the wall in a light blue or off white color. Working with a partner will be useful on this project as you need to work carefully and quickly before the glaze dries. An oil glaze will allow more open time. Using a dark navy blue, mix with glazing liquid as per my recipes given. It will lighten when mixed with the glaze so make sure it is dark enough in color. Mask out all areas and have drop cloths down and extra rags for cleanups. Have a fairly wide bristle brush ready and pour the glaze into a paint tray. Have your partner roll the glaze onto the area just like if you were painting the wall. Take the bristle brush and drag it vertically from top to bottom being careful not to jiggle or wobble the brush too much and don’t lift it until you get to the bottom. Wipe excess glaze off on an old rag and continue with the next row until you have completed the whole area. You can then take the brush and do very light dragging horizontally to create lines going in the opposite direction. Make these lines very light. Remove masking tape and allow to dry. It is a good idea to practice dragging to have maximum control over the brush as it’s hard to erase a mistake without completely starting over. By dragging from top to bottom you create Strie’ - an expensive French look - nice for an elegant and formal wall treatment.