Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Sitting in your living room or office, are you staring at drab, blank or dreary looking walls?

You don’t have to. Imagine a wall or an entire space with such an amazing finish, no one can stop commenting on its beauty. A “decorative or “faux” finish is the answer to your dreams.

Before selecting a specific design, just like a typical paint job, you must do several things first:


1) Prepare walls for the desired finish; sanding, patching, caulking, priming and base coating.


2) Choose a color scheme which you are excited about, and is suitable to the decorative finish style.

Example: A simulated Oak finish would consist of a combination of earth tone colors – possibly dark brown and a sienna tan.


3) Decide if you personally are up to the task of applying the finish yourself. Or do you recognize it as a job for a professional?

With simpler finishes, you may be able to practice the process, where satisfactory results are more achievable. If you want an exquisite finish, I recommend that you seek the talents of a professional decorative painter or faux finisher.


4) Equip yourself with the tools, paints and materials necessary for the application. You will use special brushes and specially designed tools for the task. Each type of finish often requires the use of different applicators – and modifications of your technique.

In one instance, you may use a blending brush, a sponge and cheese cloth. With another, it could be a liner brush, metal comb and stencil. The type of finish will designate the specific items used to apply it.


5) Overall, to apply a decorative finish, a person needs (a) creativity, (b) an eye for perspective, (c) an insight for visualizing art forms, and, (d) the skill to simulate reality in all of its forms.


FIRST INSTALLMENT: How to apply a basic decorative finish: RAG ROLLING.*

Learning how to apply a basic decorative finish is essential to learning how to apply more intricate finishes. “Rag Rolling” is an example of a basic finish.




Ok, the walls are base coated and ready to go! The walls are a basic beige.

Using a 1 – 2 – 1 ratio, mix together 1-part of a burnt umber( as a colorant or paint ) with 2-parts acrylic glazing liquid (for transparency) and 1-part water (as a solvent).




Before applying the finish on your intended surface, always prepare a sample first. For your sample “surface,” I suggest (1) smooth pressboard by or (2) foam board – a 2 feet by 2 feet square.

You want to establish your technique and determine the exact mixing procedure for the glazing. You may want to add more water or glazing liquid to achieve the desired effect. It’s your call!




1) Apply glazing mixture uniformly with a brush and roller starting in corner of room working to the right. Roll glazing approximately 4-6 feet in width on wall.

2) Take a cloth rag, folded and rolled. Begin to lay the rag on the surface. Simultaneously, LIFT and turn the rag in random, overlapping directions, from ceiling towards the base.You want to eliminate leaving any heavy edges or globs of glazing material. Once it dries, it’s too late to correct!

3) Proceeding down and across the wall, continue to roll out the glazing material several feet at a time.

TIP: To maintain a wet edge, watch how fast the glaze starts to dry, as you “roll the rag.” Adjust the amount of glaze or water accordingly.

4) In applying the glaze, it’s very important to keep the arm, wrist and hand motion loose and free. This allows you to produce a finish which has a random consistency. It is best to avoid having the finished product look as if it was designed with a pattern in mind.

5) Rag Rolling, when completed, produces a subtle, two-dimensional texture to the surface.


* WATCH FOR: Rag Rolling images.


Most of us know what it is like to paint a wall. It’s not too difficult and maybe not much fun either.

A decorative finish, on the other hand, is very creative. It requires you to focus if you’re to be happy with the final results. This type of finish is also very rewarding! It gives you a great sense of accomplishment, even if someone else applies it for you.

Above everything else, decorative finishes can give your space that feeling of contemporary excitement, or the traditional allure.

Remember, you can start small. Maybe you have a small piece of furniture, or a set of candle sticks.

Let your creativity be your guide.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Let yourself go.  RAG ROLL IT!   Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


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