Faux painting, also known as faux finishing, is an enhancing paint concept meant to reproduce the aesthetic effect of marble, wood, and stone. Hailing from the French word faux, meaning false, faux painting became rather popular after the decline of wallpaper’s popularity in the late 80s to the early 90s.
Faux painting ranges vastly in quality and skill (how indistinguishable from the real thing your final product will be), but it really all comes down to what you want and like. Here are some techniques you can practice with or use to take the faux approach at home:
This technique is the easiest to master for a beginner. All you need are some sea sponges, glaze, and a few colors to start. The outcome depends mainly on your approach, with the number of colors and different color families you might choose for your palette. Simply dip your dry sponge into the paint of your choice and lightly dab onto the wall. The trick is building upon multiple, subtle layers to your desired color thickness.
2. Color Washing:
a.k.a. the broken finish technique, that showcases a very refined and antique feel. Simply add glaze over your wall foundation and apply light strokes to produce a delicate texture. Next, spread glaze or paint onto your tools and just start a wiping motion in any direction you wish.
Also called ‘ragging’, is a glazing technique that uses bunched-up or twisted rags to produce a textured motif. Press these rags to your wall after applying paint on them in a random fashion. The beauty of faux painting in the techniques explained so far is the irrelevance of perfection and uniformity that is often a common goal in conventional decorating.
Used to recreate the look of polished marble, this technique can be hard to master but the results are well worth it. Marbleizing is achieved in many ways; with many techniques combined to create the desired look. If you’re a beginner wanting to DIY on a budget, a very basic method is to dab latex glaze (paint and glaze mixture) onto a primed and painted latex white wall. Make groups of clouds in some areas, and then level these out with a dry feathering brush or another sponge dipped in a lighter paint color. To add realism, make thick curlicues with a brush. A feather or fine tool dipped in a darker color will create fine veining. You can soften this by swabbing over with a rag or sponge.
Used to emulate unusual and rare wood types, and separated into two categories: coarse/rustic and fine. A mottler or wood graining tool is often needed for beginners. One of the simplest ways to woodgrain is with a wood-graining rocker, some gel stain, enamel paint, and polyurethane. Start with a base coat of enamel; followed by a layer of gel stain (glaze) which you will glide through with the rocker, rocking the tool now and then. Start and keep going from one end to the other. Use a rag to soften the grain before the glaze dries, and apply one or two coats of polyurethane to seal when completely dry.
Originally an extremely intricate faux method, there is now a simplified version you can do at home. Venetian plaster appears textured but is actually smooth to touch. Spread on a light layer of tinted Venetian plaster (also a material, made of plaster and marble dust) with a trowel and let set for at least four hours. Next, repeat this allow to dry for 24 hours. The third step called burnishing gives Venetian plaster its signature look. Scrub in circles with sandpaper, and use the flat side of the trowel to rub the finish. And finally, apply a top coat to seal your work with sturdiness and safety.
Meaning ‘fool the eye’ in French. This technique comprises incredibly realistic painting mastery to form the optical illusion that the subjects portrayed are present in real life. Common and notable implementations can be seen in theater set design, and Trick Eye Museums all over the world.
Meaning ‘stripe’ or ‘streak’ in French. Strie is a glazing technique that actualizes delicate and slim lines, or streaks of color using brushes. This technique is often used to copy fabric materials such as linen and denim. Apply acrylic or glaze paint to your brush or roller and start with vertical motions from top to bottom. Be sure to manage sections of the wall so certain parts won’t dry too soon. Try to have a contrast of colors between your lines and the base coat.
There are still more styles to discover but these are just some of the popular ones today.