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Paint Effect Wallpaper | How to do it

Want to try your hand at creating your own paint-effect wallpaper? Whether you are looking to add detail to an already-painted wall, or decorate an entire room with bold brushwork, find out how to do it with our simple guide below.

Before you undertake any paint effect project, don’t forget to prepare the area! This can be the difference between a bad and a beautiful paint job. Remove furniture from the room or area you will be painting, lay plastic sheets or dropcloths on the floor of the room. Tape off everything on the wall you don’t want painted, including the edges of the ceiling. Now you’re ready to create paint effect wallpaper like a pro!


Paint effect: Ombré

Image: Behr

How to do it:

1. Choose two paint colours that blend together well, and separate your wall into three, equal sections. (The more sections you create, the more gradual the change in colour will be).

2. Decide which way you want the colour to flow. Transitioning from dark to light can make the room appear bigger as the ceiling is higher, and the other way around will make a large room cozier.

3. Prepare your wall – tape off all trim work, floorboards, windows etc, and paint the wall with a primer.

4. Pour each colour into its own paint tray. Then, mix another colour by combining the first two shades in equal parts in your measuring cup.

5. If you are working from dark to light, roll the bottom-third of your wall with the darkest shade, the top-third of the wall with your lightest shade and the centre with your custom-mixed colour.

6. Blend the boundaries between each colour immediately with a large paintbrush – don’t wait for the paint to dry. A handy tip is to leave a couple of inches between each colour, so when blended the transition effect is gradual.

Get the look with FEATHR:

Misty Beach in Fog by Reeta Ek.


Paint effect: Graining

How to do it:

1. First of all, you’ll need a graining tool, which is specially designed for creating a wood-grain finish.

2. Paint your wall in your base coat and leave to dry. Then paint in a glaze.

3. Whilst the glaze is still wet, drag your tool gently down or across the surface. Rock the graining tool as you go in random places, so that the effect resembles the natural course of wood grain.


Paint effect: Stenciling

Image: View along the way

How to do it:

1. Stencils are widely available in more modern designs, so you don’t need to worry about your room looking like a blast from the 90s. Alternatively, make your own from acetate or cardboard.

2. Select your base colour and accent colour, and paint the wall in your base colour and leave to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary.

3. Attach your stencil to the wall in position with painter’s tape.

4. Dab lightly into the stencil with a small stippling brush using a dry brush technique. Dip the bristles in the paint and remove excess paint before applying. Don’t be tempted to paint over the gaps in the stencil rather than dabbing, as this can cause paint to seep under the stencil. You can also use stencil crayons or aerosol paints if preferred.

5. When you’ve finished with your first stencil, to repeat it, simply repeat the process above. To ensure stencils stay straight, you could line them up with a spirit level on the wall. Mark registration points inside the gaps in the stencil, by marking lightly with a pencil inside the corners of the main cut-out section of the stencil.

6. Be sure to paint the stencil design to the edges of wall to create a seamless paint effect wallpaper look.


Paint effect: Sponging

How to do it:

1. Over your base coat, apply a translucent colour-wash glaze. Using a vinyl silk or satin latex paint for the base coat will make the sponging on top more effective. Leave to dry.

2. Pour a little glaze into a roller tray. Press a damp sponge into the glaze and lift it off, to leaving a mottled impression. Move the sponge across the surface, pressing and removing the sponge in a random pattern. Remove excess glaze from the sponge by wringing it out from time to time.

3. Build up the effect slowly over several layers, rather than trying to apply a dense effect straightaway. You can achieve a bolder or more subtle effect depending on your colour choice of paint.


Paint effect: Distressing

Image: Whimsy home

How to do it:

1. Choose your paint colours: a topcoat and a base colour that complement each other, as the base colour will show through.

2. Paint your wall in the neutral base coat colour with a paint roller. Apply a second coat if necessary, using brushes for the edges of the wall and an angled bristle brush for the corners.

3. Dip a small brush into topcoat paint colour, about halfway up the bristles. Wipe off all the excess paint, so that the paint brush is almost dry. Then, create your antique faux finish by applying light up-and-down strokes to the wall. You might want to do a practice piece first! Let dry, and repeat the technique in a left-to-right motion for a more weathered look if you fancy.

Get the look with FEATHR:

Oh La La in Sand by Kiki Slaughter.


Paint effect: Rag rolling

How to do it:

1. Paint your wall in your chosen base coat and leave to dry.

2. Dip an old rag cloth in water and wring it out. Then, dip the cloth in a tinted, faux-finish glaze and wring it out again.

3. Twist the cloth into a long, uneven tube shape. Roll the cloth along the wall. Dip it in the glaze again and turn it in different directions as you roll it along the wall. Don’t forget to push the colour into the corners of the wall so that they blend in nicely. The technique also works with milk paint instead of glaze, for an aged look.


If after reading this you’ve come to the conclusion you’d rather leave the artistic stuff to the professionals, shop our range of designer wallpaper here.

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