Faux finishing, sometimes called faux painting, is a way of painting a wall or other object such that it looks as though it is made of a different material or that it something else altogether. For instance, there are faux finish techniques that create the look of wood, marble, and a wide variety of other textures. Other faux finish techniques actually paint murals of different items, such as bricks, in order to create the desired effect. Most faux finish techniques aim to create patterns in a regular way, and may involve applying a textured item to the wall or creating a design that appears natural by hand. Those that require actual reproduction of an image, such as a window, will be more difficult to complete because these items must be painted like pictures.
Every one of these faux finish techniques includes some form of painting, but often these techniques require very few special materials. Among the many common faux finishes, sponges, paintbrushes, and rollers may be required. Some artistic skill can be useful when creating mural finishes, as these must closely approximate how these items look.
One of the most common faux finish techniques is using a textured item to alter paint. Using a sponge on a painted wall can create a general textured look, as can using a rag. The design present on the finished wall depends on the item used to create the technique as well as how the technique was applied. There are even special brushes, rollers, and other materials designed to create very detailed and specific faux finishes, such as the look of denim. These are often very successful finishes because they are applied evenly and regularly over the entire painted section.
Marbling and graining are faux finish techniques that are designed to look like specific materials, namely marble and wood. Marbling is usually accomplished by painting the characteristic white veins of marble on a mottled background. Graining may be done with a brush or may require a special graining tool. While both of these techniques can work with colors appropriate to the original material, it is also possible to use unique colors of paint for special effects.
One faux finish technique that is often best left to professionals is a mural technique called trompe l'oeil. This kind of mural can be used to give the impression that bricks, windows, or even ivy is on or behind the wall. While these effects can be very beautiful, they are created by simply painting the illusion directly on the wall. Painting an effective sky, brick, or plant can be much harder than it looks, so it may be best to hire a professional mural painter unless one is an experienced artist.
The best technique used to achieve a professional look on a faux finish wall is preparing the wall before painting. This can dramatically improve the look of the finished wall. Using a primer is very important. If one follows the same steps as a professional painter and uses comparable materials, it is very easy to achieve a professional look on any wall one paints.