Oil glaze method

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


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For walls, furniture, objects, fine art techniques.

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. A subtle finish, with little texture, it is an ideal effect to create mood in a room, background ambience. When using earth tones the color  wash can have a slightly aged appearance and is ideal for slightly irregular walls.

For color suggestions refer to the artsparx color palette

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: Tape off all baseboard edges, ceiling edge, trim, window and door frames. Remove all electrical and light switch cover plates. Cover furniture and floor areas with drop cloths.

Base colors and mixing your glaze

Step 3: Choose and apply the appropriate eggshell finish base color. Allow to fully dry (24 hrs).

Mix universal tinters with glaze coat thoroughly and add mineral spirits (white spirits). Experiment with fluidity and color strength. Don’t dilute glaze too much, as this will be your ‘master glaze color’

Step 4: Place a portion of the prepared glaze color in a  2.5 qt. bucket. Add mineral spirits and dilute to proper consistency. Experiment.  Wearing protective gloves, saturate a clean rag with mineral spirits.

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.

When glazing, always work from top to bottom. If you start at the bottom and work upward, any drips or spills occurring can damage already treated lower portion finish.

Step 5: Use a large 3-inch to 5-inch brush to apply glaze color. Starting at the top of the wall, take rag dampened with mineral spirits and wet surface. Work in one area at a time, moving methodically forward over wall surface. 

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). See glazing methods for more information.

If you use a sponge, prepare it by rounding corners and edges. Click here to learn how.

Saturating the surface first allows the glaze to go on fluidly and evenly. 

applying glaze

Using brush dipped in the glaze, brush over dampened area of wall, spreading glaze. Work evenly over area for full coverage. Use a sponge or a clean rag to soften glaze by rubbing over surface, using a light touch and vary the pressure applied to leave areas with slightly denser concentrations of glaze. 

softening glaze over surface

Continue to soften glaze color working in a criss-cross manner until desired smoothness is achieved.  A dry brush can be used to help soften surface. Work quickly and conscientiously, keeping exposed edges dampened with mineral spirits.

softening glaze with dry brush

Step 6: Move to next area and repeat. Do not put glaze on previous edge but rather apply within 1 inch or so and soften into previous edge with a dry brush.

At corners apply glaze to within ½ to 1 inch of edge and with a dry brush, work into corner, then soften and smooth with light, gentle movements.

final softening

Applying a protective varnish coat

Step 7: To protect the surface, an oil-based varnish, such as oil varnish may be applied after color-washed surfaces have dried completely (24 hrs). For wall surfaces it is recommended to use flat (matte) finish, eggshell or low-luster finish varnishes.

Step 8: Clean up with mineral spirits.

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

Step 9: Retain some of the master glaze for future touch-ups in a covered glass container. Dispose of remaining glazes properly.

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