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What is Sponge Painting?

Oct. 28, 2022

When you are looking to breathe new life into a room, it is a good idea to paint the walls with a little colour. Often it's a matter of painting the walls with a solid colour, adding contrasting woodwork or creating an accent wall using another colour. Sponge painting is an alternative to painting your walls a single colour and can give you amazing results. It is a particularly effective way to create a striking feature wall that will stand out as the star attraction of the room.

 

Using a simple sponge painting technique, you can quickly turn an otherwise boring white wall space into one of the most exciting areas of your home. Most sponge painting projects use two colours, but you can also experiment with layering multiple colours together. You can use up to five different colours. Perhaps the only downside is that it adds a few extra steps and some time to your painting project.


Sponge Painting

 Sponge Painting

 

What is sponge painting?

Sponge painting is a technique that allows you to create a beautiful range of gradient colour effects - one colour mixed into another. It involves simply applying a base coat of one colour and then tapping the other colour with a sponge so that the underlying colour is revealed. Changing colours, application techniques and the sponge used offers you creative freedom.

 

Preparation

Because the sponge adds texture and depth to the wall, it is a great technique for walls where the finish has some irregularities. Although sponge painting can hide small imperfections, it will not hide major wall damage. Repair any damaged sections of wall before you start painting. As with any painting project, use the same preparation steps as for a normal painting project: clean the wall and cover the surface to be protected. Also, practise the sponge technique using the colour of your choice on a scrap piece of cardboard or drywall before applying it to the wall.

DIY Painting Brush

 DIY Painting Brush      

Safety precautions

If you choose to use an alkyd-based paint, you may need to use a thinner. Wear a face shield with a charcoal filter to avoid breathing thin fumes. Also, wear plastic or rubber gloves to avoid getting sticky glazes (or paint thinners) on your hands.

 

What is alkyd paint?

Alkyd lacquer is an enamel paint with a consistency similar to that of paint. Alkyd paint does not contain oil. It is not usually used on walls and is more commonly applied to metal or wood. Alkyd paints are harder than oil-based paints, which is useful for surfaces that need to be more durable (e.g. children's rooms). The end result of an alkyd painted wall is a hard, semi-glossy finish.

 

DIY Art Sponge Roller Brush

 DIY Art Sponge Roller Brush

 

The sponge painting technique can be carried out on any flat painting surface - walls, ceilings, floors or even furniture.

 

The look can range from delicate to bold and can be adapted to any decorative style (the end result will depend on the colours you choose, the transparency and gloss of the glaze and how much you apply it).

 

Creating a textured surface with sponge application

For the most common sponge application process, known as sponging, you use a large piece of sea sponge to apply the glaze to the painted surface.

 

 Children Painting Brush

  Children Painting Brush

See how the irregular shape and surface of the sponge in the photo creates a vivid speckled effect?

 

If you do it right, it should look like an irregular mottled texture rather than a series of identical sponge marks.

 

Wiping off with a sponge creates the appearance of more colour mixing

For sponge application, which is a related but quieter technique, you first roll the glaze over the picture and then lift off some of the wet glaze with a sponge.

 

This treatment produces a more subtle, softer mottled effect where the emphasis is on the play of colour rather than texture.

 

In addition, the two methods can be combined for greater visual depth or as part of other decorative painting techniques (for example, faux marble effects).


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