Decorative Techniques: step-by-step


Acrylic Glaze Method
Drop Cloths
Painters tape
3 - 2.5 quart buckets (2 liter)
Acrylic Glaze coat
Universal tinters
2 sponges
Disposable gloves
More techniques
Color washing
Glazing techniques 
Rag rolling 
Wood graining 
Striee glazing
Dragging techniques 
Pouncing techniques
Style archives
Preparation of surfaces
Know your materials

"Poetry is superior to painting in the presentation of words, and painting is superior to poetry in the presentation of facts"

Leonardo da Vinci  1452-1519





Color washing - Acrylic glaze method


Rating 2.5 -moderate

More about glazing...  

Color washing - Oil glaze method 

For use on walls, furniture, objects, and in fine arts 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 irregular wall surfaces.

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 (8 hrs).

Mixing your glaze: Mix universal tinters with glaze coat thoroughly and add water. 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 water and dilute to proper consistency. Experiment. Fill the other bucket 2/3 full with water.

Step 5: Prepare 2 sponges by rounding corners and edges (learn how). Ordinary household sponges will do fine (1 ½ inch thick and approx 6 inches x 4 inches).

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.

Apply your color wash

Step 6: Use one sponge for the water and one for the glaze color. Starting at the top of the wall, take sponge 1 with the water and dampen surface. Work in one area at a time, moving methodically forward over wall surface. See glazing methods for more information. Saturating the surface first allows the glaze to go on fluidly and evenly. 

apply glaze

work over surface

With sponge 2, dipped in the glaze, rub over damped area of wall and spread glaze. Work evenly over area for full coverage. Vary the pressure applied to the sponge to leave areas with slightly denser concentrations of glaze. Continue to soften glaze color working in a criss-cross manner until desired smoothness is achieved. Work quickly and conscientiously, keeping exposed edges dampened with water.

soften color

apply glaze

rub over surface

soften color glaze

Step 7: 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 sponge or dry brush.

soften with 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.

Applying a protective varnish coat

Step 8: To protect the surface, a water-based varnish, such as latex 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 9: Clean up with warm, soapy water.

Step 10: Retain some of the master glaze for future touch-ups in a covered glass container. Dispose of remaining glazes properly.


Have a question?  

more decorative treatments

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