How to Rag Whitewash to Tone Down Bright Paint

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It's difficult to choose a color from a tiny paint chip and colors darken as they dry so many people don't realize the problem until the room is finished. You think you've chosen the perfect color for a room, but when it's painted on all four walls the color seems to intensify. Using a simple white wash with a rag finish will not only tone down those bright walls, but will add texture and interest so you'll be telling your guests you planned this all along.

Things You'll Need

  • Glazing liquid
  • White latex paint in a satin sheen
  • Soft cotton t-shirt rags
  • Bucket of water
  • 6-inch whiz roller and roller cover
  • Mixing container
  • Small paint pan
  • 2-inch chip brush
  • Mix white paint into a clear glaze in a ratio of one part paint to four parts glaze. This will give you a transparent glaze, but the color will be strong enough to tone down the wall color.

  • Dampen a few t-shirt rags to get ready. Wring them out until they are barely wet. Bunch into small balls to be ready for use.

  • Pour some glaze mixture into your paint pan. Dip your roller into the glaze and roll it back and forth until it is covered evenly with glaze.

  • Work in an area about 4-by-4 feet and apply the glaze randomly over about half of the area. Use a bunched up rag to move the glaze over the area until all is covered.

  • Move the rag around and twist your hand so that the rag leaves different impressions on the wall. When the rag is saturated, toss it into the bucket and grab another rag. Try to complete a wall before taking a break.

  • Remove more glaze if you feel the impressions are too heavy. Add more glaze if you cannot see enough of it.

  • Pounce your chip brush with glaze on it when you reach the corner, ceiling or baseboard. Use it to give these hard-to-reach areas a similar texture to the rest of the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start in the most obscure spot in the room so that you can see what the color will be like and make adjustments.
  • Add more paint to the glaze if you want to cover your bright color even more.
  • If you don't like the results of the wall within the first few minutes, you can wash down the glaze and try again.
  • Be careful not to use an oil - paint in the glaze. For best results use latex paint and water-based glazing liquid.

References

  • The Painted House; Debbie Travis; 1997
  • Puttin'on the Paint; Carol Field Dahlstrom; 2004
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