Paint Spattering – The Faux Paint Finish for Stone Effects and More

In the 1960 and early 1970s, paint spattering was a common faux finish on furniture in the “blonde” French provincial style so popular at the time. The tiny raw umber speckles gave the furniture a feel of age, even though it may have been manufactured just weeks before. While it’s not as common to see this finish on furniture today, it remains a valuable faux finish technique.

Imitating Stone

Anyone who has spent any time in nature knows that stones are often mixture of many colors. In fact, they can appear to almost be made up of numerous little speckles. This is one reason why spattering is such a useful technique for achieving stone-like effects with paint.

Add spattering paint on top of a faux stone finish such as granite will really give it a genuine look. The colors you choose can imitate the tiny lichens and mosses that grow on the rock.

Adding Character

Paint spattering doesn’t have to be used for antiquing like it was in the 60s. It would probably still look dated if you used raw umber on a light color. But when the technique is used on a darker color, it can really add character and depth. Spatters in a slightly darker color than the base color can also be very effective.

Spattering paint is also attractive over other faux techniques such as sponging or strie.

  • Add a third or fourth color to a wall that’s been sponged. Paint spattering will add another layer of depth to the effect. You can also use it to add unexpected accents.
  • Add spatters of the dominant color after you’ve strie painted a room. It will mimic the natural nubs you usually find in linen and many other fabrics.

How to Spatter Paint

Paint spattering is relatively easy. The most important thing to remember is the stiffness of the brush, the viscosity of the paint and the amount of paint on the brush will determine how big the spatters are.

Thinner paint spatters in a finer spray because the paint doesn’t cling to itself as easily. If you want small spots, you’ll want paint that’s between the thickness of milk and cream. The best tool will be a toothbrush or for large surfaces a scrb brush. You’ll dip the brush in the paint, then scrape off any excess on the edge of the can or cup you mixed the paint in. Quickly run your finger across the toothbrush with it facing the wall you want to spatter. You can also use a paint stir stick to rub the bristles. In this case move the brush and hold the stick still.

It’s messy work, so be sure you are wearing clothes you don’t mind getting covered in paint. 50% of the paint will get on you!

Other brushes that work well for spattering, when you want larger spatters are fingernail brushes, vegetable brushes and chip brushes. You’ll also find that stippling (pounce) brushes can work for you as well. Any stiff brush will work.

The more paint you leave on the brush, the less control you will have on the size of the paint spatter. If you’re doing a children’s room, this makes for a fun effect. Try paint spattering walls painted in one primary color, such as yellow, with the other primary and even secondary colors. The totally random spatters of paint will help hide the smudges and dings that are common to kid’s living spaces.

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