How to Add Texture to Wall Paint

Create texture by using paint additives.
Create texture by using paint additives. (Image: background of the texture wall bright yellow colour image by Irina Igumnova from

Most textured paint effects are created by using varnishes, sealants and special brushing techniques. Often, more than one coat is involved in creating a textured paint surface. For example, a stone color finish with a blue crackle effect can be achieved by applying a sky blue flat paint base, followed by a coat of crackle varnish, and a final coat of stone white latex paint. There are two texturing effects, however, that involve adding a substance directly to your paint to create a textured finish. For a gritty, rough surface, sand is an inexpensive additive. For a dusty or aging appearance, powdered chalk or whiting powder can be added directly to the paint.

Things You'll Need

  • For a sandy surface:
  • 1/2 lb. to 1 lb. of sand (fine, medium or coarse)
  • 1 gallon latex base paint in desired color
  • 1 to 3 containers of powdered pigment or tubes of acrylic paint
  • Mixing stick
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic containers or empty paint cans
  • For an aging paint appearance:
  • Powdered chalk or whiting powder
  • 1 gallon latex base paint in desired color
  • Mixing stick
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic containers or empty paint cans
  • Dust mask

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Tint the sand to match the color of the latex base paint. Pour the sand into a large, empty plastic container, or clean paint can, until the container is about 3/4 full. With a mixing stick or wooden spoon, slowly add either acrylic paint or powdered pigment, mixing well until you have achieved the desired color. If you use acrylic or other wet tint, let the sand dry to ensure absorption.

Use acrylic paint to tint sand for a textured finish.
Use acrylic paint to tint sand for a textured finish. (Image: rainbow paint image by Lev Aleshin from

Mix the tinted and dry sand into the base paint. Pour the latex base paint into a large container until it is about half full. Add sand, a half cup at a time, until you reach the desired texture. Jot down the amount you used if you're doing a large project and will need to repeat the process. When you're satisfied, begin painting, stirring the textured paint occasionally to prevent clumping.

Tinted sand
Tinted sand (Image: sand image by eka from

To create a dusty or aging appearance, add whiting powder or powdered chalk to your latex base paint instead of sand. Wear a dust mask and work in a well-ventilated area. Begin by pouring a cup of the powder or chalk into a small plastic measuring cup. In a large plastic container or clean paint can, pour the latex base paint until the container is about half full. Add the powder into the base paint slowly, mixing about 1/4 cup at a time. Stir well after each addition and continue adding powder or chalk until you achieve the desired effect. When you're satisfied, jot down the quantities of powder or chalk and latex base paint for future reference and start painting. Stir the base paint occasionally to ensure an even finish to your project.

Tips & Warnings

  • When mixing tint to match paint, you may need to use more than one color of pigment or paint. If this is the case, mix the tint first in a separate container and write down the amount you used. This will serve as a recipe in case you want to paint a similar surface texture in the future. This is also highly recommended if you're texturing a large surface.
  • If you're using powdered pigments to tint sand, follow the instructions on the package to help determine the amount to use.
  • Make a small test sample of your textured paint. Brush it onto a board or other surface and let it dry overnight. Lighting and the drying process can alter the appearance of your paint.
  • Whiting powder and other additives can be moderately toxic. Be sure to work in well-ventilated areas, wear a mask and be careful not to get paint on your skin. If you do, rinse it immediately with mild soap and water.
  • Always use a plastic painter's sheet or newspaper to cover the floor in case of drips or spills.


  • "The Complete Book of Paint: A sourcebook of techniques, finishes, designs and projects"; Lynne Robinson, Richard Lowther and Liz Wagstaff; Quadrille Publishing, London, 2000
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