Basic Techniques to Master

Hand-painted Delft tiles

The loose un-even quality of this faux technique makes painted Delft tiles an ideal decorative effect for the beginner or inexperienced do-it-yourselfer.

Irregular lines and hand painted renderings add character and old world charm, easily achieved without any prior painting experience.

more decorative treatments

 

 

More techniques
Color washing
Glazing techniques 
Rag rolling 
Sponging
Marbleizing
Wood graining 
Stippling
Striee glazing
Dragging techniques 
Pouncing techniques
   
Style archives
Preparation of surfaces
Know your materials

 

 


Positive method of glaze application:

A one-step glaze application process. Glaze is applied over a pre-determined base color. The method of application becomes the final decorative effect. For examples, sponging, rag-rolling.

A 2 step process:

  1. Apply
  2. Let dry

 


Negative method of glaze application:

A two-step process of applying glaze over a pre-determined base color. Glaze is applied to the surface being treated, then removed to reveal areas of the base color and surface. This is a common decorative finish method and includes techniques such as bagging, rag-rolling, stripping, certain marbleizing and faux wood finishes.

A 3 step process:

  1. Apply

  2. Partially remove

  3. Let dry


Find out
how to use the proper paint sheen in your home.



Antiquing silver leaf
The soft glow of slightly tarnished silver.

Rag rolling
techniques

Color wash
techniques

more decorative techniques...

 
 
 
 

 
Universal Techniques

Mastering these universal techniques will provide the basis of many decorative and fine art  techniques.  Including marbling, leather effects, furniture effects, glazing, and softening.

Decorative finishes and Faux finishing

There are a series of basic decorative art techniques that, once mastered, are the foundation for most faux finishes as well as for trompe l’oeil 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. One’s 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 interesting textures.

 

Basic Concepts and Decorative Terms:

Glaze:    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 and Curing times:

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 manufacturer’s recommended drying time listed on the label of all commercial products.

 

Techniques to Master:

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.

Color washing   

Positive method of glaze application.

Rating 2.5

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 appearance.

learn this technique

 

Stippling 

Negative glaze method

Rating 2.5

Stippling produces a very fine, sandy effect. Often used on wall surfaces, objects and furniture.

learn this technique

 

Pouncing 

Negative glaze method. 

Rating 2

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.

learn this technique

Ragging or Rag-rolling

  &  
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 home’s interior wall surfaces using water-based latex products, such as Latex paint . A fast-drying and easy clean-up finish.

learn this technique

 

Striee 

  Negative method of glaze application.

Rating 2

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.

learn this technique

 

Dragging 

  Negative method of glaze application.

Rating 2

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 denim.

learn this technique

 

Softening – 

A 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 softening brush.

learn this technique

 

Bagging  

Negative method of glaze application. 

Rating 2

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.

learn this technique

Clear wrap 

  Negative method of glaze application.

Rating 2

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.

learn this technique

 

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