Using paint techniques can dramatically improve the experience in any room but before we get onto the different techniques and finishes, the first step is the preparation of the surface. We will talk about wall surfaces, either board or cement surfaces and not wood surfaces. Paint techniques on wood surfaces require a different preparation.

Surface preparation does not only apply to using paint techniques but for any painting jobs that you wish to last.

Use a scraper to remove any loose paint or debris. If there are any cracks, use the edge of the scraper to widen the cracks slightly and clear out any loose objects. Use a paintbrush to remove dust particles from the cracks.

Use polyfilla to fill any cracks and really make sure that the polyfilla has been pressed into the crack well, allow to dry.

Sand the surface with a rough sandpaper using a light touch to aid adherence of the paint.

Always apply a primer or undercoat to the surface whether you are using a paint technique or not. Allow to dry before apply the next coat of paint.

Now that the surface is prepared you are ready to apply your paint technique. The most common paint techniques are:

Colour washing

Colour washing gives a beautiful rustic feel and is commonly seen in Tuscan style buildings or country kitchens.

This technique requires the use of 2 colours, with the lighter colour as a base colour, then applying the darker layer where the light colour comes through.

Colour washing can be subtle as well as dramatic. By using colours that are similar or from the same spectrum the affect is less dramatic. Use the colour tool to get an idea of complimentary colours.

How to colour wash

Select your colours and paint on your base coat.

Mix the top coat with glaze in a 4 parts colour to 1 part glaze ratio

For a dramatic finish use a roller covered in a cloth and roll out the top coat

For a subtle finish use a cloth to apply the top coat in circular motions, this gives a subtle cloudy texture.

For a more uniform but speckled effect use a sponge and sponge the top coat on uniformly.

The images below will give you a good idea of the effects you are likely to achieve.

Always test your paint technique on a piece of wall before you you apply to the entire surface, if you don’t like it, simply apply a further coat of base coat and start over until you find the technique you like best.

In this sample, the two colours that were used were fairly close to one another on the colour chart with the base layer having a slightly yellow tinge to it. The top coat is darker with more brown pigment and the method used was to use wide sweeping motions with a heavy rag to apply the top coat and then to simply even out the edges with smaller circular motions creating a dreamy cloudy effect.

The effect is warming and ideal for family rooms or covered outdoor areas.

This is an example of ragging. Using a light base coat and contrasting top coat which has been applied with a roller that has had a piece of cloth wound around the roller.

Once the topcoat has been initially applied, a dry roller was used to soften the colour contrast slightly. It is important to allow the paint to dry for about 10 minutes before smoothing the edges.

The effect is more vital and bold.

This far more dramatic effect is the result of sponging with a very heavy sponge that has a lot of holes in it.

The sponge is loaded with paint, wiped on the side of the container and the applied in careful placements which overlap creating a stippling effect. No smoothing was used and the effect is a deep contrast with dramatic effect.