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Decorative Colorwash Painting


Add a color wash to your walls for a subtle and elegant finish

Decorative color washing is usually defined as a combination of two or three complementary paint colors: a neutral and light base coat, one glaze/paint mix in a medium tone, and a secondary glaze/paint mix in a darker tone.

Color washing techniques allow you to also choose between a brushed-on textured effect or a refined, cloud-puff appearance. For the textured look, you will use a brush to apply the topcoats; for clouds, use natural sponges or soft rags.

Apply the base coat and allow to dry.

When working with the topcoats, spread the paint/glaze out in an unevenly-shaped area no larger than 3-feet by 3-feet. This will keep the topcoats from drying too quickly before they can be worked. As you start a new area, feather the new topcoat into the one that has just been completed to prevent noticeable breaks in the edges.

For the brush-textured effect:
Roll on the medium topcoat of paint or glaze. Dip your brush in the darker, second topcoat and crisscross the paint with the tips of your bristles. This action will cut through both topcoats to create depth.

With only one topcoat, you can still create an interesting effect with the brushstrokes.

For the cloud effect:
Dip your sponge in water and moisten the area to be topcoated. (Do not take this step if using enamel-based paint.) With a dry sponge, add the first topcoat in random motions and directions. Next, quickly add the second topcoat with a rag or sponge and begin blending.

If using only one topcoat, do the blending and move quickly to the next area.

When using glazes, it is a good idea to protect the topcoats with a polyurethane finish. Just be sure the topcoats are thoroughly dry according to manufacturer's instructions.


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