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5 simple paint effects you can do yourself

Posted on 19 April 2016

A cheaper and easier alternative to battling with wallpaper, using paint effects is one of the latest decorating tricks you can use to add a little creative flair to your home. Not to worry though, you don’t need an art degree to pull off this interior design hack, just a few sponges, a paint brush and a raised design roller.

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1.      The textured effect

textured paint 

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Starting with one of the simplest paint effects, the textured look is created by gently dabbing a sponge onto your wall with a thin coating of paint. First, paint a base coat of either latex or eggshell paint onto your wall. Once this is dry, pour a coloured translucent glaze paint into a roller tray. Translucent glaze paint gives a softer finish than emulsion, but if you can’t get hold of this, you can create a similar effect by watering down emulsion by 50%.

Dip your sponge in the paint and remove any excess using the ridged part of the tray, then by dabbing it on newspaper. Once the paint thins and starts to produce a mottled look, gently dab the sponge over the wall. Once the paint gets too thin, repeat the process. If you think an area looks too heavy, sponge over the area using the base colour once the paint has dried.

2.      The ombré effect

ombre paint 

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A great paint trick for creating a calming atmosphere, the graduating colour, or ombré, effect works well with blue-green tones. To recreate this look at home, begin by painting a white base layer onto your chosen wall. When this coat is dry, paint a horizontal band of your lightest colour along the top of the wall, then use a wet paint brush or sponge to blur the lines between the two paints. Repeat this process as you move down the wall, adding darker coloured paints as you go. Just remember to wash out your blending brush or sponge between each use!

3.      The stencilled effect

stencilled paint 

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Looking for something more modern? If you think a rustic paint effect won’t look right in your home, you may be in need of a few stencils. Once you’ve chosen where you want your stencils to go, carefully attach your stencil to the wall with low-tack masking tape.

Apply a small amount of paint to your paint brush and paint the area inside the stencil. If you’re using a small stencil, it’s best to gently dab the paint through the stencil to ensure it doesn’t move. Very carefully remove the stencil before the paint is dry, and wipe away any excess paint as soon as possible.

4.      The printed roller effect

 printer roller paint

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To achieve this wallpaper-esque finish, you’ll need to invest in a paint effects roller with a raised design. Opt for emulsions with a matt finish, choosing two contrasting colours for the pattern and base coat. First, apply the base coat to your wall and wait for it to dry completely before adding the pattern. This effect is best achieved by attaching a decorator’s poll to your patterned roller so you can apply the emulsion in long, even strokes.

Dip your patterned roller in the emulsion, wiping any excess off with the ridged end of the roller tray. It’s wise to practise the effect on a test area first to get a feel for the amount of pressure you need while ensuring the roller doesn’t slip on the wall. Once you’ve mastered the technique, use the roller to paint the pattern on top of the base coat, slowly moving the roller up the wall using an even pressure.

5.      The layered effect

layered paint 

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If you’re looking to create a head-turning feature wall, the layered effect is for you. This look works best with contrasting pastel tones but can also be replicated using various shades of the same colour for a more understated look. Before you start, you’ll need to ensure you have a piece of string and chalk at hand, as well as your emulsions, emulsion brush and roller trays.

Mark out the area you want to paint using the chalk and string. Put two dots at each end to show the width and height of the area you want to paint, then rub the entire length of the string with the chalk. Use low-tack masking tape to stick the string vertically to the wall between the two dots, then pluck the string. The string will leave a chalk mark on the wall to guide you. Repeat this process by turning the string horizontally and moving it down at 5cm intervals to create guidelines on your wall.

Apply a small amount of paint to your brush and paint long, sweeping strokes across the chalk lines, without applying too much pressure. Layer up the different colour paints to create the rustic striped effect. 

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