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Decorative Paint Technique: Colorwashing A Wall

Colorwashing gives a subtle aged effect that works with almost any style.

More in Decorating

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Prep the Walls

Prepare the walls for painting; apply the base coat and let dry. In separate containers, mix one part of each top coat color with one part water and one part latex glaze.

Step 2: Wet the Walls

To create this wet-on-wet technique (i.e. working on a wet surface), dampen a comfortable-sized area of the wall with the damp cheesecloth, and add a squiggle of the desired paint mixture. Use the damp (not wet) sheepskin and rounded movements to move the paint around, keeping the edges thinly fanned. This creates the soft look.

Step 3: Colorwash

Use a dry brush to gently disperse the paint in darker areas, working until you can't see any brush lines. Repeat until the entire project is done. Feel free to colorwash with more than one color, but keep them in the same tonality (the two featured colors work well together).

Step 4: Touch up and Diffuse Color

Make sure the wall is completely dry before tackling touchups. Lap lines happen when you work too closely to an already painted area. To fix them, dilute eight parts of the base coat paint with one part water. Lightly brush the mixture across the lap lines, and then diffuse the color throughout the area with a dry brush. Let dry.

Step 5: Dab With More Color

Use the sheepskin to dab on either colored paint mixture in any areas that need more color. Fan the paint out using a dry brush.

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  • latex glaze (Studio Finishes 405) from Benjamin Moore
    latex paint: (base coat, eggshell sheen: Linen White); (top coat colors, eggshell or flat sheen: Davenport Tan HC-76 and Tyler Taupe HC-43) from Benjamin Moore