Decorative Techniques: step-by-step




Oil glaze method
Oil paint base color eggshell sheen
Drop Cloths
Painters tape
3 - 2.5 quart buckets
(2 liter)
Oil based paint
Universal tinters
Mineral Spirits
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.

artSparx Books

Painted House: Over 100 Original Designs for Mural and Trompe L'oeil Decoration

Painted House: Over 100 Original Designs for Mural and Trompe L'oeil Decoration

Lavishly illustrated book which includes more than 100 of the authors original designs. Intended for practical use, enables readers to copy and adapt the artist's imagery.

more books




Rag rolling: Oil based


Color mixing recipes
Parchment color recipe
artSparx Color Learning Center
More about glazing...
Ragging - water-based negative method 
Ragging - water-based positive method
More decorative paint and glazing techniques

Rating 2 - 

For use on walls, furniture, objects, child friendly

For Positive glaze rag-roll application. Unless extended durability is required, or applied in a heavy traffic area - the  Acrylic / Latex method of rag-rolling is preferable. It is less toxic, and involves easier clean-up. 

Flat or eggshell sheen is recommended for interior wall surfaces.

The recipe method that follows is designed to create a soft subtle decorative rag effect, ideally suited for most environments.

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 and doorframes. Remove all electrical and light switch cover plates. Cover furniture and floor areas with drop cloths.

Base colors and mixing your color

Step 3: Determine the over all color value of the room or surface being treated. Choose a base color in sheen of your choice that is slightly darker than the overall color value you would like to achieve.  Color Suggestions. For oil based paints allow to dry over night or for 24 hours.

Step 4: Mixing the secondary, rag color. In a bucket mix the base color with approximately 1/3 white paint. The white paint should be the same sheen as the base color. For oil based rag rolling, mix oil based white paint into a oil based base color of the same sheen.

There is no need to dilute the secondary, rag color.

Applying the ragroll

Step 5: Wear disposable gloves. Once the secondary, rag color is mixed, take a clean rag and completely submerse and saturate rag with rag color. 

Use a stir stick to facilitate this process. Make sure rag gets completely saturated with paint. 

Taking one corner of the paint filled rag, pull the rag through the thumb and forefinger of your other hand to remove all excess paint. 

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.

Step 6: Open rag and loosely create a ‘ball’ in your hand. Begin to dab rag over surface, using a light touch and continually moving wrist to vary pattern being created. 

Allow base color to show through. Regularly open rag and reposition in hand to maximize paint distribution and to vary texture. Work evenly over surface.

This technique allows one to stop when necessary, never fearing ‘burn’ lines or irregular patterns.

Step 7: Continue over wall surface until completed, dipping rag into paint regularly, straining through fingers, to refresh paint saturation.

Taping ceilings, base moldings, door frames and window frames prevents rag from hitting exposed areas and once completed with the rag treatment removal of the tape makes for a quick, finished result.

Step 8: For edges and corners, use a very small rag saturated with paint. A small artists brush of 1 inch dry brush dabbed in paint will help get into tight corners.

Step 9:  Dispose of rags properly. For oil based rag rolling clean up with mineral spirits. Visit the artSparx waste disposal resource.

Step 10: Record the paint color numbers for future reference in the event that touch ups are needed.

For color combinations, base color recommendations and glaze color recipes refer to the artSparx color palette.

Applying a protective varnish coat

Step 11: A oil based varnish, such as oil varnish , may be applied after rag rolled surfaces have dried completely (24 hrs.) for surface protection. For wall surfaces it is recommended to use flat (matt) finish, Eggshell or Low-luster finish.

Step 12: Clean up with mineral spirits.


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