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Faux Painting: A Cheap Luxury

One of the greatest ways to decorate the walls and ceilings in a home is through imaginative painting techniques called “faux,” which is a French word for “fake.” As much as faux painting copies items like marble and metal the techniques goes back to Mesopotamian Empire of 3000 B.C. In the Middle Ages faux reached its glory days and a painter of “the guild” had to apprentice for 10 years or more before the master let him touch a finish.

The Art-deco craze of the 1920's and 30's brought the style back. And since the great trees of the country were being decimated clear wood was becoming scarce so faux wood painting became popular.

Wallpaper became popular for a bout 50 years or so and then began to vanish as faux filled the gap.

A faux finish can do as much or more for an area than almost any other type of design. It can create spaciousness, depth and texture where there were once bare walls and add color splashes to create any atmosphere you can imagine. Faux painting techniques are quite common knowledge however each paint job is a personal creation because the painter is doing it freehand. In other words there is no roller brush that creates a common imprint on the surface.

The possibilities are endless. For example, using rolled up tissue paper can create a European dècor from 200 years ago while being a clever way to hide blemishes on the surface of the wall. To accomplish this one person may use 2 or 3 colors for a distressed appearance while another may just stick with 1 color and use a busier design with the tissue paper.

The techniques sound like something a child would do on a bedroom wall: whisking, dragging, rag rolling, sponging, washing and stippling. And these are a just a few of the many processes that can be used singly or in layers to get the desired effect that the painter wants.

The Faux Process: Tips

In using this process there are two steps: background paint and glaze. A wall can be painted in almost any color but it is the glaze that brings out the effect and can turn even the most bizarre color into a feature wall. The background paint will be used to bring out the boldness of the glaze color or tone it down so you must be careful on choosing just the right shade for your effect.

The glaze is a translucent liquid mixed with the paint and colorant for a semi-transparent paint finish. Glaze dries slower than the paint so there is plenty of time to texture the finish faux painting accessories like rags and sponges. If more colors are added this will add to the sense of depth.

  1. Colors: use base colors and glazes that will blend in or bring out the designs in your home: draperies, furniture, flooring. Also choose the blend and glaze colors in the same tone group. Later on when you are a “pro' you can experiment with clashing colors! When you choose a light color for your base coat the glaze should be 2-3 times darker.
  2. Use Protective Gear: As some faux techniques require vigorous motions gloves will prevent the glaze from irritating your skin and glasses will prevent any splashes from getting into your eyes.
  3. Preparation: The surface should be before painting. This includes crack filling, sanding and using a quality primer.
  4. Rags and Bags: make sure these are clean and free of lint so that you don not track unwanted blemishes on your paint job.
  5. Blend: Here is a rule-of-thumb for the painting protocol.” Start with the color you want to see least because t you can cover it as much as you like with your favorite one.
  6. Test Area: Always try the color scheme out on a test area. A spare piece of large drywall with the same batch of primer will work great. You can also try it out on a basement wall that you want to cover up with another paint. In this way you will get an idea what it looks like on a large areas while practicing your strokes!
  7. Start Small: Pick a small area with natural corners to start then move on to the next size. In this way you will be a pro when you get to the big wall.
  8. Speed: The glaze will dry in about 10-15 minutes so you have to work quickly. The corners are tricky because you don't want to over due them and neither do you want any noticeable spaces.

After you follow the basics there is no way or wrong to do faux designs. All it takes is practice and a vivid imagination. And, in time, if you don't like it, try another effect!

Posted by: TrustedPros
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