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Fun Painting Techniques
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


Painting is one of the easiest ways to bring decorative and creative finishes to your walls and ceilings. There are many painting techniques that can be used to create a unique finish. By simply using paints, tools and a little imagination, homeowners can bring an exciting look to their home, with decorative textures and dimensions.

Before beginning any painting technique, it is important to know a little bit about “broken color.” Basically, “broken color” is a phrase used to describe the task of combining colors to get what you want. It is also referred to as a painting technique in which you layer more than one color over a separate base coat to create texture. Broken color techniques work well with both glazes and washes.

Color washing, rag rolling, feathering, sponging, pouncing, dragging, and paneling are just a few techniques commonly used. Below are tips on how some of these techniques work.

Color Washing: Creates the appearance of suspended color. It can be soft or striking. An acrylic glaze method can be used or oil based glazing method. Color washing requires you to use a large brush and apply glaze in irregular sections over a dampened wall. You may also use a sponge for this technique. Once finished, it is recommended to apply a protective varnish coat.

Rag Rolling: Creates a decorative rag effect. Begin by selecting a base coat that is a bit darker than the color you plan to achieve. You will then need to mix the base coat with a white paint, making sure that they have identical sheens. Next, take your rag and saturate it entirely with your mixed color. Pull the rag out and get rid of any excess paint that may be dripping off of the rag. Ball the rag up into your hand and start applying it to your walls. Be as creative as you want.

Feathering: Creates a unique plume texture. Start by using a feather duster to apply a top coat over your base coat. Make sure it is a slightly different color than your base paint. Apply top coat very lightly by dipping feather duster into paint and brushing it on. You can apply it anyway you'd like and use as much or as little paint as you want. Adding a third of fourth color is also an option.

Sponging: Like rag rolling, sponging produces unique subtle or bold texture effects. It is recommended not to use glazes, but rather a latex paint. For best results, use three separate colors, one base coat and two sponge colors. Begin by applying a base coat with the sheen of your choice. Next you will need two separate paint roller trays. Place first sponge color in one tray and the second sponge color in the second tray. Dap the sponge lightly into the first color and remove excess paint on a newspaper lay out. Cover entire wall with light sponge daps, twisting your wrist to create unique texture. Repeat this step with the second sponge color.

Pouncing: It is the same technique as stippling. Used to blend and soften colors to create fake pattern finishes that are usually suede-like. It is suggested to use an eggshell sheen for all surfaces that will undergo a pouncing technique. The base coat can be a dark or light tone. Once the base coat dries, begin applying 12' wide strips of paint with a top coat color, from ceiling to floor. During this process, take a soft bristled brush and dab at the wet paint, removing dots. Make sure to blot excess paint. You will most likely need two top coats, and additional colors are optional.

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