Decorative Techniques: step-by-step

Oil glaze method
Drop Cloths
Painters tape
3 - 2.5 quart buckets (2 liter)
Alkyd Glaze coat
Universal tinters
Mineral Spirits
Disposable gloves


Glaze Coat or
Glazing Liquid
For decorative finishes and faux finishes, glazes are typically created using color suspended in a medium known as glazing liquid or glaze coat (not to be confused with ‘glazing’, a putty used for securing glass in window frames). Glaze coat can be found in both alkyd (oil-based) form and acrylic latex (water-based) form. Glaze coat is best tinted with universal tinters (also known as universal colorant) to maintain clarity of color, but can also be tinted using artists paint in tubes, either artists oil paint for alkyd glaze coat or Artist’s acrylic for latex glaze coat. Japan Pigment also makes an excellent tinter for use with alkyd glaze coat.

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



WARNING- 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 SMOKE or work near heat sources as many solvents are flammable.



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



General Glazing Techniques:
Oil based

Rating 3.5 - difficult

Category: Step-by-step: Glazing
General glaze methods -  
Oil / Alkyd
for wall surfaces, furniture, objects, painting techniques


For color suggestions refer to the artSparx color palette

About Glazing:  
Glaze refers to a substance that is thinned to create a transparent or translucent film of color. Diluting any paint substance, tinted varnish or tinted water essentially can produce a glaze.

Oil-based glazes should be applied over an oil-based undercoat of the color of your choice. Eggshell sheen is preferable, but never use a flat (matte) finish.

For more information on sheens

Glazing pros and cons:
Glaze type Drying time Toxicity Clean-up Durability
Oil Slow High Thinners-messy High
Acrylic Fast Minimal Water - easy Medium

Wall surfaces:

A variety of decorative effects can be created using oil-based glazes. For wall surfaces the glaze essentially stays the same in composition. Only the color and fluidity of the glaze varies.

Method of Approach -

On large wall surfaces it is generally necessary for at least two people to efficiently apply and work the glaze. Though oil glaze is slower to dry and hence has an extended working time, it will still set up rather quickly.  A first-time glazer may find darker areas appearing as irregular lines, known as ‘burn’ marks. These occur because the glaze must be methodically applied in segments, always moving from top to bottom, then across the wall in a regular fashion (see diagram). 

Glazing application diagram for wall surfaces

Apply glaze in irregular sections.
This insures a random overall appearance and helps diminish potential 'burn' lines (glaze build up from section to section).

For Striee glazing and dragging the wall application methods vary. Refer to the wall diagrams in the appropriate section.

When a new segment is started, the area previously treated has already begun to set. With the application of glaze on the new segment, a buildup of color may appear and create a ‘floating line’ where old meets new.  This is unattractive and may interfere with the overall look of the textured or faux glaze appearance.  However, it is an effect that is overcome with experience and can usually be avoided if an area can be used for “practice” before a big project is begun.

Always start the glaze application in the least visible area of the room. As you continue glazing, a rhythm is achieved and the overall appearance of the glaze treatment improves.


Using two glazers, saturate rag with mineral spirits and work over surface to allow glaze to flow freely. Wear respirators, gloves and protective clothing. Once the surface is damp the first artist should begin by applying the glaze with a brush over an area only large enough to create the desired finish.  Keep the exposed areas ‘wet’ by leaving a buildup of glaze. The second glazer should begin the desired finish (color-wash, rag-roll, striee, etc.) while the first artist continues the glaze application on the next segment. Working in tandem, they should continue until the wall area is completed, without resting. Clean up any excess glaze that may appear on adjoining (and yet untreated) walls with a rag moistened with mineral spirits.

wetting wall

apply glaze

keep wall wet

continue applying
glaze onto section 2

large areas may require 2 people.
One softens while the other continues glaze application.

working evenly over wall.
step back occasionally to view overall appearance


Wall edges: Apply glaze to within ˝ inch of wall edge and work to edge with a dry brush. This should prevent you from getting any fresh glaze on a previously treated wall surface.

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. Large areas may require the complete area to be removed then re-treated

Small area repair - Once completely dry (24 hrs.) fresh glaze may be touched in with an artist’s 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 completely dry (24 hrs.) then repaint base coat and begin again.

WARNING - Always dispose of rags and waste spirits appropriately. To find a waste disposal facility in your neighborhood click here…

Clean up - Clean up oil-based products with mineral spirits.

For specific effects, including color washing, rag- rolling, stippling and striee (dragging) refer to the artSparx archive

Scumble glaze - Glaze medium comparable to Glazing liquid, found readily at your local paint supply store.


Home Decor •  ArtistsMembersStoreSite Map

Join the artSparx community! Become a registered member now.

Capture your target market!
Advertise at artSparx and reach over 100,000 unique visitors per month!
artSparx Advertising Information

Become a link partner
Add features to your site! Free

Media Support Center
 Copyright 2010 Media Center Except as otherwise expressly permitted under law, no copying, redistribution,
retransmission, publication or commercial exploitation of material or concept are permitted without the express written permission
of and Copyright owner. Legal       San Francisco, Ca.   415.407.5097

DIY, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, tools, lighting, ceramic tile, home decor, kitchen design, gardening, home decorating,
patio furniture, paint, insulation, home improvement, fencing, appliances, plumbing, power tools, hardware,
home improvement, bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, plumbing supply