How to Glaze With Paint


Glazing over a previously painted surface creates decorative effects such as antiquing or faux textures that resemble plaster, marble, fabric or suede. Also called color washing or sponging, different tools and techniques used to apply the glaze results in different decorative effects. Using a second glaze color adds additional depth and dimension to walls. Glazes can also be applied to furniture and cabinets.

Things You'll Need

  • Dropcloth or plastic tarp
  • Painter’s tape
  • Latex paint base color
  • Stir sticks
  • Paint trays
  • Paint roller
  • Plastic bucket or container
  • Glaze
  • Latex paint top color
  • Disposable gloves
  • 4 inch paintbrush, 2 soft rags or 2 natural sea sponges
  • Craft paper or cardboard
  • Container of water

Rag Technique

  • Prepare the area to be painted by removing or covering furniture and floors with a dropcloth or tarp. Clean the wall with warm soapy water to remove dirt and oils and allow it to thoroughly dry. Remove outlet and switch plate covers and apply painter's tape to baseboards, door and window casings and any other wall edges where the paint should stop at a clean line.

  • Open the base color paint can and stir the paint thoroughly. Pour some of the paint into the paint tray. Load the paint roller with paint and apply two coats of the base color, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second. Allow the base color to dry overnight.

  • Mix four parts glaze to one part paint, or 1 gallon of glaze with 1 quart of paint in a plastic bucket or container. Stir the mixture well. Pour some of the glaze mixture into a paint tray.

  • Put on the disposable gloves. Dip a soft rag into the glaze mixture. Starting in the top corner, apply the glaze to the wall using circular motions as if washing the wall. Vary the direction and motion of the wiping to make it look more natural and random.

  • Stand back periodically to assess your work. Use a clean rag to remove color if it is too heavy in some areas. Continue the technique until the entire wall is covered.

Paintbrush Technique

  • Follow Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 of the rag technique.

  • Dip the 4-inch paintbrush into the glaze mixture. Apply the glaze using a crisscross motion, forming an X-shape on the wall. Without reloading the paintbrush, continue painting over the X-shape with random crisscross strokes, spreading out the color and filling it in while also allowing the base color to show through. Reload the paintbrush when the paint begins to dry or the color runs out.

  • Use a dry paintbrush to feather out the brush strokes and soften the color on the wall. Stand back periodically to evaluate the work you've completed. Continue the technique until the you have covered the entire wall.

Sponge Technique

  • Follow the first three steps in the rag technique.

  • Dampen the sea sponge in water, while wearing disposable gloves, thoroughly wringing out the excess. Dip the flattest side of the sea sponge into the glaze mixture. Blot off the excess paint onto craft paper or cardboard.

  • Dab the sponge onto the wall in a random pattern, keeping the colored spots a few inches apart and filling in a 3-foot section at a time. Dab with a light pouncing motion and light pressure, turning your wrist with each pounce so different parts of the sponge make contact with the wall. Fill in the sections between the spots without reloading the sponge.

  • Step back from the wall to periodically to assess your work. Leave irregular borders around each section of work space to avoid creating recognizable lines along the wall. Blend as necessary until you are happy with the results and continue until the entire wall is covered.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice the techniques on sample boards before attempting them on the wall.
  • For easy color selections, choose lighter and darker shades off the same paint strip. Use colors at least two to three shades apart for better contrast.
  • Analogous colors such as blue and green or orange and red also work well together for color wash techniques.
  • When sponging, use a darker base color covered with a lighter glaze color for a three-dimensional effect of light highlights on top and dark shadows underneath.
  • Tear off a smaller piece of the second sea sponge to get in corners. Alternate the sponges between both hands to keep the pattern looking random.
  • Use an eggshell or satin sheen on the base coat to allow more work time with the glaze color.
  • Always paint in a well-ventilated area. Keep doors and windows open.

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  • Photo Credit archideaphoto/iStock/Getty Images
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