Mastering these universal techniques will provide the basis of many
decorative and fine art techniques. Including marbling, leather effects,
effects, glazing, and softening.
Decorative finishes and Faux
There are a series of basic decorative art techniques
that, once mastered, are the foundation for most faux finishes as well as for
trompe loeil mural painting. Each one produces many beautiful results in and
of itself. Or each can be used in
conjunction with a variety of other techniques to create other styles.
Decorative finishes vary dramatically. Ones imagination
is the only limitation. Experiment with professional pattern makers.
Combs, cut cardboard, plastic wrap, toothbrushes and sponges are but a
few of the many common household objects that can create unique
patterns, textures and finishes. Adapting paintbrushes and
rollers with scissors, tape, or rubber bands can also produce a variety of
and Decorative Terms:
Glaze refers to a substance that is thinned to create a transparent
or translucent film of color. Diluting any paint mixture, tinted varnish or
tinted water essentially produces a glaze. For more information on glazes
see artSparx glazing resource.
Drying time - The
time elapsed until a product feels dry to the touch.
Curing time - The
time elapsed until a product is fully hardened.
For example, a newly finished floor using water-based
varnish will feel hard within 24 hours (drying time), and may actually be
walked on at that point. However,
it is recommended that furniture not be placed on this new floor for at least 3
days, and preferably up to one
week, to allow the surface to completely harden (curing time).
Many external conditions, such as humidity and
temperature, can affect the drying and curing time of paints, glazes, stains
and varnishes. Refer to the
manufacturers recommended drying time listed on the label of all commercial
The following techniques are accompanied with a rating
system. artSparx has designed this to help you determine the difficulty and skill level
any particular finish may represent.
About the artSparx rating system: Designed to help you determine the difficulty and skill level
any particular finish may represent. The rating system is located on each
step-by-step page in the left side bar.
This decorative effect creates the appearance of floating color. Soft and
watery, or bold and striking. The color density varies over the surface and
creates appearances from parchment to the softness of an evening sky or watery
Negative glaze method
Stippling produces a very fine,
sandy effect. Often used on wall surfaces, objects and furniture.
Negative glaze method.
The same technique as stippling. The term pouncing is typically used in
referring to techniques such as pattern transfers, animal hide finishes, and
color blending and softening.
Rating 1.5 (positive method) and 2.5 (negative method)
This technique can be created using either the positive or
the negative method of glaze application. Each one produces unique and distinct
textures. Ragging is essentially a 2-color process, a glaze color being applied
over a base color. Using 2 color tones close in proximity produces a subtle and
sophisticated look. By contrasting the colors or creating broad color
variances, a strong, textured finish results. Visit the artSparx color theory
center for more color ideas. This is a fast and inexpensive technique for your
homes interior wall surfaces using water-based latex products, such as
. A fast-drying and easy clean-up finish.
Negative method of glaze
A slightly more refined method of dragging. Glaze is
applied over a predetermined base color on the surface being treated, i.e.,
walls, objects or furniture. Using a dry brush, the glaze is pulled in a
vertical or horizontal direction. This creates the effect of fine lines. Striee
can produce a very refined, sophisticated look and is often found in French châteaux
and English manor houses.
Negative method of
Applying glaze over a predetermined base color on the
surface being treated, i.e., walls, objects or furniture. Using a dry brush,
the glaze is pulled in a vertical or horizontal direction. This creates the
effect of fine lines.
Dragging is the basic technique for creating imitation
wood grain effects (faux bois), and simulated fabric techniques such as faux
brush-stroke technique that softens and blends glazes to create smooth
transitions from color to color or painted segment to segment. The most refined
brush commercially available is a badger-hair brush. These can be expensive so care should be used in cleaning brushes.
Color washing, marbling, and tortoise shell all incorporate the use of the
method of glaze application.
Similar to a rag-rolled effect, the bagging technique uses
the negative method of glaze application. Using different types of bags
(plastic, trash bags, clear wrap) in different sizes produces many different
effects. This is an excellent technique for producing a faux leather effect.
method of glaze application.
Similar to a rag-rolled effect. Using different types of
clear wrap in different sizes produces a variety effects. This is an excellent
technique for producing a faux leather effect.