Paint Effects

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This is a quick simple introduction to paint effects. It is aimed at people who have not used paint effects before, ie most DIYers.

Once you've tried the effects and want more in depth information, there is plenty of in-depth advice online.


  • Imitates wood grain
  • Woodgraining is still very popular, but is usually now done with plastic veneer rather than painted, mostly with popular chipboard furniture.


  • Produces a strongly patterned effect.
  • Non-contrasting colours make this a reasonably soft effect.
  • Contrasting colours can create a harsh effect
  • A similar but not identical effect is obtained by dabbing the rag instead of rolling it.
  1. Paint background colour
  2. Either apply 2nd colour by rolling a crumpled rag over the surface, after rolling it on a paint roller tray
  3. Or brush the 2nd colour and dab it off with a rag.

How To Do Ragging Finishes


  1. Apply base colour
  2. Flick spots of a few different colours onto the surface using a paintbrush. Take care to get an even distribution of spots, and protect against overspray.
  • Flick at various different angles to help get even coverage

This effect works well on top of a ragrolled finish.


How To Do Simple Marbling Finishes

Sprayed Fades

These are rarely used in domestic paint schemes. Fades from one colour to another are created by holding the sprayer relatively far from the wall, and using a mask held away from the wall.


  1. Apply white paint.
  2. Apply a coat of well diluted colour by dabbing it on with a rag bundle.

The result looks somewhat texture-like, and the colour is to some extent uneven.

  • Keep the 2 colours fairly close colourwise, or the effect looks coarse and harsh.


Fibres can be bought for reinforcing concrete. It is also posible to make small amounts by finely shredding cloth or cutting rope or balls of wool.

The fibres may be mixed with clear glaze and applied over set paint. Strongly contrasting fibre colours look best.


Maximum camouflage of dirt & defects can be obtained by using the following effects together:

  • ragroll
  • spotting
  • coloured fibres

This is sometimes used to disguise temporary surface dirt, such as in toilets in high price stores


How To Do Crackle Finishes


How To Do Dragging Finishes


How To Do Parchment Finishes


How To Do Sponging Finishes


How To Do Stenciling Finishes

Stippling How To Do Stippling Finishes


Mixing 2 immiscible paints and brushing on as one causes them to separate on the workpiece. The nature of the result depends on the paint types, their thickness, and the orientation of the workpiece. Experimentation is needed to get a satisfactory result.

If desired, water based paint can be thickened with wallpaper paste or thinned with water. Oil paints can be thinned with white spirit.

If both paints are too thin it will be impossible to keep them mixed together long enough to apply.

I used 2 different types of car paint in blue & green on a horizontal surface to give a fine lattice effect. As the paints separated, one formed lots of small globules and rose to the top, while the other produced lattice shaped barriers between all the globules.

See Also

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