Faux painting techniques, or faux finishes, are a great way to create visual interest in any room. The word "faux" comes from the French and means fake or false. It is commonly used to describe something that is a close imitation of the original, such as faux pearls, but is not readily recognized as an imitation without closer observation.
Faux painting involves many different techniques that combine paint and glaze using various tools to create finishes that imitate marble, stone, wood, and other textures, including raw silk.
While some homeowners prefer to hire a painter, many enjoy testing new techniques themselves to develop a look of their own. Even though faux painting techniques are common, each painter adds his or her personal touch. For example, combining faux painting with the application of crinkled tissue paper creates a charming old world feel. It is also an excellent way to disguise blemishes on the wall. One person may use only one color to achieve this look, while others will mix colors to achieve a more distressed appearance, and playing up imperfections rather than trying to hide them.
Other techniques include dragging, whisking, washing, sponge painting, rag rolling, striae, and stippling to name a few. These techniques are fairly simple but results will vary and will improve with practice.
There are a few basic steps necessary for any faux painting technique. First, begin with a solid background color. Apply the background and allow it to dry completely before beginning the next step. Overnight drying is recommended.
Next, mix the glaze with the color you have decided on for the next layer. You must use glaze instead of regular paint in order to achieve the best finish.
If you have never attempted a faux painting technique, it is a good idea to practice on a piece of scrap wood before trying it on the wall. When you are able to achieve the desired effect, begin applying the technique to the wall. Work in one small area at a time so the glaze will not dry too quickly.
Continue working the technique until you achieve the desired result, then move on to the next area. You may need to blend sections as you go with techniques such as sponge painting. If adding more layers, be sure to allow drying time between layers as necessary.
Creating an even appearance in corners, near windows, and along the wall/ceiling can be particularly difficult. With practice, however, you can learn to achieve a very attractive result.