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Color Wash and Dry Brush Faux Paint Techniques for Your Walls

Updated on September 12, 2012

Faux paint treatments create textural finishes, adding visual interest to your design scheme. Two faux paint treatments, color washing and dry brushing, are good choices for DIY projects, as the techniques are easy to learn. Always apply a coat of quality primer to the walls before starting your faux paint treatment.

Color Washing
Color washing treatments give your walls an aged appeal. Select two shades of the same color. One shade should be mid-to-dark in color range, while the second is two shades lighter. For example, a shade of fiery orange with a peach color would work well.

Apply a base coat of off-white. Apply a second coat of the off white in short strokes at a 45 degree angle using a wide brush, much like making large Xs.

Apply a third coat in the lighter shade, again using short, angled strokes. Work quickly, as you need to apply the fourth coat of the darker color while the lighter shade is slightly wet.

For the darker color, dip the paint brush and wipe off most of it on the side of the can or paint tray. This is called dry brushing. Apply the paint in short strokes while blending it with the still damp lighter color. Work with the brush and paint until you are satisfied with the overall effect.

Illustration of the dry brush treatment
Illustration of the dry brush treatment

Dry Brush
Dry brushing creates a woven, cross-hatch appearance in which the color deepens and lessens as if various shades of thread were woven together along the surface of the walls. The dragging of a dry brush across the walls causes the paint to fade in and out. Apply a base coat of eggshell white paint. Select two shades of the same color, one light shade and one two to three shades darker.

Dip the tip of a wide brush into the lighter shade of paint and wipe it against the edge of the paint can or tray. Drag the tip of the brush at a right angle across the surface and then quickly cross it with a left angle stroke. Cross the left angled stroke at a right angle; this creates the cross-hatch effect that gives this technique its depth. Continue this pattern until you complete the room. The effect at this point will be blotchy. Allow the paint to dry.

Use the same technique with the darker shade, using slightly more paint and longer strokes. The second, darker shade of cross-hatching creates a smooth contrast within the treatment.

Use the original eggshell white to blend, keeping the strokes short and the brush dry.

TIP: Practice the techniques on scraps of primed drywall before starting on your walls. The length of your strokes and how much paint you use to blend affects the overall appearance in these treatments.


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    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Nice, simple instructions for faux techniques that make a big, but subtle impact.


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