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Faux Finishing

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Looking to renovate the look of some furniture or perhaps change a room in your home relatively inexpensively? By learning a few simple faux finishing techniques, you can transform your home into a gorgeous area worthy of presentation in a Magazine!

Faux finishing techniques are a type of decorative technique used in interior design, architecture, and furniture making. It is the imitation of one material with another, typically stone, wood, and leather.

Faux finishing is an economical way to create expensive materials without spending the money on real ones. The techniques date back at least as far as ancient Egypt and Greece.

Today faux finishing has become popular for home decorating, restoration of older buildings, and new construction projects where budget concerns make it necessary to use less costly materials that still have the appearance of more valuable ones.

Antiquing/ Distressing

Antiquing is a type of decorative and protective finish, and involves processes such as staining, waxing, and applying paint to an object in ways that give the object a look of age.

Distressing is similar to antiquing in that it involves techniques such as sanding, scraping, and often painting. It is sometimes used synonymously with antiquing, but others reserve distressing for when the paint has been applied over a stain or other dark pigment.

antiquing distressing


Colorwashing is when the color is washed over an object. It’s a way of altering the surface color of an object without using chemical stains or paints. This technique is very popular in painting but can perform in sculpting objects as well.

colorwashed wall


Decoupage is a decorative art form, which involves cutting or gluing colorful paper to a surface. It is typically painted in layers, sometimes with different colors between the layers to add depth.

The art form has been practiced in Europe for centuries and became popular again in the early 20th century. It was most popular during the Victorian era when they used decoupage to decorate generally everything from picture frames, furniture, and doorknobs.

Paper mache is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes combined with other fibers, applied with a binder such as glue. It can be shaped when wet and hardens as it dries. Paper mache has been around for centuries and was originally known as papier mâché.


Gold Leaf- Gilding

Gold leaf is a thin sheet of gold that can be applied to surfaces such as wood, glass, or other materials. Gilding—to cover something with a thin layer of gold—is the process of applying gold leaf to an object. Can also refer to the leaves themselves.

gold leaf gilding

Graining / Combing

Graining and combing is a finish applied to furniture, doors, and other woodwork. It is most often carried out on oak or mahogany with a dark brown stain. This is carried out by brushing or combing on the desired color.

The faux combing technique is a technique that uses a stencil to make a design or pattern on the surface of varnish or paint. It’s a good way to “comb” the surface of your wood and create a patterned design.

graining combing paint

Ragging & Parchment

Ragging is one form of faux finishing that is designed to give the appearance of worn paint. The surface of the painted area is rubbed back and forth with a rag, which creates a “worn” effect. The technique often uses oil-based paints which are slow drying, making it possible to create multiple layers of color and achieve detail in texture.

Parchment refers to thin material, historically made from animal skin because it could be preserved by being scraped clean and rubbed with wax or size. It is commonly used for coating paper to make it look old, grungy, and rough.


Satin & Satin finish

Satin coatings are durable, scratch-resistant coatings that produce a satin-like shine on paintable surfaces. The back coating is usually alkyd enamel, acrylic enamel, urethane, lacquer, or varnish.

A satin finish is created by sanding the surface of the wood and then brushing on multiple coats of lacquer or polyurethane containing fine sanding dust. This creates a delicate finish with little shine.

Texturizing Techniques

Texturizing Technique is a decorative surface treatment in which textured materials are added to plaster, paint, or other material, to simulate the appearance of natural textures.

The technique involves adding materials that form patterns or give texture to surfaces. Some common examples include river rock, straw, twigs, crushed stone, and tree bark.

texturizing techniques

Trompe L’oeil

Trompe l’oeil is an art technique that employs realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted object is actually three-dimensional. It is a French phrase that means “blinds fool” or “trick of the eye”. The term can also be used as an adjective, meaning something that deceives or tricks the eye, e.g. trompe l’oeil mural painting.

trompe loeil


Verdigris is a green patina that forms naturally on copper and other metals, most notably bronze. The artistic process of creating verdigris can be achieved by any number of ways including using ammonia, vinegar, or plating the metal with copper.


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