Creating Faux Paint Finishes for Furniture

There are many faux paint finishes that you can create on furniture. You can turn a bland piece into the focal point of a room. Take an old piece from your garage, basement or junk pile and give it new life with a new look. Depending upon which finish you decide to create, you will need various tools or supplies.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Primer
  • Base coat
  • Glaze
  • Complimentary colors
  • Brushes
  • Rags
  • Feather
  • Sponge
  • Plastic bag
  • Varnish
  • Sandpaper
  • Comb

Step 1 - Prepare the Base

If the piece is old you should do some basic preparation no matter what finish you choose. Wash the entire piece with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. If there are imperfections, sand smooth with sandpaper. If the piece has hardware, remove it. Give the piece a good coating of primer so the paint has something to bite into and create a lasting surface.

Step 2 - Base Coat

No matter what faux finish you decide to put on your furniture, it will need a base coat. Apply this with a good brush so the paint will lay flat and not show brush strokes. If necessary, apply a second coat, sanding very lightly between coats.

Step 3 - Ragging

This faux painting technique is exactly as it sounds. Roll or crumple up a rag and dip it into paint. You can roll the paint across the surface of the furniture creating a rippled affect or dab at the furniture with the rag applying paint in various directions to get a look you like. Always change directions and move the rag around to change the look so it doesn't look repetative. You can do this with one paint color or several.

Step 3 - Sponging

Sponging is a bit like ragging, but you get a sponge wet and ring it out until almost dry. Then dip the flat side of the sponge in paint and blot a bit off onto paper towels. Dab the sponge all over the piece of furniture. Turn your wrist in various directions to keep the grain of the sponge from being repeated too often. A similar technique can be done with wadded up plastic or paper bags dipped in paint.

Step 4 - Combing

Combing is a different look than the ones above. Apply a coat of contrasting paint over the base coat and while the paint is wet, drag a plastic comb through it. You will need to wipe the comb off occasionally to remove excess paint and to prevent buildup on your furniture. You can vary the pressure on the comb, move it in straight lines or curves. You can also go both horizontally and vertically on the piece to give a woven look. Use your imagination to create a one of a kind piece.

Step 5 - Marbling

Marbling is a bit more complicated than the other techniques mentioned. Choose a color that is slightly darker than your base coat and mix it with glaze, 2 parts glaze to 1 part paint. Stir. Dip a rag into the paint just picking up a bit and rub it over the painted base coat. You want a smudged look. You also want light and dark areas. You can repeat this with another color, slightly darker than the first. When this has dried, dip the tip of a feather into the paint and wipe a bit off. Drag the feather across the surface to create the veins of the marble. All pieces should be sealed with varnish to protect your hard work after the paint has dried.