Faux painting: Tips and Tricks for perfect Faux finishing | PaintOutlet.co.uk

Faux painting may seem like a modern decorating trend, but it dates back to the ancient Egyptian days when stucco and plaster finishes first became popular. Ultimately, faux painting (or faux finishing) is a term used to describe a decorative paint finish that replicates the appearance of another material. Marble, wood, and stone are common materials to be replicated with faux finishing. These faux finishes were used to change the appearance of tombs and cave walls.  

Nowadays, homeowners often use other types of faux finishes, such as colour washing, crackling and antiquing when updating their interior design. Regardless of which finish you prefer, you can start your next home improvement project with some of the helpful step-by-step tips below.


Before any paint job, it is essential to figure out what supplies you need and how much of each product your project requires. You can do this by measuring the length, width and height of your walls. Once you’ve got your measurements, consider how many coats of paint you need to get the desired look. 

Do some research to find out which tools your project requires. It is generally good to keep a paintbrush or sponge roller on hand, but you may also need other supplies. Let’s review some essentials so you can get a good idea of which tools might benefit you.

Tools, Supplies and Products to use

Check the condition of your walls before buying and tools and materials. Are your walls in great condition, or are they filled with holes and rough patches? Do you have white walls, or are they coated in a darker hue? Unless your walls are smooth and white, you must use a primer. 

After prepping your walls, make a list of supplies you may need to finish your painting project. Regardless of which faux finish you choose, you may need the following products and tools:

  • Paint
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush
  • Sponge roller
  • Tarp
  • Painter’s tape
  • Ladder or step stool
  • You may also want to have plenty of paint sticks on hand for stirring the paint.


If you’re painting your walls for the first time, try something simple, such as sponge rolling, colour washing or rag rolling. These techniques require few supplies, and you can finish them in a day or two. 

Sponge rolling

Sponge rolling is a great option for DIYers who haven’t experimented with faux finishes in the past. All you need are a few basic supplies: primer, paint and a natural sea sponge. Buy a few different colours of paint so you can add depth to your walls, and use a different sponge for each colour. Dip the sponge in your paint, dab it on a random part of your wall and repeat until you achieve the desired effect.

Colour Washing

Like sponge rolling, colour washing requires just a few supplies, and you can finish your project quickly to create an old-world effect. You will need primer, paint, glaze, a rag and a roller brush. 

  • Start by priming your wall, and then. 
  • Cover it with your preferred hue of paint. 
  • When the paint dries, apply the glaze in a contrasting hue using a sponge roller or rag.
  • Move the rag or sponge in a circular motion as if you are attempting to wipe away hidden debris from your walls.

Rag Rolling 

Rag rolling, or ragging, is another easy option for beginners. It’s similar to colour washing because it gives your walls a naturally weathered look. 

  • Start by covering the surface with your primer.
  • Add a base coat in the colour you want. 
  • When the base coat dries, place a twisted, scrunched-up rag in a container of glaze and then roll it up or down your walls. This helps create a stucco-like finish.


Create the illusion of bricks on any surfaces by faux painting them on. Use a serrated kitchen knife to cut a few synthetic sponges into a brick shape and size, then space and glue them onto plywood. Use a roller to paint brick-coloured paint onto the stamp sponges, the press onto the surface. Repeat until surface is covered in bricks faux painting.


In a nutshell, concreting involves random yet strategic incorporations of white, grey, and black paint and glazing with a 9-inch plaster blade.


Marbleizing refers to a paint finish that looks like — you guessed it — real marble. This faux marble finish requires patience and plenty of it. You must use careful, deliberate strokes or risk ending up with a wall that looks more cracked than marbled.


  • Start with a primer, if needed.
  • Apply your base colour coat of flat or satin paint. 
  • Apply another painting in a lighter hue. Take a scrunched-up rag or sponge and dab it into the darker paint. Dab it across your wall. Smudge it carefully
  • Let it dry.
  • Take an artist’s paintbrush and draw thin swirls throughout your wall. Use neutral hues, such as black or white, and try to make your swirls mimic human veins. You can do this by lightly sketching the letter K or Y across your wall from top to bottom.
  • When your swirls dry, cover your walls with glaze, and then add a sealant.

Faux painting lets you customize the look of your home with few basic supplies, but some techniques can take practice. Before you give up or hire an expert, consider trying a small project on your own with the handy tips from our guide above. As you become more comfortable with the DIY route, you’ll gain the skill and confidence to move on to bigger things and more advanced techniques. Whether you’re tackling a chippy milk paint dresser or your marbling your bedroom walls, remember that time and practice are the best way to go from beginner to expert.