There are a great many misconceptions about faux painting and finishing.

In addition, applications and techniques are simple, others more complicated, requiring higher levels of skill. Some finishes work well for one situation, but are inappropriate or impossible to produce in another. This is the first blog post in a series that will attempt to explain some of the processes involved and suggest the traditional uses, histories and skills required.

Processes of Faux finishing

  • Color wash creates subtle variations of color using multiple hues of glaze blended together, usually with a paint brush.
  • Sponging is a free-form finish achieved by applying glaze to the wall by dabbing a sea sponge, in various shapes to achieve either simple design (resembling the wall papers) and more sophisticated ones.
  • Fresco (as a modern faux finishing technique, as opposed to a traditional mural technique) uses mixtures of tint and various plaster types to add mottled color and texture to walls.
  • Rag painting or ragging is a glazing technique using twisted or bunched up rags to create a textural pattern.
  • Distressing (antiquing) involves many varied techniques used to give objects an aged or “weathered” look. Traditionally used for furnishings, but can be done on walls and millwork as well.
  • Graining, wood graining, or faux bois (French for “fake wood”) is often used to imitate exotic or hard-to-find wood varieties.
  • Grisaille, Monochromatic painting, usually utilized to suggest plaster elements or sculpture (a type of trompe l’oeil).
  • Marbleizing or faux marbling is used to make other (usually less expensive) materials look like real marble. This can be done using either plaster or glaze techniques.
  • Strié, from the French for “stripe” or “streak”, is a glazing technique that creates soft thin streaks of color using a paint brush. It is a technique often used to simulate fabrics such as linen.
  • Trompe l’oeil, “trick the eye” in French, is a realistic painting technique often used in murals, and to create architectural details.
  • Venetian plaster is a smooth and often shiny plaster that appears textured but is smooth to the touch. Venetian plaster is one of the most popular and traditional plaster decorations.

More to come…

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