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Soften Your Walls with Color Wash

by Pamela Cole Harris
Home and Garden Makeover

If you like the soft look of watercolors, why not try using a color wash on your walls? In addition to a softer color, color washing can accentuate the texture of your plaster or stucco walls. And itís so simple that even I, a faux-finish-impaired 
decorator, can do it.

There are two techniques for color wash application: sponge or brush. Each requires a slightly different glaze formula. 
  

Sponge Technique:

Color Wash Glaze: Mix together 1 part latex paint and 6 parts water in a bucket.

  1. Mask off (using painterís tape) parts of the room which will not receive the wash. Its best to cover the floor with plastic drop cloths (especially if you are as messy as I am).
      

  2. Prime the wall with a low luster latex paint and allow it to dry completely before the next step.
      

  3. Dip the sponge into the color wash glaze and squeeze lightly.

  1. Beginning in a lower corner, apply the glaze to the wall in short, overlapping strokes. 
      

  2. Change the direction of the strokes frequently. Work on a small portion of the wall at a time (3 foot by 3 foot is a good size).
      

  3. Repeat moving upward until all the wall is covered. 
      

  4. Allow to dry completely. 
       

Brush Technique:

Brush Color Wash Glaze: 1 part flat latex paint, 1 part latex paint conditioner (available at your local home improvement center), and 2 parts water. Mix in a bucket.

  1. Mask off (using painterís tape) parts of the room which will not receive the wash. Its best to cover the floor with plastic drop cloths.
      

  2. Prime the wall with a low luster latex enamel paint and allow it to dry completely before the next step.
      

  3. Allow the paint to dry.
      

  4. Dip a paintbrush in the glaze and remove the excess against the side of the bucket. 
      

  5. Apply the paint in a criss-cross pattern.
      

  6. Brush over the surface repeatedly to soften the look of the paint. 
      

  7. Wipe excess glaze away, if necessary. (Better get the industrial-sized package of paper towels!)
      

There you have it! A soft paint look perfect for your newly decorated room...And since you have the technique down to a science, why not come and do my family room? Powder room? Closet?

Copyright © 2005 Pamela Cole Harris


About the Author:

Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and designer for 35 years (Yikes, has it been that long?) Enjoy her tongue-in-cheek approach to inexpensive interior design at:  http://www.homeandgardenmakeover.com  and http://www.diy-homedecor.com 
   

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