Guide to Building

back to home...


Welcome to the Home Warehouse,


Using the menu below, you will find an in-depth list of service providers and products within your area. These trusted Companies are the best in their areas of expertise and offers quality workmanship.



Below we will cover Plastering Techniques and Painting Techniques


The different techniques and effects we will discuss will be: Venetian plastering, liming, marbling, ragging and stippling, sponging, spattering, woodgraining, ageing and distressing and terracotta.


Introduction to Faux Painting


The art deco styles of the 1920s and 1930s demonstrates an early interest in decorative painting techniques in the 20th century. Post World War II witnessed the greatest decline of interest in decorative painting, largely due to the growing popularity of innovative styles like Picasso and Matisse's great works. In the past two decades, decorative painting has exploded in popularity. A renewed interest in traditional painting techniques and classical decor, as well as the development of outstanding alkyds, acrylics and implements, are the primary reasons for this rebirth of decorative painting.


All one needs to do today to find evidence of the popularity of decorative painting is to look around at their environments. Whether it is a home, a work environment, a restaurant or any other environment, decorative painting is evidenced everywhere. Many of these techniques are created to mimic natural fabrics and materials, such that the faux decorative painting techniques are often unobservable to the untrained eye. Stencilling, marbling and glazing are some of the most popular faux techniques used today.


Another primary reason why faux painting techniques are so popular today is due to the increased interest of people in creating their own environments. Home decorating, for example, is no longer the domain of professionals. People today are increasingly interested in 'do-it-yourself' projects, and decorative painting offers incredible ease and variety of options for anyone willing to learn.


The materials used in decorative painting, as well as the implements, are another reason why people today find decorative painting so accessible. Generally speaking, the materials required to produce astounding effects are very inexpensive, and many can even be found around the home. With the proper technique, a sponge, a rag or a feather can be all that is required to produce a fabulous effect, whether on walls, cupboards or furniture.


Decorative painting is accessible to all who are interested. Today, this art form continues to rise in popularity and there is no refrain in site. The long history of decorative painting from the earliest times to today is evidence of the amazing potential and possibilities offered by this unique art form.



Get a Quote


Decor Ideas

3D Designs


Advice Centre









House Designs

Solar Energy







Forums & Blogs

Image Gallery




Venetian Plastering

Venetian plastering is rapidly becoming one of the most popular finishes. Historically, decorative plaster finishes can be divided into two main categories. The first, known as fresco (from the Italian for fresh), involves mixing pigments with water and applying them to a plaster surface that is still wet. The second, known as fresco secco (from the Italian for dry), involves decorating the plaster with pigments mixed with water after it has dried.

Examples of the first category - "pure" fresco - are quite rare, due to the fact that many pigments undergo inevitable chemical changes when applied to wet plaster. The result is that the painter or artist finds it difficult or impossible to guarantee the colour of his or her work. Consequently, many frescoes are in fact created using a combination of the wet and dry methods; the "stable" pigments being applied first to the wet plaster, and the "unstable" pigments, having been mixed with a binding or fixing agent, applied after the plaster has dried.

Painting directly onto plaster, whether wet or dry, has a long history and was used extensively throughout the Medieval period. Walls were often covered in tempera or plaster, then washed with colour using a mixture of pigment, powdered chalk or whiting and water. A grid of simple red lines intended to represent masonry blocks was sometimes added and heraldic devices and designs copied from illuminated manuscripts were also used to decorate the plaster. 


Venetian Plastering: sealer, off white and terracotta latex based paints.


Start by preparing the bare surface by cleaning it well, making sure no oils or waxes are present. With your surface clean and dust free, apply your joint compound in a thin, random manner.  Remember - you are trying to create texture, so be creative.


Once the plaster has dried for 24 hours, apply 2 coats of latex sealer. After the sealer has dried, apply the base colour of off white latex. Allow to dry for a few hours. Then, on top of this base coat, apply your chosen colour. In our case, we are using a terracotta latex.



While the main colour is still wet, take a large dry brush and rub the paint into the surface. Repeat if the effect is patchy.


Taking the standard colour a step further, apply a light coat of watered down off white latex, then, as illustrated in the image below, use another dry brush and rub this colour into the surface. Again, be sure to wipe your dry brush in between strokes.



To summarize:  


Venetian plastering is one of our favourite finishes to complete, as it offers so many positive properties to a finished room. To start with, Venetian plaster can offer great hiding properties, making it a great finish for older homes with wall defects. Venetian plaster offers a depth that simply can not be duplicated with a painted effect. It's relatively easy to complete this finish. All one requires is some joint compound, latex paint and a suitable room to apply it in.

Venetian plaster will offer a rich, luxurious finish that will last for years and years. 







Historically, wood was limed to protect it; but the liming technique has exploded in popularity as a way of simply enhancing the characteristics present in wood. This technique is particularly suited to open grain woods, such as oak, and also works well on molded or carved surfaces where it can highlight the carpenter's craft. Providing the object that is to be limed is stable and solid in structure, the technique usually is very effective. Begin by cleaning the surface area thoroughly, taking time to ensure that all wax or finishes are removed. You can accomplish this in a variety of ways; however, using steel wool and thinner is one of the fastest and easiest.

There are a number of different materials that can be used to create a limed effect. White emulsion thinned with water, thinned oil based undercoat or thinned eggshell primers are all highly effective. Alternatively, you can use a proprietary liming wax.  

In our example images, we have 70% oil based undercoat thinned with turpentine.


1 and 2 Color Liming Effect: White and Green-tinted white oil based paint thinned with turpentine.


Apply the liming mixture of your choice with a brush. Work the mixture into the grain and into any nooks and crannies. This is an example of liming an object in a different color. A small amount of green was added to the liming mixture to achieve this effect.



Leave the mixture on the surface for a few minutes and then wipe off the excess to create the desired look.

The main door in this image has been treated with a simple white liming mixture, while the other small door has been painted with the tinted liming mixture. Any color can be used to create this type of effect.




Liming is a paint on - wipe off effect that is intended for use on wood surfaces. It is an ideal finish for furniture such as night tables, dressers and, of course, wood panels. When white paint is used as the primary color, the final effect looks like a pickled type finish. This is particularly apparent when the surface is pink oak.

This is an easy to create and durable finish that tends to take on more character as the finish ages and the patina develops.







Marbles are metamorphic rocks composed of fine-grained, dense, crystallized calcium carbonate (usually limestone) that can be honed to a high polish. It it's purest state, marble is white; however, it is often colored with a number of minerals and other organic materials. These substances, in combination with metamorphosis - the intense heat and pressure that cause layers of rock to fragment and shift - produce the patterns and color combinations characteristic of each type of marble.


Marble is a favorite faux finish, largely due to it's spectacular appearance, coupled with the cost and inconvenience associated with real marble. Marble is very heavy, it damages easily, it is expensive to ship and is difficult to work with. From excavation, to cutting and polishing, to shipping - every step of the process is costly, inconvenient and time consuming. For these reasons, faux marble is a highly sought after finish. A professionally completed faux marble can look just like the real thing. This is particularly true for the untrained eye. Many people don't realize that the interior of the Marie Antoinette Opera House in the Palace of Versailles was marbled due to cost overruns.

In many older structures where genuine marble is present yet in need of repair, the only option is to mimic the marble effect through paint. Marbles are generally very difficult to match. Painting marble also enables the artist to enhance nature's product, allowing for the addition of stunning features. Indeed, many faux marbles are created for the sole purpose of decorative effect, regardless of whether there exists a similar example in nature.


Marble is timeless and is popular in both contemporary and traditional decors. It is more often used in traditional decors that are designed around a solid, timeless theme. Usually, faux marbles are reserved for those items that could, indeed, be real marble and is rarely used to create a marble effect on items that would not be marble otherwise.


Paints and Glazes used:

First color: 3 parts raw umber, 3 parts black, 2 parts veridian. Medium: 3 parts transparent oil glaze, 2 parts mineral spirits (white spirit). Ratios in glaze: 1 part pigments, 30 parts medium.

Second color: As glaze above, but add 1/4 part raw sienna artist's oil.

Third color: As glaze above, but add 1/4 part more veridian and add 1/4 part more black artist's oils.

Fourth color: Artist's oils: 2 parts raw umber, 2 parts black, 1 part veridian. Medium: 2 parts transparent oil glaze, 1 part mineral spirits (white spirit). Ratios in glaze: 1 parts pigments, 7 parts medium.


Start by preparing the bare surface by cleaning it well, making sure that no oils or waxes are present. Ensure a clean, dust free surface prior to applying primer. After the primer has dried, apply 2 coats of egg shell white, allowing 4 hours in between each coat.  Then stipple the first color to form the primary veining. Note that the areas left uncovered will be where the secondary veining will be.


While the glaze mixture is still wet, use the tip of 1/2 artist's brush to push the glaze into irregular shaped links of the primary veining.



Using the same technique as above, but this time use a slightly smaller brush and a lighter touch, creating your secondary veining.

Dipping a 1 inch artist's brush alternatively into the second and third colors, stipple on translucent patches of broken color around the primary veining.



Gently soften the entire piece by stippling the glazes with a large soft bristled brush.  This will eliminate any obvious brush marks.

Gently flick the bristles of a badger brush over the wet glazes to soften and blend the primary and secondary veining. Allow the piece to dry overnight.



After wiping on a coat of clear oil glaze with a clean rag, use a small artist's brush with a flat tip and with the fourth color, create the irregular shaped mineral veins following the primary veining.

Again, use the soft bristle brush and the badger brush and soften the glaze while it is still wet. Then allow the piece to dry for 24 hours. The final procedure is to coat the entire surface with at least 2 coats of satin urethane and allow to dry. Follow this up with a coat of wax and a good polishing.




Marbling, when completed effectively, is a faux finish that offers an alternative solution to costly, genuine marble. Creating faux marble that looks real takes practice and effort to achieve.  

This finish is certainly not a faux finish for the amateur. We highly recommend that you do not attempt this finish unless you have at least 5 or 6 faux projects under your belt, and even then, this finish will take some practice to master. The trickiest part of this finish is creating the veining with your feather and then getting it all to blend in and soften naturally and effectively.

We suggest that you take a wall that you can repaint and practice this effect a couple of times, at minimum, before committing to the actual surface and your final finish. You can do it. It's just going to take a little practice.






Ragging & Stippling

Ragging and Stippling are finishes that are similar in technique, in that a paint/glaze is applied and then manipulated with either a brush, rag or newspaper.


Both finishes should be applied only to a well cleaned and prepared surface. A surface painted with two coats of latex primer is ideal. One can use a water based glaze, but for a more professional finish, try an oil based mixture of at least 50% scumble glaze. This glaze can be purchased at any local home improvement store.

Stippling is a more technical finish and is best completed in one layer, while ragging can be built up in layers. Working with layers, leave the first layer to dry completely before applying the next. Experiment with rags, newspapers or plastic bags before you decide on a technique. 

Proper stippling brushes are essential for this technique; however, these can be expensive.  A large, light wallpaper or dusting brush achieves the same general effect. Rotate your hand when off the surface to avoid creating a pattern.

Below are some images and more specific instructions to give you a better idea of how to create these finishes.




Apply the glaze evenly using a small brush. Work the glaze, drawing a basket weave effect using light brush strokes to achieve an even coverage.

Crumple a rag or a cloth so that it is easy to grip. Dab the glaze with the rag, turning your hand as you work. This will avoid a regular pattern being created as you work.





When stippling, apply the glaze evenly, then use a dry stippling brush or wallpaper brush to stipple the area. If you are putting glaze back on to the surface, the brush is too wet.

Stippling is a delicate effect which lends itself to string colors. Tint the glaze with artist's oils rather than eggshell, which thickens the glaze, in order to give the glaze more movement by using 60% scumble to 40% turpentine.



To summarize:  

With ragging and stippling, you can use either a latex paint cut with a latex based glaze, or you can use a oil based glazed tinted with the desired color you want to achieve.  

For ragging effects, apply a base color followed by the final color/coat. Then, with your choice of a rag, newspaper or plastic bag, dab over the entire surface, playing with the effect until you reach the desired look.

For stippling, apply your base coat, let it dry and then apply a final coat in sections, from the top to the bottom of the wall. Create the desired stipple effect with your choice of brush, again playing with the technique until you get the finish you desire.  

Both ragging and stippling are easy faux finishes to master. Have fun with them and do not worry about making mistakes or completing these effects incorrectly. There is no "wrong" way to complete the finish.









Sponging is undoubtedly the quickest, easiest and most versatile of all the faux painting techniques. Sponging can be applied to almost any surface, even particle board, and mistakes can be easily rectified.


First off, you will need a sponge that is large enough to sit comfortably in your hand. It is recommend you use a natural sponge for this technique, although you can modify a decorating sponge by tearing pieces from it so that it makes suitable marks. Natural, sea sponges are inexpensive and easily available. They are highly recommended.

If you are sponging walls, use a latex based paint and thin it slightly with water. If you are working on wood, use a slightly thinned, oil based eggshell that will be more durable. This technique can also be used on smaller objects, such as furniture and pottery.

Once your surface has been prepared, begin by pouring some of your paint into a paint tray and dab your dampened sponge into the paint, dabbing off any excess paint prior to application.



Dab the sponge on to the wall, working with constant pressure but varying the angle to avoid making clear patterns. Work as close to the corners as possible.

Leave the first color to dry. Ensure that the sponge is clean, then apply the second color or another shade of the same color.



Once the second color has dried, you could add another color, or a lighter shade of the original. Remember that the final color will be the dominant color.

This interesting sponged effect was built up in layers using four different colors taken from the colors present in the shower curtain.



To summarize:  

This technique is very easy to master and lends itself to a variety of decors. For a softer effect, use crumpled paper as well as the sea sponge. To apply paint in corners where the sponge will not reach, use an artist's brush to apply dots simulating the sponge pattern. After dipping the sponge into the paint, always off load your sponge onto a paper plate or towel to remove excess paint. You don't want pronounced paint blobs on the wall. You should be able to make between five and 10 prints with each load of paint. Keep in mind that the harder you press, the darker the print and the lighter you press, the more delicate the print. You shouldn't be able to count the number of times the sponge hit the surface, nor see heavy prints from using too much paint.

You can even work in six colors on one wall. The main idea is to have fun and enjoy creating a sense of drama! 






Spattering is a very simple and straightforward technique, but the results can be fantastic. If completed correctly, for example, spattering with a variety of gray, black and white paints, it can add depth to any painted object. By adding a brown over the surface, the overall effect can even be made to look like granite.

Although this effect can be created on walls, it is very messy to execute. As a result, it is more often completed on smaller objects, like furniture and other household items.

Try experimenting with different color combinations on a small area prior to working with the desired surface. This will allow you to test out various colors and effects. Remember that the final size of the spattering dots depends on how close the brush is to the surface and how much paint is on the brush.

To take the spatter effects to a higher level, consider using a spray gun. This is usually considered the easiest way to achieve highly effective spatter or splash effects. It enables far greater precision and control than does a brush. Use very low air pressure to avoid atomization. Rapid manipulation of the spray gun renders series' of irregular lines. Varying pressure on the trigger of the gun will create small globes or spots of paint.

Most types of spray guns can be used in the creation of a spattered effect. The variety of effects that can be created is literally unlimited. For line effects, thick viscous colors of the consistency of treacle should be employed, thick enamels or bronze powders in thick cellulose solutions being particularly effective. The control is remarkably flexible and lines thinner than the finest hair can be obtained with ease.

By using thick stucco paste, attractive raised effects can be produced.

In our project, we started with an eggshell latex primer, applied two coats, then allowed the primer to dry overnight. With the undercoat completely dry, we used 5 different primary colors. You can use whatever colors you want. Often, colors chosen from furniture and fabrics in close proximity to the surface are a good place to start.

5 Color Spattering Effect:
Light gray, medium gray, white, black


Dip your brush in the first color, in this case black, then hit the stick, aiming at the area you want to cover with spatters.

Wash the brush before moving to the second color, then repeat the process using the second color, in this case gray.



Repeat the process again using the third color, in this case, white. There is no need to wait until the paint is dry before moving to the next color.

Spattering can create a range of effects. The door on the left has been given a metallic paint finish, enhanced using the spattering effect.



To summarize:  

Spattering is an easy finish to create and demands no prior experience. Spattering can even create interesting marble-like finishes. One needs to be careful not to overdo the effect with too much paint. Use small amounts of paint covering only the first inch of bristles of your brush. Tap the brush with varying degrees of strength to release the paint droplets in various sizes. This is a finish that is suited well to furniture and other household items, such as lampshades, bookcases and others. Always find a surface on which to experiment before moving to the final surface.





Wood Graining


Woods can be divided into two primary categories: hard woods and soft woods. Most soft woods are fast growing and are relatively inexpensive. Soft woods, however, tend to be close grained and, as a result, most are bland and have few unique wood characteristics.

Hard woods, however, can be cut to reveal intricate and decorative grain patterns. As a result of their attractive characteristics, the demand for hard woods over the last 150 years has greatly reduced the supply of species like mahogany, walnut, oak, chestnut, birds eye maple, rosewood and many others.

The industry response to the lack of these hard woods was to create veneers, particularly for wood used in the furniture manufacturing sector. However, this was short lived, as eventually the high quality veneers became scarce as well, resulting in skyrocketing prices and rendering them impractical for larger projects.  

These shortages for both solid hard woods as well as high quality veneers is what led the industry to simulate the grains of woods with paint and pigments, just as they had turned to simulating marble in the face of it's shortage and expense.

Over the last couple of centuries, artists have mastered the recreation of the grains of many woods with paint. The result is a heightened demand for faux wood grain painting.

We have several wood graining examples based on the type of wood we are simulating. While there are many other types of faux painted wood graining, these are the most sought after designs by designers and decorators today.


Mahogany Graining

Suitable for all types of wood surfaces, the mahogany graining technique on this site employs water based glazes. These produce a crisper, more authentic looking finish than an oil based glaze, but dry much faster. This means that you must learn to work quickly to complete each stage completely before your glaze dries. For this reason, we recommend that you become comfortable with the finishing process using a suitable practice area before beginning to work on the final surface area.

After priming with 1-2 coats, and using whatever brush or roller you prefer, apply 2 coats of rusty brown eggshell base color. Allow a good 24 hours to dry completely.

Wipe a thin coat of whiting over the surface with a clean damp rag.



Mix up your mid brown glaze and use a 2 inch brush to apply it to the trim and center panel. Then drag a small mottler through the glaze on the panel in slightly overlapping sweeps.

To create the heart shaped grain patterns, drag the mottler through the wet glaze in a series of overlapping elongated arcs. Start at the bottom and work up. Each line should be created in one motion.



Soften the effect with a soft bristle brush. Start at the center and lightly work upwards with outward sweeps. Wipe any build up off the brush with a clean rag.

Apply some additional tinted glaze with a 1 inch artist's brush, working in long sweeping motions from corner to corner.  Work with only one section of the molding at a time. Start with the horizontal, then the vertical.



After applying more glaze to the top and bottom of the door, again use long sweeping motions, from one end to the other. After applying the glaze mixture with your mottler, soften it again with the soft bristle brush.

Repeat the previous directions on the verticals, and while this glaze is wet, drag the mottler on angles to create the bands of graining.



Allow the glaze to dry for 4 hours, then apply one coat of clear gloss urethane.  Let this top coat dry for 24 hours.

After applying another coat of whiting, brush your darker glaze with your standard brush. Then, use the mottler vertically as you did in the first coat.



Using your soft and long bristle brush, and using an up and then down tapping wrist action, remove some of the glaze. Keep cleaning the bristles with a clean rag. Then repeat these steps on the vertical and horizontal sections, tapping in the same direction of the grain.

Allow to dry for 4 hours and apply a coat of satin or gloss urethane and voila - you have gorgeous mahogany cabinetry.



To summarize:  

Mahogany graining is an excellent finish for cabinetry, MDF wall paneling and many pieces of furniture. Becoming comfortable with creating the graining can take some practice, but is well worth the effort. With this effect, you can have authentic looking mahogany woodwork throughout your home for a fraction of the cost of real mahogany.

Practice on a suitable area with sample colors until you have the method and colors the way you want. 





Ageing and Distressing (crackle finishes)


Painted furniture and joinery almost always show signs of ageing. This is a naturally occurring process resulting from exposure to light, dampness, dust, dirt and general wear and tear over the life of the object. The paint on these objects will fade, darken, flake or craze and can be chipped or scuffed. It's condition largely depends on the conditions under which it is kept and maintained. The fact that the paint work on an 18th or 19th century provincial chest of drawers or chair may be damaged does not automatically render it undesirable. In fact, the aged effect is often aesthetically pleasing and often adds to the value of the piece. It is not surprising that painters and decorators have shown great interest in this look and have devised various ingenious techniques for artificially ageing new paint work.

One of the simpler methods for ageing paint is to apply an oil based antiquing glaze suspended in a clear medium of transparent oil glaze and mineral spirits. The glaze darkens the surface of the paint, simulating the dirt and grime that naturally becomes embedded in the surface over years. To increase the authenticity of the effect, greater concentrations of glaze are applied to the recesses of moldings. Conversely, raised sections of moldings are wiped down with a rag to leave the barest trace of glaze on the paint. Additional signs of ageing can, of course, be created by spattering small flecks of glaze at random over the surface in order to simulate the presence of insect infestation. 

Another simple but effective technique for ageing paintwork is to rub it down with sandpaper or steel wool. Gently done, this will lighten the color and simulate the effects of exposure to light. For a more authentic looking finish, some thought should be given to composition - areas exposed to direct sunlight will have faded more than those in the shade. Heavy rubbing back with a coarse grade paper or wool may expose underlying coats of contrasting color.

Aging:  Dark green base coat - wall paper paste - off white latex

Sand the surface and apply a water based color over the entire surface area. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Once dry, apply a thick coat of wallpaper paste and gum Arabic and leave it to dry.

Apply a coat of off white latex or other desired light color over the paste mixture.



Once this coat has been applied, dry the whole area with a hair dryer on maximum heat. Cracking should appear quite quickly.

Mix a small quantity of raw sienna and raw umber acrylic paint with a little water and paint over the surface, making sure to get it into the cracks.




Using a clean dry brush, brush in more aging color and, if desired, rub other areas smooth with fine sandpaper or steel wool to reveal the darker color underneath.

Mix a little raw umber with water and use an old tooth brush to splatter the whole area at random. Do so lightly.



To summarize:  

This elegant effect simulates the fine crackling seen in the varnish of old paintings or on old base coats. The look is often a result of age and of stress caused by humidity, unstable substrates or incompatible mediums. There are many ways to obtain the crackling, but the basic rule is that you are putting a fast drying paint or varnish over slow drying paint or varnish that has not yet cured. In this case, the crackle effect occurs because the gum Arabic or shellac dries and cures very quickly, but the oil dries more slowly; hence the upper layer is stretched and will crack as the lower layer continues to dry. Ready made crackling products are sold at art supply and home decorating stores. Different products will produce different types and degrees of crackling, as will the thickness of application and the temperature. Experiment to find the effect you want. 

Tip:  Try a section of the surface you want to complete with a sample of all the layers, exactly as you would apply them over the entire wall. This provides the opportunity to make changes to your colors before committing to the entire room or wall.







The terracotta finish is very easy to create and can even be painted onto walls if done carefully. The terracotta look works particularly well on small objects, such as the plastic urn which has been treated here.

When working with this technique, it is best to use either water based emulsions or acrylic paint colors. You will also need some sand, which you can pick up at your local home handyman store, and a rough, natural sea sponge.

Detailed or moulded items also look particularly attractive when finished with a terracotta effect, especially if they are going to be used in a conservatory or garden room. Protect the finish with a coat of oil-based varnish.


Terracotta:  Off White Base Coat - Earthy Dark Brown Latex - Earthy Light Brown Latex

After base coating your object, in our case a Wal-Mart plastic planter, coat with the lighter color.

While the paint is still tacky, lightly toss fine sand in random locations at the surface. Let it dry for 4 hours.



Sponge patches of the darker color over the sand, leaving some of the paler color showing through.

Using an orange latex, randomly sponge on. Then, leave it to dry for another 4 hours.



Use the off white latex in a separate container, cut with roughly 60% water to thin it out. Apply the mixture randomly over the planter.

Gently pat off excess paint with a clean dry rag, leaving enough paint to create a dusty look.



To summarize:  

The terracotta finish is definitely one of the easier faux finishes that one can complete. Using only a few colors and basic materials, one can create a beautiful rustic, earthy finish.

This finish is suitable for a variety of surfaces, from walls to planters. Enjoy!






Advertise  -  Contact Us

The Home Warehouse 2007. All rights reserved.