How Do You Color Wash Your Walls?

About Me
Ah, The Beauty of Walls

Look around you at the beautiful walls. Whether they are adorned with wallpaper or a fine coat of paint, that finish was skillfully applied for your enjoyment. Really, the jobs of wallpaper hangers and painters are some of the most important in the building industry, since you see the results of this work every day. We have a great appreciation for wallpaper and paint, and we are reminded of that appreciation each time we look at our walls. This is why we wanted to create a blog where you, our readers, can learn more about this industry and its many nuances.


How Do You Color Wash Your Walls?

20 March 2020
 Categories: , Blog

Color washing is a technique that's often used on wooden furniture. When you color wash something, you mix together glaze paint with another paint color in order to make it translucent. Afterwards, you apply it to the furniture using random brush strokes in order to give it an antique, weathered look.

However, more and more people are using color washing to paint their walls, and the results are often stunning. Using the same method used to paint furniture, you can add texture to a wall and give it the same weathered look. It's perfect for a rustic aesthetic, but can fit into any interior design style.

How do you color wash your walls? Read on to find out.

1. Select Your Paint

You'll need three cans of interior paint for this job: a basecoat, a topcoat, and a can of glaze paint. If you're going for a weathered look with your color wash, your topcoat needs to be the same color as your basecoat. However, it needs to be about two or three shades lighter.

Ideally, all of your interior paint should be from the same brand. You should also select semi-gloss or shinier for your finish, as it tends to be difficult to color wash a wall with a matte finish — the topcoat tends to seep in and become muddled.

2. Paint Your Walls Using the Basecoat, Priming if Needed

Begin by washing your walls fully with a mixture of trisodium phosphate and water. You want to make sure there's no oily residue on the walls before you begin painting.

Once the walls are completely dry, use painter's tape to tape off areas that you're not painting, like the ceiling, the baseboard and adjacent walls. 

If you're going from a darker color to a lighter one, it's a good idea to sand down the entire wall and apply primer to it. This reduces the likelihood of your old paint bleeding through. If you do apply primer, wait until it has dried completely before you apply your basecoat.

Otherwise, go ahead and paint your entire wall using the basecoat now using a roller brush. Feather in the color from the edges using a paintbrush so that it doesn't have any streaks. (Note that an imperfect paint job will be covered up by the color wash, so don't stress out about it too much.)

3. Color Wash Your Walls

Once the basecoat has dried, it's time for the color washing process. The easiest tool to apply the glaze with is a sea sponge. It naturally gives a random, weathered pattern to the wall. However, you can also apply the glaze using two normal paintbrushes.

Mix together about three parts glaze paint to one part topcoat in a separate can. You can alter the ratios if you want — using more glaze will make the color more translucent when it's applied, whereas using more topcoat will allow the color of the paint to show through more.

Once you've mixed the glaze and topcoat, all you need to do is to swirl it around on your wall. If you're using a sea sponge, lightly dab it against the wall in random patterns like you're cleaning it. If you're using a paintbrush, dip it in your glaze mixture and make crosshatch strokes on the wall. Use a dry paintbrush to spread the glaze mixture around by making random strokes.

Randomness is the key to a good color wash paint job. You want the end result to look like it weathered over time in a random manner, so avoid leaving anything on the wall that makes it obvious that you painted it. Thankfully, the glaze mixture dries fairly slowly, so you have time to spread it around more.

Once you've finished the entire wall, you're done. The glaze mixture will show as a translucent lighter color compared to the basecoat, giving the wall a textured, weathered look. Note that color washing isn't the only thing you can do with glaze paint — for example, you can also make your walls look like natural stone. Using the right techniques, you can add interesting textures as part of any interior paint job.

For more information, contact a company with interior paint and plenty of advice on proper painting techniques, such as Klenosky Paint.