How to Sponge Paint the Ceiling

What You'll Need
2 or 3 different colors of paint, all water-based. Choose colors similar in shade or that will complement each other well.
Glaze (optional)
Several natural sea sponges, varying sizes
Paint tray, roller with extendable arm, stir stick
Drop cloths
Painters tape
Water for washing sponges
Plywood, board, or canvas for practice

Learning how to sponge paint will add add depth and intensity and create variety of color and texture into your home. Sponge painting a ceiling is a great way to add pattern and texture into a room without the use of wallpaper. Instead of staring up at a plain white or colored ceiling, follow these instructions to create a sponge-painted ceiling.

Step 1- Choose Your Colors

When sponge painting, choose two to three colors that are the same color but different shades or that complement each other well. For example, an apple green, a grass green and a forest green would go well together, or cream, pink and red. Either start with a darker shade and go lighter or start with the lightest shade and go darker. For a darker, more dramatic look, start with the lightest shade and end with a darker shade. To lighten up a darker room, start with the darkest shade first.

Step 2 - Prepare for Painting

To protect furniture from drips from the ceiling, cover everything with dropcloths. Tape along the top of every wall to keep from getting your rolled base coat on the side walls. If you are painting the walls at the same time, remove light fixtures. Cover the ground with drop cloths or plastic.

Step 3 - Roll the Base Paint

Starting with either the lightest or darkest shade, roll your base coat on the ceiling. Purchasing an extendable arm for your roller saves alot of time and will keep you off the ladder a while longer. Applying primer before the base coat is not necessary, as the multiple paint layers and sponging will cover up most flaws. Paint the practice board as well. Allow this coat to dry for 24 hours before applying the next coat.

Step 4- Add Glaze to Top Coats

Adding glaze to your top coats will give them a transculent, less pronounced look. The more glaze you add, the more transparent the second coat will be. Without any added glaze, the second and/or third sponged layers will be more dense and dramatic. Experiment with different mixing ratios and sponging onto your practice board until your paint/glaze mixture produces the desired look.

Step 4 - Sponge Paint

Dampen sponges before use, and rinse them out in water every couple minutes so that the paint doesn't dry to the sponge. Start from the center and work outwards. Dip the sponge into the glazed paint and apply gently to the ceiling. Twisting your hand as you apply the sponge will create a different look than mere blotting. Try to use the same motion and pressure each time you apply the sponge to the ceiling, but remember that sponging is supposed to be random. Don't wipe the sponge across the ceiling; these smears will be difficult to cover up. Overlap applications slightly as you work towards the corners. Use smaller sponges in the corners to create a consistent appearance.

Step back and check for areas where the undercoat is showing through more. Dap more paint with the sponge on these areas. If you are doing a second top coat, allow the first to dry before beginning again.