How to Colour Wash a Wall: A Step-by-Step Guide

Colour washing is a popular painting technique that can add texture and depth to any wall. It involves applying a glaze over a base coat of paint to create a subtle, washed-out effect. If you’re looking to give your walls a new look, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to colour wash a wall:

Step 1: Prepare the Wall

The first step in any painting project is to prepare the wall. Start by cleaning the surface with soap and water to remove any dirt or grease. If the wall has any cracks or holes, fill them with spackle and let it dry. Sand the surface lightly to create a smooth base for the paint.

Step 2: Choose the Base Coat

The base coat is the first layer of paint that you’ll apply to the wall. It should be a solid color that contrasts with the glaze you’ll use later. Choose a paint that’s specifically designed for walls and has a flat or matte finish. Apply the base coat evenly using a roller or brush, and let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Mix the Glaze

The glaze is what gives the wall its washed-out look. It’s made by mixing paint with a glazing medium, which is a clear liquid that extends the drying time and allows the paint to be spread more smoothly. The ratio of paint to glazing medium will depend on the intensity of the color you want to achieve. A good starting point is one part paint to four parts glazing medium.

Step 4: Apply the Glaze

Once you’ve mixed the glaze, it’s time to apply it to the wall. Use a roller or brush to spread the glaze evenly over the base coat. Work in small sections, starting at the top of the wall and working your way down. Use a dry brush or rag to remove any excess glaze and create a more subtle effect.

Step 5: Blend the Glaze

As you work your way down the wall, blend the glaze as you go. This will help create a more natural, washed-out look. Use a dry brush or rag to feather the glaze and create a soft, gradual transition between the base coat and the glaze.

Step 6: Let the Wall Dry

Once you’ve applied the glaze, let the wall dry completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, depending on the humidity and temperature in the room. Avoid touching the wall or applying any additional coats until the glaze is completely dry.

Step 7: Apply a Second Coat (Optional)

If you want a more intense color or a stronger washed-out effect, you can apply a second coat of glaze. Follow the same steps as before, working in small sections and blending the glaze as you go. Let the wall dry completely before moving on to the final step.

Step 8: Seal the Wall (Optional)

If you want to protect the wall and make it easier to clean, you can apply a clear sealer over the glaze. Choose a sealer that’s specifically designed for walls and has a matte or satin finish. Apply the sealer evenly using a roller or brush, and let it dry completely before touching the wall.

Common Questions About How to Colour Wash a Wall

1. What Colors Work Best for Colour Washing?

Any color can be used for colour washing, but lighter and more muted tones tend to work best. Pastels, neutrals, and earthy tones are all popular choices. Avoid using bright or bold colors, as they can be overwhelming when applied in a washed-out style.

2. Can You Colour Wash Over Wallpaper?

It’s possible to colour wash over wallpaper, but it’s not recommended. The texture of the wallpaper can interfere with the glaze and create an uneven finish. It’s best to remove the wallpaper and prepare the wall properly before colour washing.

3. How Long Does Colour Washing Take?

The time it takes to colour wash a wall will depend on the size of the room, the number of coats you apply, and the drying time of the paint and glaze. Generally, you can expect the project to take a few hours to a full day.

4. Can You Colour Wash Outside?

Colour washing can be done outside, but it’s important to use a paint that’s specifically designed for exterior use. The glaze should also be formulated for outdoor use, as it will need to withstand exposure to the elements.

5. Can You Use Different Colors for the Base Coat and Glaze?

Yes, you can use different colors for the base coat and glaze to create a more complex or dramatic effect. Just make sure the two colors complement each other and don’t clash.

Related VideoHow to Colour Wash a Wall: A Step-by-Step Guide