Specialty Painting

crackle paint texture
Crackling gives new paint an antique flavor.

Have you been thinking about employing a specialty painting technique in your home? Simple walls, windows and doors have long been embellished with paint to bring out their architectural detail or give them detail they lack. Most specialty painting finishes are actually quite easy to do on your own or with a little bit of training. And for more complicated processes, there are many artists available for hire to do the job as well. One of the most important pieces of the specialty painting puzzle is being able to clearly visualize what it is you wish to be depicting in paint.

Wood Graining

Wood graining, as the name implies, is the art of recreating the look of wood with paint. A beautiful wood-paneled study is a classic in interior design. But high-quality wood can takes its toll on both your wallet as well as the environment. This is where faux wood paneling comes in: It can be beautiful as well. There are many specialty painting tools on the market today that will help you achieve the look of different species of wood, from mahogany to oak.

Sueding & Linen

Other popular wall finishes include suede and linen, which result in the look of fabric-covered walls. Sueding is done with commercially available paints and linen is created with the use of a specialty tool or dry bristly paint brush that is dragged through wet paint in an up and down and side to side pattern to achieve a woven look. Keep the paintbrush dry by wiping it off on paper towels every few strokes.


If you’ve ever been in an antique home, one of the most charming features can be the slightly cracked look of the painted plaster walls. Not the big nasty cracks due to settling, but the fine webbing of cracks as old paint has dried out over a few hundred years. This, too, is an easily achievable look with a commercially available crackle medium product that will produce a nice crackle finish chemically, without taking 200 years to achieve!


If you’re feeling a little Marie Antoinettish, why not try a gilding technique on applied panel moldings to create a little French chateau look? Real gilding is done with genuine gold sheets and requires a significant level of skill to do well. However, with the use of metallic paints and glaze, a beautifully rendered faux gilding is very doable by the average person.

Specialty painting techniques have been around since about the time people began to live within four walls. The ability to dress up the home with one’s own hand for a fraction of the price by using paint is a great tool for all homeowners to have in their belt.

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