Faux seems like a dirty word to some people. Whether it's because they have seen horrendous examples of faux finishes or because they think it is too difficult, they just aren't interested in attempting it. They have a "don't try this at home" attitude when they see faux techniques on television or read about them online or in magazines.
The truth is faux painting is an art and it can add beauty and interest to your decor. It isn't always easy and it does take some time and effort, but the results are so worth it. It is also a good way to save money if you can use your existing background color, since faux finishes require less paint that completely covering walls with paint.
Faux paint finish tips
The first tip for faux painting is to practice. You can use a scrap of wood or even heavy cardboard painted in your background color to try out the technique you want to use. Practice several times, using different methods, before going to the wall or other surface.
Taping any area that you don't want painted is extremely important with faux techniques, especially those such as sponging or rag rolling. You will need to get into corners and crevices with your sponge or other tool to make sure the effect is evenly dispersed throughout the room. Even though taping does add time to a project, if you don't do it you will spend more time wiping away excess paint thanm it would have taken you to prep properly.
The next tip is to go subtle when engaging in your first faux project. Choose colors in similar shades that don't create strong contrast. One of the biggest problems with faux painting is using too many colors or colors that are just too strong. A subtle effect is far more attractive. The colors should be blended, rather than standing out in stark contrast. In other words, you want people to walk in say, "Wow," as opposed to, "Oh, I see you tried faux painting."
With a little bit of practice, you can get a faux painting technique down pat or you can even adapt it to create your own technique. You can read about it and watch it being done, but until you try it yourself, you won't really get the feel for it. With most faux techniques, there is no such thing as a mistake, since you can continue blending until you get a look you like.
Add interest to your techniques by trying different tools. You don't have to stick to sponges, rags and rollers. You can use wadded up paper, plastic bags, textured fabrics and lots of other materials to create interesting looks. Keep practicing and keep experimenting with different items and colors. Soon, you'll be able to create faux finishes like a pro.
For surfaces besides walls, don't discount paints that provide different finishes, such as chrome and other metallic options or stone finishes. Shake well, apply evenly and add several coats of polyurethane or another clear protective finish. You can also use different materials in different ways, such as applying flooring materials to counters and walls. Tiles work well on counters, and if you aren't up for renting a saw and cutting down natural stone tile, you might want to try some of the quality peel and stick tiles with stone-look finishes. They are actually quite nice and they cost less and are far less labor intensive than stone.
Color washing is a type of faux painting that gives walls texture and depth using several different colors. The look is often compared to stucco and is perfect for either normal walls or walls that have slight damage.
A crackle finish is perfect for transforming a tired old piece of furniture into a classic shabby chic piece that looks like an heirloom. Even better, a crackle finish is one of the easier faux paint finishes for beginners.
Ragging is a type of faux painting technique that is used for walls and on wooden furniture. This process creates a texture from a few different colors of paint, and the applicator is a paint-dipped rag.