Faux Finishing - Lime Washing

What You'll Need
Paint for the base coat
Paint roller
Sandpaper and drywall compound
Putty knife
Drop cloths
Painter's tape
White flat paint for the cover coat
Mixing container
Water based varnish
Color washing paintbrush (3" to 4" bristle brush)

The attraction of faux finishing is that you can use ordinary paints in combination with glaze mixtures and create contrasts and visual features not achievable with paint alone. Lime washing is a technique for creating a seemingly old white washed finish on your walls. The technique itself is similar to color washing in that it adds texture to your walls, but with lime washing you end up with a white chalky look to the walls rather than an accent color. Here's how you can go about achieving that old lime washed appearance on your walls.

Preparing to Paint
Start by preparing your room for painting. Take all the furniture out of the room (or move it to the middle of the room and cover it with tarps) then remove all pictures, electrical outlet covers and switch plates. Place drop cloths on the floor against the walls and use your drywall compound and putty knife to fill in any nail holes or small cracks. After the compound has dried, give the walls a light sanding (120 grit sandpaper) to provide a "tooth" for the new paint and then a quick wash to remove the sandpaper dust. Finally, use your painter's tape to cover windowsills or baseboards, and apply your base coat to the newly prepared walls using your paint roller.

After the paint has dried, probably overnight, you can apply your lime washed texture.

Mix together an off white flat latex paint and some water. Do some experimenting with mixtures before you actually start painting your walls. Keep in mind, the more water you add, the more diluted the surface coat will be, allowing more of the base coat to show through. Less water will produce a more opaque lime wash coating, making your walls whiter.

Once you have the mixture consistency you're looking for, use your color washing brush to apply a light coat of your lime wash mixture. Brush the lime wash on in overlapping "X's", but keep in mind you're not painting the walls, you're just adding some extra color. Work in small sections (about 4' by 4') and use cheesecloth to blot the paint and smooth away any brush marks.

When you're happy with the appearance of one section move onto the next, working your way all around the room.

Once your white wash effect has dried, you can protect it by applying two coats of a low luster water based varnish. (If you don't protect your walls, the low luster diluted paint will rub off easily)

That's it. You have now transformed the walls of your 21st century room into a reasonable facsimile of the walls in an elegant European castle. Looks great doesn't it?

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer. His work has covered a wide range of topics, but he specializes in home maintenance and how to's. He has more than 500 articles published on the web, as well as print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada.