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Decorative Sponge Painting

 

Sponge painting is a decorative technique that involves just a little practice but is easy enough for children to handle

You can easily add a distressed or marbled look to walls by using the technique called sponge painting.

Sponge painting is one of the more tradition faux finishes. If you are working with glazes and multiple colors, you may want to plan on completing this project over a couple of weekends. If you are using only latex paint, then you should need only a couple of days.

Like other decorative painting, you'll need a base coat on the wall that is clean or newly painted. The paint layer that will be sponged can either be a glaze or a latex paint. If you are using latex paint, it should be thinned - some experts recommend 8 parts paint to 1 part water. Some manufacturer's offer pre-mixed glaze in colors of your choice. This eliminates much hassle at home in mixing and stirring the glaze into the paint.

Choosing colors is not always easy; be sure to collect color swatches in the paint department of your favorite store and find a complementary combination that pleases you. Many swatches are pre-printed with decorative painting in mind.

You can choose between "sponging on" or "sponging off."

Sponging On
The paint is loaded onto a sponge and dabbed onto the walls.

Sponging Off
The paint is rolled or brushed onto the walls and dabbed off with the sponge.

You can use one or more colors for the sponging process. If you use glaze, you will want to let it dry for 48 hours before adding additional layers. Also, if using glaze, you will want to protect the walls with a polyurethane topcoat.

Your most important tool with this painting technique is a natural sponge. You can also find synthetic sponges that are similar in mixed bags at discount stores. You will need at least one sponge for each color or for each person helping with the project.

You can also use plastic bags in place of sponges, but this is messy by comparison.

Before you begin, use wide masking tape to protect the edges of ceilings, doorframes, and baseboards. It is best if you remove switch and outlet plates - just be sure to turn off electric to the room before removal.

For angling into corners, cut apart one of your sponges into small strips. This should allow you to achieve a uniform effect even into the tightest spaces.

For sponging on the paint, load the sponge by dabbing it in a layer of paint. Remove the excess by lightly scraping along the side of the sponge or by using a paintbrush.

Begin dabbing the paint onto the walls with quick wrist motions. Turn the sponge to the left and right and upright as you begin sponging the walls to help create a random pattern. Be sure to take frequent breaks as you go; step back and inspect your work. Are there any areas that are too light? Or too dense?

If an area is too dense, take a dry sponge and remove some of the paint. If too light, add a light flick of the sponge. If you work in smaller areas, you can detect these problems before the paint is too dry to work with.

As with any decorative painting technique, practice sponging on a piece of cardboard or plywood that has been primered. You will avoid any "practice" mistakes when you tackle the actual wall.

Decorative sponge painting is fun and fairly easy, plus it provides a beautiful and elegant finish.

 

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