Ever thought you'd like to spruce up that old bureau? Want to liven up
your beat-up desk? Then why not give faux finishing a try?
Faux finishers use decorative paint techniques to transform ordinary surfaces.
Using common materials like feathers or rags, the plainest wood surface can
resemble the finest Italian marble.
Whether it's ragging, smooshing, sponging or stippling, faux finishes are
some of the hottest design trends around -- and they're easy on the budget,
With the increased interest in Martha Stewart-type do-it-yourself home
decor, and the trend towards "unique" home furnishings and personalized decorating,
many people are using decorative painting techniques to personalize their
home and furniture.
Old, worn out chairs can become gilded antiques. Plain wooden chests can
sport Italian Renaissance scenes. Whole walls can be painted with murals.
And you can do all this for the price of a few cans of paint and some basic
Equipment for creating a faux finish can be found at almost any home improvement,
paint or craft store. For basic techniques like sponging, ragging, washes
and striping, you will need the following:
- Sea sponge
- Sharp-toothed comb or combing tool (available at any paint store) for
striping or combing walls
- Good quality brushes and rollers
- Paint tray
- Painter's tape (to tape off anything you DON'T want painted)
- Paints and solvents (talk to your local paint store to find out what's
right for you)
Paints and solvents can cost anywhere from $10 to $40 per gallon depending
on quality and paint type (gloss, semi-gloss, flat). Solvents come in smaller
sizes and are slightly more expensive.
Anyone can faux! Painting with a partner is recommended, as it makes it
easier to cover a larger area faster. If you have allergies to paints and
solvents, however, this activity is not for you. Small children should also
be kept well away from painting materials, as they are highly poisonous.
Always make sure that your work area is well ventilated, and stop immediately
if you feel faint or dizzy from paint fumes. If you can work in a garage or
open area with lots of windows, do so.
An interest in faux techniques is all that's needed to get started in this
activity. If you want to take it further, many craft shops and paint or home
improvement stores offer classes in faux finishes and decorating with paint.
The Internet, interior decorating magazines, television shows on home improvement
and your local library are also excellent sources of information. There are
also design colleges that offer relevant courses.
Plan your projects ahead of time and make sure you have everything you
need before you start to paint. Nothing is quite as frustrating as getting
to a critical point in a project and running out of paint or solvent.
Allow yourself enough time to complete each stage, and plan for at least
four to eight hours between coats or treatments. Breaking your project into
several steps over a number of days is a good idea.sub-section
Start out with simple techniques and projects, perhaps ragging an out-of-the-way
wall or refinishing an old chair or dresser -- something that you can always
paint over later. As you get more confident, you can tackle larger projects
and more difficult techniques.
Don't get frustrated if something doesn't work out. Even the professionals
Finally, experiment! Faux finishing is like any art form -- the more you
practice, the better you will get and the more your personal style will develop.
The Art of Faux: The Complete Sourcebook of Decorative Painted
Classic Paints and Faux Finishes,
Annie Sloan and Kate Gwynn
Decorating With Paper and Paint: Combining Decoupage and Faux Finish
Faux Like a Pro
Find a pro, get tips, and buy stuff online
Chateau de Faux
Specializes in painted finishes for furniture, walls and accessories
Many examples of fauxing techniques
Anyone Can Learn to Faux
Learn finishing techniques and more