Have you decided it’s time to refresh your living quarters, but don’t know where to start? Maybe the living room or den is about as cheerful as the winter landscape. And yet, this is the time of year when your home should comfort you. Daylight is at a premium, and the cold winds and icy streets nudge you onto the couch with a hot drink and the TV converter. The fastest way to liven up your space is to add a new coat of paint to the walls. Wrap yourself in a color you love and your spirits will soar.
There’s nothing wrong with plain paint, and today’s color choices are almost limitless. But you can kick it up a notch by adding a little glaze to the paint and creating a paint effect or faux finish. Water-based glazing liquid is a milky color in the can but dries clear. When you mix glazing liquid with paint you create a colored glaze. It is the same color as the paint you started with, but rather than an opaque medium, the colored glaze is translucent. This means that you will be able to see any color underneath the glaze glowing through. The translucent property affords you the opportunity to produce a number of different looks on your walls, depending on the colors you choose and how you apply and manipulate the glaze.
Dragging a Coloured Glaze
By pulling or dragging a hard-bristle brush through the wet glaze, you can replicate the look of fine fabrics such as silk or linen, rougher cloth like denim, and the natural grain found in wood. It’s a versatile technique that is easy to do.
Let’s go for the soft, subtle effect first. This will suit a room that has clean lines and contemporary furnishings. It’s peaceful. For the base coat, choose a very pale shade of gray, violet, or sea-foam green. Apply two coats of the pastel paint and let the walls dry for four hours. Now mix your glaze coat, one part white paint to two parts glazing liquid. Roll the glaze onto the wall and while it is still wet, pull a hard-bristle brush, such as a scrub brush, down vertically through the glaze. Work in four-foot-wide sections, stand directly in front of the wall and pull the brush from the top of the wall down, keeping the lines as straight as possible.
Frequently remove the glaze from the bristles onto a rag. Drag the glaze until you are satisfied with the effect and then roll white glaze onto the next section. Be sure to work the lap lines first. If the glaze has dried, add more to open it up or your effect will be spoiled. Drag the whole wall in this manner. The pastel base coat will show through the dragged glaze and the lines give the impression of the threads in the fabric. You can stop here or apply more glaze and run the brush through horizontally, thus producing a weave.
For denim, choose two shades of blue, the colors of your favorite pair of jeans. Apply the darker shade as the base coat, and mix the lighter blue with glazing liquid. The greater the contrast between the colors, the more pronounced the weave lines will be. For this effect, drag horizontally and vertically.
Denim is a more casual look, great for a den with plump sofas and a multi-colored carpet. To add a realistic touch, work in panels as if you had hung real lengths of fabric on the wall. Work one panel at a time, and when the wall is complete and dry, paint stitch lines around the panels. Use a contrasting color with a ruler and 1/4″ artist’s brush. Don’t make the line solid – leave a 1/4-inch space between stitches.
There are many techniques for creating a faux wood effect with paint. It’s always advisable to practice any new effect on a piece of bristol board first. It won’t take long to gain confidence – you will be surprised how clever you are! As with other faux painting, glazing liquid mixed with paint is the secret ingredient that makes it all possible.
Light wood tones are very popular today for furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and trim. Start with a cream base coat, and choose a wood tone, such as light brown or honey for the colored glaze. Roll on the glaze, and while it is still wet, push a hard-bristle brush back through the glaze to replicate the grain lines seen in real wood. There’s also a common tool available called a rocker, which leaves a very distinct impression of wood knots and grain lines when pulled through the glaze. To keep the effect authentic, vary the shading and graining just like real wood.
Rubbing a Coloured Glaze
This technique is also known as frottage, from the French word meaning to rub. A base coat is applied, and then colored glaze is rolled over the dry base coat. You will need lots of paper, either brown craft paper or blank newspaper (newsprint will come off on the wall). Work in manageable sections. Spread the paper over the wet glaze and rub it all over with your hands. Remove the paper, roll the next section with glaze and repeat the process with a clean sheet of paper. The pattern left behind has the elegant look of leather.
If you want to create more definition, use a large garbage bag instead of paper. Fold the bag accordion-style, then open it up and place it on the wet glaze. Rub over the bag with your hands and remove it. This effect will have sharper lines running through it, creating a more tooled leather look. It is also reminiscent of the veining in marble.
Everyone has a different touch, so your faux finish will be like no other. It is very satisfying to create a surface for your walls that is fresh and unique.