The beautiful home of Roberta Rose (featured here) has one very important quality that pulls it all together.
The walls serve as a subtle yet gorgeous backdrop, injecting a softness, an elegance, a touch of something
rustic all at once! The technique she has used is called glazing with a ragged finish.
Decorators often bring in experts to achieve this look, however, you can do it yourself for about $100 for an average sized room, or much less if you've recently painted and the walls are clean.
Keep in mind that there are two main points for successful glazing: knowing how to apply the glaze and what colors to combine for beautiful results. I'd say go for something on the subtle side and you can't go wrong. And if you aren't happy with the results, don't worry, glazing has no texture and can easily be painted over.
Wall glazing employs two coats and is reasonably done over a period of two days. The first day a coat of base paint is applied. On the second day at least one coat of colored glaze goes on. Professionals apply a coat of glaze and then remove portions of the glaze with scrunched rags and cheesecloth to create a harmony between the base coat and the glaze. Roberta on the other hand simply applies the glaze in one step with a rag! I've provided you with instructions provided by professionals, and Roberta's short-cut method. You choose which way to go!
Before tackling an entire room, I would recommend trying this technique out on a small area, like an accent wall, or in a small powder room. It's worth the extra effort to do the big spaces after you already have some experience.
- two step ladders if working with a partner
- drop cloths to protect floors
- low adhesive masking tape for masking off wood work etc.
- low-nap roller and pole (if needed) for applying latex paint
- roller for applying oil based glaze —"weenie roller"
- clean cotton rags
- cheese-cloth squares
- alkyd brush
- 2 inch putty knife
- base coat: eggshell or satin finish latex paint
- glaze coat: paint or pigment
- glaze coat: oil base liquid glaze medium (available at any major paint store)
- paint thinner
- 2 gallon paint bucket with screen for mixing glaze
Professional How To: This process is best done using two sets of hands, so grab a friend and have fun!
- Cover floors, mask woodwork if necessary, and apply a base coat of latex paint. Allow paint to dry overnight.
- Mix the oil-base paint, glaze medium, and paint thinner according to manufacturer's instructions on the glaze can.
- Working one small wall at a time, apply the glaze using the "weenie" roller. But first run roller across screen in bucket to remove excess. Using an alkyd brush, the second person should try to cover any areas not reached by the roller: working glaze into corners and along any trim, and lightly daubing brush over any uncovered areas.
- Glaze is partially removed with a rag balled up in your hand immediately after application. Though don't panic, you have about 30 minutes of working time. (Glaze is fully dried in about four hours). One person presses a balled cotton rag into the wet glaze to create a rough, ragged look, remembering to rotate the rag to avoid patterns. The other follows behind with the cheesecloth blotting gently to soften edges.
- If you are working on a large wall, apply glaze in sections, and don't rag the entire glazed area. Leave a 12 inch vertical strip of glaze at the edge so that you'll be able to blend this section in with the next section after the glaze has been applied to it.
- When glaze has completely dried you can opt to add another coat of glaze with a different color, apply another layer of the same color for more intensity.
- When you are satisfied with the results let glaze dry completely before attempting to remove any masking tape. Important: Score the edge of the tape with a putty knife to break areas of overlapping glaze or you may end up removing some parts of the glaze with the tape!
- Any glaze that has leaked beneath tape can be removed with a rag dampened with paint thinner.
Roberta does her walls in a much simpler fashion, which I must say appeals to me! If you want your walls to look like aged stucco, use the professional how-to above, if you'd like a more painterly casual look try this way. An imporant point to consider is that Roberta uses latex paint for the whole job, which makes for much fewer fumes and easier clean-up!
Here is what Roberta does, in her words:
"The base layer of all of my walls is a white latex paint with an eggshell finish. I then mix some colored latex paint with a glaze. (The glaze can be purchased in the paint department of most hardware stores). I then take a rag or a sponge and dip it into the colored paint. I just wipe the paint onto the walls. It's almost like washing the walls, but with a color rather than a soapy rag. Sometimes I'll use a few different colors on the same wall and I just let them merge together."
Which ever method you choose, have fun transforming your home into something that will give you joy!
If you are renting or afraid to commit to something like this, try it out on some huge primed painter's canvases (either stretched on a frame or unstretched) and hang those on the wall, it could be stunning!