Faux Finishes: Rag Rolling

Faux finishes create wall surfaces with interest, depth, pattern, and texture. If you're tired of the plain painted wall look and just not up for the cost or time involved in wallpapering, faux finishes may be just the ticket. The art of rag rolling produces attractive patterns to the wall by either putting paint on or taking it off. Take a closer look to discover just how to turn a room in your home from boring to exciting.

Rag rolling is a simple technique of either rolling paint on or off a prepared surface by rolling a rag across the wall. Special covers for roller can be purchased. Assuming your walls have been painted and are ready for rag rolling, let's being the process of giving an edge of interest to your walls.

Youll need:

  • One or two glazes in complimentary colors
  • Bucket of clean water
  • Painter's tape and a drop cloth
  • Rag or ragging roller cover (follow directions on the roller)
  • Rubber or plastic gloves to keep hands cleaner
  • Newspaper for dapping off excess paint
  • Practice board or cardboard to try a ragging test run before starting on the wall

Ragging On Directions:

  1. Tape woodwork, floors, ceiling, and corners.
  2. Dip your rag into the glaze, getting it wet, but do not saturate the rag or get it dripping wet.
  3. Carefully twist the rag into a long roll.
  4. Beginning at the edge of the ceiling, roll the rag on the wall moving in various directions and beginning each roll at a different angle.
  5. Try to apply the same amount of pressure as you roll the rag across the wall to give a consistent appearance.
  6. Continue moistening and rolling the rag across the wall. Make sure you keep the edges damp with the glaze as you work.
  7. The room is complete when you're satisfied with the effects you've created using the ragging on technique for a faux finish.
  8. Once the ragging on coat of glaze has dried, you can rag on another color, but remember that the last color applied with be the most prominent color.
  9. Once all colors are ragged on, a coat of varnish can be applied, if desired.

Ragging Off Directions:

Rag rolling off takes two people to work the best. One person begins painting the base coat while the other person follows rolling the paint off with the rag. As always, mark off ceiling, woodwork, corners, and floor with painter's tape.

  1. Begin painting the room using a roller and the base paint you've chosen.
  2. The second person follows behind, with a clean rag rolled into a cylinder, ragging the paint off the wall.
  3. Like ragging on, it's important to continue ragging off at various angles and in different directions to keep from having a look with edges instead of a random appearance.
  4. For a parchment look, use plastic bags instead of rags. Even more drama can be added to the walls by using lace or heavily textured rags like nubby wools or an old chenille bed spread.
  5. Follow up with a varnish or clear glaze, if desired.

The price of creating a one of a kind room with ragging on or off is minimal, the time to create a dramatic room costs little, and the satisfaction of hearing guests "ooooo and ahhhh" is priceless. Have fun while you turn your home into a place that speaks to being personally you. Let your creative juices flow, add color and life to your living space by putting paint on or off your walls with a few old rags.