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Decorative Rag Painting


Ragging a wall gives an added depth and texture that is different from other decorative painting techniques

Decorative rag painting is different from sponge painting in that you can use various types and weights of material to create your ragging patterns.

Ragging does not require the same precise pressure of sponge painting, but acquires its distinct appearance from applying varying amounts of paint and hand movements.

First, apply a good base coat to the walls or make sure the existing walls are clean and dry. The walls should also be free of nicks and other flaws.

The top coats can be watered-down latex paint in complementary colors, glazes, or a mix of glaze and paints. Look for brands that can be pre-mixed at the home improvement or paint supply store.

Before you begin, practice with a selection of rags. Try old T-shirt material, terry towels, and linen or stiff cotton strips.

The material will be wadded into a ball that fits your hand, then dipped in a light layer of paint. As you work the paint or glaze onto the walls, twist and rearrange the shape of the rag around in your hand to be sure of a random design.

Work in small areas and observe your work from a distance to be sure you are creating a design with no spots that are too light or too heavy.

You can use decorative ragging techniques in one of two ways:

Ragging On
Apply the top layers with rags

Ragging Off
Remove the top layers with rags

Practice first and you'll discover which technique suits you best. You can add more than one glaze or top layer, but be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for drying times between coats.

When planning to rag a wall, don't limit yourself to cloth. Try wadded newspaper or stiff wrapping paper as an alternative.

Always wear latex gloves when working with paints and glazes. Keep the room well-ventilated, especially with glazes and glazed paints.

When using glazes, protect the finish with a polyurethane low-lustre satin finish. This topcoat will also brighten the colors on the walls.

Many decorative painting techniques, including ragging, are easy enough for younger members of the family to help with. Always cover and tape off items that should be kept paint-free and even the worst mess won't ruin your fresh new look.

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