Saturday, 31 May 2008

Faux Italian Plaster Decorative Paint Finish

One of the best faux painting techniques which produces a mottled wall finish which looks like old plaster techniques that you might find in an old Italian villa, is done using two paint rollers and latex paint. Unlike a lot of faux finishes, you don't need to use "glaze" with this finish and you don't need to thin or modify the paint in any way. This finish is fast and simple.

Color Selection:

The simplest way to get a good looking finish with this technique is to use a deeper tone color of your liking with an off white or white paint. This color combination will give you a blend of your deep color and light off white with blends of the two colors. White and off white works predictably with the deep color of choice. If you were to use a second "color" instead of white you can get a muddy, ugly third color blend which won't be pleasing.

Your deep tone color should be a bit darker than the overall desired look you wish for the room, when the two deep tone and off white paints are meshed together you should get a softer blend or the two which will provide the overall look for the room.


Latex satin or eggshell paints work well with this technique.


You will apply the two colors in a random manner one at a time using semi circular strokes with each roller. While it is common to use 4" rollers to do this technique, you can use 7' rollers (or even standard 9" rollers) as well.

Nap length: Should be on the longer side - 1" or ¾" works well. The best covers for this technique is the lambs wool cover. There are manufacturers who make wool rollers specifically for this technique., and even make special dual rollers. I don't use the dual rollers as I like the "liberty" of not having the two rollers attached and being able to do independent swipes with each separate roller color.

Start at one end of the wall, make your way down the wall working in small 4' x 4' sections at a time. Apply one color first in random patches in semi circular roller strokes (covering maybe 25% of the wall with this color within your 4' x 4' working section) , then repeat with the second color overlapping here and there the first color. You should have about 50% of your working section covered at this point. Now take a lambs wool pad ( these pads are used for applying stain , if you can't find one of these - there are manufacturers who will supply you with one made especially for this type of technique) and dab and blot softly here and there to soften and blend the two colors together. You don't want to blend everything or over blend, just here and there in a random fashion.

Repeat the above procedure to fill in the remaining 50% of the section. Once the section is complete move on to the next 4' x 4' section and repeat until the whole wall is complete.

Dale Slater is a professional painter and faux finisher. To learn more about all aspects of painting and decorating visit

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