Envision the walls of a room bathed in the ethereal hues of twilight. Using the color washing painting technique, you can give any room in your home a more inviting look and feel.

Color Washing: Paint Tools and Supplies

  • 3-inch or 4-inch Benjamin Moore paint brush or soft rags (brushes will lend a textured look, while rags will result in a softer, more diffuse, finished appearance)
  • Regal® Matte Finish
  • Studio Finishes® Latex Glaze
  • Disposable latex gloves
  • Drop cloth
  • Paint tray
  • Painter’s tape
  • Water for cleanup

Step 1 – Prepare your walls
Whether you are color washing your walls or another surface, be sure any surface is properly prepared before you begin glazing. Clean your walls thoroughly and repair any protruding nails or other imperfections.

For the best results, we recommend Fresh Start® 100% Acrylic Primer before you begin applying your base color. Be sure to tape off any edges you wish to protect, such as those along ceilings, windows, and doors.

Step 2 – Apply base color
After you have prepared your walls, apply your selected base color, taking care to follow the label directions. Allow the base color ample time to dry.

Step 3 – Apply glaze mixture
Once your base color is dry, you can begin using the color washing technique of your choice (brush or rag/sponge). Begin by dipping a soft cloth or sea sponge into your glaze mixture. The soft cloth will give glaze a more subtle appearance, while using the sponge will give a more textured look.

Next, apply the glaze mixture to your wall using a random wiping or circular motion, as if you were washing the wall. Continue this wiping technique until the entire surface is covered.

For different visual effects, vary your wiping motions as you apply the glaze.

Professional tips for color washing paint
For a more textured look, use a large paint brush to apply the glaze onto your wall with a criss-cross motion in random strokes. Feather out any harsh brush strokes by lightly sweeping over the glaze with a clean, dry brush.

When you color wash an entire room, glaze walls opposite from one another first. This will allow adequate time for drying and avoid smudging wet glaze in corners.

To achieve the look of an aged patina, apply a lighter glaze over a darker glaze.

For a look with richer color depth, use three colors for your paint color washing project – a base color, a glaze darker than your base color, and a third deeper glaze color.