Decorative techniques: step-by-step

Oil glaze method
Oil based paint color -eggshell sheen
Drop Cloths
Painters tape
3 - 2.5 quart buckets (2 liter)
Oil /Alkyd glaze coat
Universal tinters
Mineral Spirits
Oil varnish or polyurethane
Brushes (3 to 5 inch)
Disposable gloves
Stir sticks



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


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

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


Dragging: Oil based


Rating 3.5
mod. to difficult

more about glazing...

For trim, moldings, furniture, objects

An eggshell sheen is recommended for all surfaces being treated with all decorative finishes produced with the Negative method of glaze application.

The method that follows is designed to create a standard dragged effect, with a dark tone glazed over a lighter base coat.

Preparing the surface

Step 1: Remove all nails and repair any damaged or cracked areas. Prime as needed. Refer to the artsparx basic preparation resource for tips and techniques….

Step 2: Isolate moldings, doors and trim by taping off wall surfaces and surrounding areas. If necessary, remove all electrical cover plates. Cover furniture and floor areas with drop cloths.

Base colors and mixing your glaze

Step 3: Determine the overall color value of the surface being treated. Choose an eggshell base color. A base coat of off white, such as latex paint is sufficient, as the top color will act as the finished color tone.  Allow this base color to fully dry (24 hrs).

Step 4: Mix the secondary, drag color. In a bucket create a color combination that is the value and color you would like to achieve. The glaze coat is mixed as a concentrated color, then diluted to the fluidity needed for the glazing process. As a general rule, it is better to mix too much glaze color than not enough. It is very difficult to match the custom color once you have started glazing a room. For most rooms, one quart of Paintmanufacture latex glazing liquid will be sufficient. Using universal tinters, add color slowly, mixing thoroughly until desired color is achieved. Add 1/8 cup varnish or polyurethane to add durability to the glaze. It may also be helpful to add small amounts of mineral spirits to facilitate mixing. This will be your ‘master glaze’. You can experiment in a low visibility area of the surface being treated. Adjust color of the ‘master glaze’ to your liking, wiping clean your test area after each test application

Step 5: Wear disposable gloves. With glaze color prepared, place a portion of glaze color in one of the 2.5 qt. Buckets.  Add mineral spirits and dilute to proper consistency. Experiment. In the other bucket saturate a rag with mineral spirits. Experiment.

WARNING BEWARE! It is important to use caution with solvents. Always use appropriate protective gear on all exposed body areas, especially the hands and eyes. Always work in a well-ventilated room. Do NOT work near heat sources, and NEVER smoke while working, as many solvents are flammable.

Creating the dragged look

Step 6: The effect of a dragged treatment on doors and trim resembles a wood grained effect. Therefore it is important to drag in the proper direction to maximize this effect. Below is a diagram that shows the proper method of dragging doors and trim.

Glazing a door with inset panel.

A: Begin with center panel. 
B: Continue to center panel moldings, always dragging in a horizontal or vertical manner.
C: Drag top and bottom panel in a horizontal manner. 
D: Use a damp rag and wipe clean a straight line between panel 3 and 4. This mimics the grain pattern of how the door is put together.
E: Glaze left and right panel 4, carefully dragging against clean line created in step D with your dry brush.


When dragging, always work from the inner most areas to the outside. For example, when glazing a door, start with the inner door panels, top first, then lower. Moving progressively outward towards the edges until door is complete.

wetting the wall

Step 7: Wear protective gloves. Prepare the rag by dampening with mineral spirits and use a clean 3 inch to 5 inch brush for the color glaze. For doors and trim follow the diagram to see where to begin the drag process. Dampen the surface with your rag. Work one area at a time. See glazing methods for more information. Saturating the surface first allows the glaze to go on fluidly and evenly.

spreading the glaze

Step 8: Take a brush, dipped in the glaze, and brush over dampened area to spread glaze. Work evenly over area for full coverage. Make sure not to leave any untreated areas. Soften glaze color working in a criss-cross manner with another brush until relative smoothness is achieved. Work quickly and conscientiously, keeping exposed edges dampened with mineral spirits.

Dragging glazing application diagram for wall surfaces

Apply glaze in regular sections.
Leave edge wet with glaze so when moving from one area
to the next there is a smooth transition.
more information


drag the glaze

Step 9: Take a clean, dry bristle brush and with a firm hand begin at one end of surface, dragging the brush evenly through the glaze until you reach the other end. This will remove the freshly applied glaze from the surface, revealing the base color and producing a dragged, lined texture. 

Regularly wipe dry brush with a clean rag to remove excess glaze and to insure a fresh drag pattern. Work evenly over surface.

If glaze is too fluid and continually “sags” or runs, allow to set momentarily then return and work at glaze with a dry brush until smooth.

Step 10: Move to next area and repeat. Work glaze to previous edge but don’t overlap existing drag. Continue until area is completed.

Applying a protective varnish coat

Step 11: An oil-based varnish, such as oil varnish , may be applied after striee surfaces have dried completely (24 hrs.) for surface protection. For trim and molding surfaces it is recommended to use Paintmanufacture low-luster finish, or satin sheen varnish.

Step 12: Dispose of rags properly. Clean up with mineral spirits.

Step 13: Retain some of the master glaze for future touch ups in a covered glass container. Dispose of remaining glazes properly.

Fixing drips and spills

Important Tip - How to fix drips and spills
If wet glaze gets onto an area that has already been finished and has begun to set, it may dissolve the previous finish. Simply blot area with a dry rag to remove excess. Any attempt to repair area before completely dry may result in a mess that is virtually irreparable. Small areas are manageable. Correcting large areas may require removing all the paint and reapplying it from scratch.

Small area repair: Once completely dry (24 hrs.) fresh glaze may be touched in with an artists brush until desired results are achieved.

Large area repair: Treat before drying is complete.  If a large area of glaze is affected and begins to burn away, or dissolve, the removal of the entire glazed surface may be required. To do this, dampen a rag with mineral spirits and wipe surface until clean, using multiple rags if necessary.

Alternatively, you may allow wall to dry completely (24 hrs.), then repaint base coat and begin again.

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