Faux Painting – DIY or Not?

faux paint

Of the many ways you can improve the look of your home’s interior, paint is one of the quickest and easiest. It can be a wonderful, low-cost alternative to hiring a remodeling contractor and making major renovations. Among the virtually endless possibilities with paint is faux painting, which can create the look of marble, brick or exotic wood grain.

What is Faux Painting?

Faux painting or finishing is a decorative technique which mimics the look of a certain surface or material using paint and glaze. Mainly used indoors, faux painting may either create the illusion of completely different materials such as stone and suede, or upgrade the appearance of existing wood surfaces by creating a distressed or antiqued look.

Can You Do it Yourself?

Depending on the type of effect you select, you may be able to DIY the faux painting and save some money. Try it on cardboard or another throw-away surface first, and see how you do. With practice, you may be able to perfect certain looks.

On the other hand, many faux painting techniques demand a fair bit of artistic talent; some styles can take years to master and require special training. If you’re looking to create a faux marble look, for example, you’ll need to purchase several similar-toned paints, clear glaze and some cheesecloth. The technique involves painting lines and rubbing them into a blur, and adding assorted “veins” which are softened and blended.

If you don’t think you are capable of successfully faux painting on your own, contact a professional painter. Because of the increasing popularity of faux painting, many new materials and techniques are being created. A professional painter will be equipped with the most up-to-date tools and know the best methods.


In addition to painting, applying a faux finish also requires preparing the surface. While you can probably do this on your own, make sure you set aside enough time. The quality of the finish is highly dependent on the quality of the base surface, so don’t cut corners. You’ll need to remove any wallpaper and repair any holes, dents and bumps.

Should you choose to do the painting on your own, make sure you apply primer to the surface and allow it to dry thoroughly before you begin to paint. Also be aware that after your faux painting is completed, it should be sealed. For some methods, like the marble look, this helps make the surface look more realistic and gives it an authentic polished sheen. For nearly all methods, the sealer protects against damage from sunlight and moisture.

Updated November 25, 2018.

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