Wall Painting Techniques for Beginners
Dec 13, 2021
There is a lot to love about painting a room. Not only does a fresh coat make the room look clean and renewed, but it also provides the opportunity to try some new wall painting techniques. With so many techniques to choose from, there are a ton of ways to give a wall a professional, stylish look.
How to prepare a room for painting
Regardless of the wall painting technique you choose, prep work is an absolute necessity. These tips on prepping a room for painting will help ensure that the final coat of paint looks as smooth as possible.
- Remove outlet covers, window coverings, and switch plates. Start by removing everything from the room that you can. This includes furniture, outlet covers, curtains, switch plates from the light switches, vents, and anything else that might get in the way during painting. Cover items that are too large or heavy to move with drop cloths.
- Cover the floor with canvas drop cloths. Be sure to stretch canvas drop cloths across the floor to catch drips and spills. If possible, avoid folds in the middle of the drop cloth as they’re easy to trip over. Instead, fold the drop cloth at the wall.
- Using a putty knife, fill nail holes or dents with spackle. Before even opening a can of paint, you need to patch the walls. First, run your hands over the walls to find any rough or uneven surfaces, and then circle them with a pencil. Next, scrape any loose paint or gunk off the wall with the tip of the putty knife. Then, use the butt of the putty knife to create a dent over the repair area. Finally, apply spackle to the repair. Allow it to dry before sanding it smooth.
- Cover trim and surfaces next to walls with painter’s tape. New painters that don’t have steady hands should rely on painter’s tape. First, apply it along the tops of the walls where they meet the ceiling. Then, when the ceiling is painted, apply it along the trim where it meets the walls (windows, doors, and baseboards). Finally, apply painter’s tape along the floor where it meets the baseboards and along the walls where they meet the trim.
12 Wall painting techniques
The following are some of the most popular painting techniques, which vary in difficulty from simple to more advanced, but there is something for every taste and style.
Note: Many of the following techniques involve a product called “glaze.” Glaze is a transparent layer that typically covers a surface, and it’s available for latex paint and oil-based paints. However, many of the following techniques involve mixing the glaze with the can of paint. Be sure to paint the ceiling before moving the walls.
Antiquing is a wall painting technique for those that prefer the worn and weathered look, and it’s one of the easiest to accomplish. First, apply a base coat to the wall. Then, with a straight paintbrush, dip the brush into another gallon of paint before wiping most of the paint back off in the can (not just the excess paint—almost all of it). With the dampened bristles, apply the paint in vertical brush strokes. The light, uneven texture gives the wall a worn look.
Much like striping, checkering a wall involves two or more colors and the careful application of painter’s tape. After coating the wall with the base coat (usually the lighter color), the painter carefully lays out the design with painter’s tape in vertical and horizontal sections. Then, the painter applies the contrasting colors in diagonal patterns, resulting in a checkerboard pattern with the tape removed.
Color washing is a wall painting technique that gives the room a rustic, aged look. Color washing involves painting the walls with a base color (typically in a semi-gloss sheen), allowing the walls to dry, and then haphazardly applying coats of paint thinned with a glaze with a large brush. This technique creates depth and texture, as well as color variations in the wall.
Crackling is a painting method achieved using crackle medium (a clear substance that reacts with the topcoat). This technique creates a broken, uneven texture on a wall, giving it an aged, antique look. To achieve this look, the painter applies a base coat of eggshell or semi-gloss paint on the wall before applying crackle medium. Finally, the painter quickly applies the topcoat, allowing it to react with the crackle medium.
Ombre is a technique that involves choosing at least three colors and blending them on the wall. The painter will start painting the lightest over the whole wall as a base coat. Then, moving to the next lightest color, they’ll paint in the middle and blend the color into the lighter section with a paintbrush. Then, they repeat the process with the darkest color, blending it into the middle section to create a gradient from top to bottom.
For those who’d like a particular pattern or texture on their walls, try experimenting with a patterned roller. These special rollers are usually rubber, but they work similarly to a typical paint roller: The painter loads the roller in the paint tray and then applies the texture in one long roll to create the pattern on the wall. These rollers come with wood grain designs, ridges, crackles, lines, and many, many more designs.
The technique of rag rolling involves applying a base coat of paint to the wall and then rolling a twisted rag over the surface. Typically, the twisted rag will be loaded with paint of a different color, and the wrinkles and folds of the fabric create a semi-pattern and texture on the wall.