Overview: Three wall finishes, materials and techniques
For less than $100, you can transform
a room in a single weekend.
All it takes is some paint, glaze
and masking tape. We’ll show you how to
create three distinctly different decorative
finish designs using simple tools and
techniques. Even though the three finishes
look unique, they’re all created by
masking off sections of the wall and
applying a glaze finish.
The techniques for masking and glazing
are easy to learn and don’t require any
special skills. However, you will need a
good bit of patience since each finish
entails multiple layers of glaze and careful
applications of masking tape. You
only need to paint one wall to achieve a
dramatic effect. You could complete a
wall in a day, but it’s better to set aside a
weekend to allow plenty of drying time
between coats of glaze.
The first step in each finish is to paint
the wall with the base coat color. For this
you’ll need typical painting supplies like
a stepladder, drop cloth, paintbrush and
roller. In addition, each of the designs
requires slightly different tools and materials,
and we’ll tell you about these as we
show you how to create each pattern.
Note: For more ways to spice up bland
walls, search for “venetian plaster,”
“wainscot,” “wallpaper” and “stencil” in the Search Box above.
Random rectangles: The effect
Four layers of glazed boxes overlap to
create this contemporary design. We
chose golden hues, but you could produce
the same effect using different
colors. In general, use a darker or more
opaque color for the first layer of
boxes, and lighten the color and
increase the transparency for each of
the three succeeding layers. Where
layers overlap, new shades and colors
will appear. That’s why it’s essential to
create a sample board before you start.
We used latex paint thinned with
glaze for the first layer and thinned
semi-opaque metallic finishes for the
next two layers. Before you commit to
applying the finish to the wall, choose
your colors and mix the glazes. You can buy the paints, glaze and sponges at paint stores. Then
make a sample board by painting a
piece of drywall, hardboard or MDF
(medium-density fiberboard) and
applying the glaze. Overlap sections of
glaze on the board to see the effect. Of
course, if you like the way our wall
looks, just copy our formula. When
you’re happy with the choice of colors,
you can start on the wall.
Random Rectangle Appearance and Formula
Recipe for rectangles:
Base coat color: Benjamin Moore
Semolina 2155-40, eggshell.
First set of rectangles: One part
Benjamin Moore Dash of Curry 2159-10
thinned with 3 parts Benjamin Moore
Latex Glaze Extender Clear 408.
Second set of rectangles: One part
Modern Masters Tequila Gold ME661
thinned with two parts Glaze Extender.
Third set of rectangles: One part Modern
Masters Gold Rush ME658 thinned with
two parts Glaze Extender.
Fourth layer of rectangles: One part
Modern Masters Flash Copper ME656
thinned with one part Glaze Extender.
Random rectangles: The technique
Choosing the size and position of
the boxes may seem daunting, but
don’t worry. The wall will look better
with each layer you apply. Buy a
watercolor pencil at an art supply
store in a color that matches your color
scheme and use it to mark the walls.
The watercolor lines will disappear as
you apply the glaze to the boxes. We
drew square and rectangular boxes
that ranged in size from a 34 x 14-in.
rectangle to a 48-in. square. Photos 1 – 3
show the process. Draw the fourth
layer of boxes to enclose any base coat
color that hasn’t been covered by previous
Tape off a series of boxes. Then,
using the following steps, you’ll
spread a thin layer of glaze within the
taped-off boxes to create a cloudy
effect. Wet the sponges and wring
them out before starting. Then use one
sponge to spread a few 6-in.-long
swaths of glaze on a small section of a
box. “Pounce” the flat side of a second
dampened sponge onto the glaze to
spread it out. Rinse the pouncing
sponge in clean water occasionally to
get rid of built-up glaze. Work quickly
across the box so that you never have
to overlap onto an area of glaze that’s
already dry. Complete all the boxes
with the first glaze color and let the
glaze dry at least a couple of hours
before starting on the next layer.
Draw another set of boxes on the
wall that overlaps the first set and
repeat the glazing process. Repeat
these steps for the third layer.
Complete the wall by covering any
unglazed base coat with the fourth
layer of glazed rectangles.
Finishing right up to an inside corner
with a sponge is difficult. You’ll get
uneven coverage or a buildup of
glaze that looks bad. A better technique
is to finish within a few inches
of the corner with the sponge. Then,
while the finish is still wet, use a dry
brush in a pouncing motion to work
the glaze into the corner.
Shimmery stripes: The effect
Overlapping bands of glaze applied between torn strips of
masking tape create this wavy striped wall. We designed a
pattern that repeats every 15 in. and is made up of three layers
of glaze. See Figure A http://www.familyhandyman.com/masking-tape-layout-for-shimmery-stripes for the masking tape placement for each stripe. The recipe
below lists the paint and metallic glaze colors we used.
You can choose your own colors to create a unique look or
copy our recipe.
Overlapping bands of glaze
Shimmery Stripes Appearance and Formula
Recipe for stripes:
Base coat color: Benjamin Moore
November Skies 2128-50 eggshell.
First layer of stripes: One part Benjamin
Moore Blue Danube 2062-30 thinned
with three parts Glaze Extender.
Second layer of stripes: One part Modern
Masters Smoke ME243 thinned with two
parts Glaze Extender.
Third layer of stripes: One part Modern
Masters Flash Copper thinned with one
part Glaze Extender.
Shimmery stripes: The technique
You’ll need three rolls of masking tape for one 12-ft.-long
wall. We used 2-in.-wide blue “long-mask” tape from 3M
and liked the tearing characteristics, but you can experiment
with other brands. Photo 2 shows how to tear the tape.
Apply the glaze with the edge of one sponge and use it to
spread a short swath of glaze onto the wall (Photo 3). Pounce
a second dampened sponge over the glaze to spread it out in
a thin layer (Photo 4). Twist the sponge as you pounce it to
produce a random pattern. Photo 5 shows how to mask off
and apply glaze to the second and third stripes.
Weathered wainscot: The effect
Create the look of mossy tiles with this simple masking and
glaze technique. After marking off and masking around the
diagonal squares (Photos 1 and 2), use cheesecloth to apply a
cloudy layer of glaze (Photo 3). Then add a second uneven
layer of glaze to produce a mottled effect. Pull off the tape
and let the glaze dry. Then apply masking tape around the
remaining triangles and apply two coats of glaze to them.
Add a molding along the top to create an elegant wainscot.
Weathered Wainscot Appearance and Formula
Recipe for wainscot:
Base coat color: Behr Home Song 400C-2,
Both coats of glaze: One part Behr Grape
Leaves 400D-6 thinned with three parts
Glaze Extender and one part water.
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Weathered wainscot: The technique
Mix one part latex paint to three parts glaze to make the
finish. Then cut a 30-in. piece of cheesecloth from the roll
and unfold it. You’ll find pads of cheesecloth at most full-service
paint stores. Dampen the cheesecloth with water
and lightly bunch it up to prepare it for use. Photos 1 – 5 show
how to mark and mask off the squares and how to apply the
glaze. We used special Frog, which is designed to minimize the amount of paint that
creeps under the edges. (You could also use blue masking
tape.) Just lightly press down the edges of the Frog Tape with
a plastic putty knife to seal them. Let the first layer of glaze
dry. Then add a second layer in a random pattern to create
darker and lighter areas. Remove the tape and let the glaze
dry completely before masking around the remaining triangles
and repeating the process.
Mix glazes according to the recipes
Working With Glaze
Think of the thin, sugary layer on a glazed doughnut and you’ll
have a pretty good notion of what glaze is. In painting terms, it’s
a thin layer of oil or latex that varies from nearly transparent to
nearly opaque, depending on the ratio of paint to glaze. Glaze is
a liquid you mix with paint to get a translucent look, and is also
the name of the thin layer you’ll spread over the wall.
Mixing glaze isn’t difficult. Use a measuring cup to get the right
proportions, but don’t worry about being too exact. You can add
a little water to extend the working time and thin the glaze for
easier workability. Just make sure it doesn’t get so thin it runs
down the wall. Each of our techniques requires applying from
two to several coats of glaze on top of one another. To avoid
problems, it’s best to let each coat dry at least a few hours. It
should be dry to the touch. Test by applying a piece of masking
tape in an inconspicuous spot and removing it to make sure the
tape won’t pull partially dry glaze from the wall.
In each of the decorative techniques we’re showing, we’ve
mixed either latex paint or special metallic finishes with latex
glaze to create the finish. Both the “random rectangles” and the
“shimmery stripes” techniques look better with even coats of
glaze. There are several ways to avoid undesirable lap marks
that can show up when you pounce over dried glaze. Starting
out with a base coat layer of paint that has a little sheen helps
because the glaze won’t soak in and is easier to move around.
We used latex paint with an eggshell sheen. For extra working
time, buy “latex glaze extender” rather than plain latex glaze.
When you apply the glaze, work from one side to the other.
Work fast to avoid letting the leading edge dry out. It’s also
helpful to work in pairs, with one person dabbing on the glaze
and the second person working it to achieve the desired finish.
It’s better to err on the side of applying too little glaze, since you
can always add another coat.
Tools and techniques
The instructions for decorative painting often recommend sea
sponges, but we found that the inexpensive “hump-backed”
sponges available at paint stores work fine. They leave a soft, subtle texture that’s desirable for the
techniques we show here. Cheesecloth that’s unfolded and
lightly wadded is another good choice. In either case, the application
technique is similar. You apply a little glaze to the wall
with either a sponge or a brush, and then spread it out in a thin,
even layer with a second sponge or a wad of cheesecloth. If you
don’t mind the extra work, simply practice on the wall. Then
paint over it to prepare for the actual finish. Or you can practice
on a painted piece of drywall, MDF or hardboard.