The California Paints Blog

How To Use DIY Paint Techniques

Posted on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 @ 04:22 PM

With Pinterest's rapid expansion, DIY projects are more popular than ever! Especially prominent are those involving paint, and as you well know paint is our specialty.  From distressing to rag rolling, faux bois to sponging, we have all the inside scoops and tricks to make your next DIY interior paint project a success. 

Rag Rolling

How To Make Glaze

To start, most of these techniques require a glaze to complete the project. Making and using a glaze is simple.  All you need is a top interior latex paint (color of your choice), water, and latex glazing liquid. 


  • One part paint
  • One part water
  • Four parts latex glazing liquid  

Once the glaze is mixed you may notice it's a little thin.  That's exactly what you want. If you prefer it thicker or thinner you can adjust the ingredients accordingly. Just remember that the more glazing liquid you include the thinner it will be and the more time you will have to manipulate the paint!

Rag Rolling 

To get the "faux leather" finish, paint a base coat of a solid color.  Remember the 3x3 technique we learned to paint a room with? Well once your base coat dries, its time to apply the 3' x 3' area of the glaze coat to the wall.  Then using a rag rolled in a sausage shape, roll it across the glazed section immediately after application.  Then repeat.

Depending on the pattern you desire a variety of materials can be used; linen, lace, old sheets, burlap, and net curtains. The most important thing to remember is that whatever material you choice to work with make sure it is clean and un-dyed.  The best part about using a glaze? If you don't like how it comes out just reapply the glaze and roll that section over!



Sponging is the most basic method of decorative interior painting styles.  If you are a novice DIYer this might be the perfect project for you! 

Sponging can be used to both add and remove paint from a wall.  Whichever means you choose, make sure you use natural sea sponges.  

They'll give you the best results! Whether you are adding or removing paint, a base coat is required. Once your base coat is dry, sponge on the glaze and make sure your sponge is slightly dampened. Be cautious with the amount of glaze you use. Start from the center making sure to rotate your sponge.

Removing glaze from the wall, you will use the same technique as rag rolling.  Working in 3x3 areas remove the glaze in the pattern you desire.  


Taking it up a notch, let's discuss distressing.  Distressing is by far the most difficult paint
technique discussed in this post.  It requires a tad more skill, patience, and a few more supplies.  Depending on how many layers of color you want, you’ll need:

  • A base coat of satin latex paint 
  • A top coat of satin latex paint
  • A candle
  • Sandpaper
  • Steel wool
  • Painting supplies.  

I don’t suggest creating more than a couple layers of paint to distress.  The technique of distressing is more commonly used on furniture but can also be incorporated onto walls in specific ways.  Take a look!


  1. Depending on the finish of the piece, sand down the surface. If the piece has a low sheen finish sand lightly.  If it has a glossier finish sand a little bit harder.  If the piece has a vinyl finish see A Gripping Redesign for surface prep. 
  2. Paint a base coat.
  3. If you are only using one layer of paint, it is time to distress once the paint dries.  Sand down the areas you want to appear worn.  Corners are a great place to start! Once you have achieved the look you desire, wipe down and you are finished!
  4. Now here is where things get interesting.  If you are using two layers of paint, use the candle rub wax on areas you’d like the base coat to show through. 
  5. Paint top coat. Let dry.
  6. Using the steel wool, rub down the areas where you placed the wax. If you can’t remember exactly don’t worry! The steel wool won’t be too harsh on your piece. Wipe down when finished.


I don’t suggest distressing interior walls to a large extent.  It takes away from the protection and strength that paint allows for.  I do however suggest painting stripes or a design on a newly painted wall and sanding them down for a distressed look! That way you get the antique aesthetic while not compromising your interior paint!

Faux Bois:

Faux BoisFinally for the most unique style, let’s talk about faux bois or “fake wood" as it translates.  Using one simple tool, an imprinted rocker, and some glaze is all it really takes to achieve this finish.  Who would have guessed it would be so easy?! The trick is in the technique of the rocker.  Just follow these simple steps for a perfect faux bois finish.

  1. Mix glaze.
  2. Decide which way you would like the grain of your wood to go then paint you glaze on parallel to it. Do not use the 3x3 technique here for applying glaze.  Make sure you cover the length of the grain with glaze and then only go about a foot and half wide.
  3. Drag the imprinted rocker down the length of the surface slowly rocking it once during your entire pull. Repeat and then add more glaze.  Don’t forget that if you mess up just add more glaze and redo that section!

Check out this video for a great visual reference!




Craving more DIY Paint Project Ideas? Visit our painting interior surfaces guide. Or visit it our Pinterest Board!


Picture credits:

Faux Bois -

Distressing -


Rag Rolling -,1000638,DIY_33160_6048494_02,00.html

Topics: interior paint, DIY

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