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How To Use The Sponging Technique For Interesting Walls

Using the sponging technique of painting can create unique interest on your walls and is one of the easiest faux painting techniques to learn. There are two ways to apply this technique and you will pick one or the other. Sponging on consists of applying colored glaze on a painted surface. Sponging off uses a sponge to remove wet glaze from a surface.

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  • Base coat paint in desired color
  • Translucent color glaze to match or contrast with base coat as desired
  • Paint roller with 3/8” Nap
  • Bucket
  • Large and small sea sponges
  • Painters Tape
  • Drop cloth

    Prep Work

    Empty the room as much as you can. Use the painters tape to protect woodwork, outlets and the edges of the ceiling and baseboard. Lay the drop cloth on the floor and over any furniture or island that you couldn’t move.

    Apply the base coat per instructions, remove tape and let dry overnight

    The Sponging On Technique

    If there is an area that you do not want the sponging in, apply painters tape to protect that area. Rinse the sponge in water and wring out until just barely damp. Pour the glaze onto a painters tray or large plate or bowl. Dip the sponge into the glaze until saturated. Squeeze and blot out the excess – you don’t want the glaze to run onto the wall so you need to have the amount on the sponge just right so that you can blot the glaze onto the area without it looking muddy.

    Use the sea sponge to blot or pounce the glaze onto the wall. Work in uneven circles with quick motions changing the angle of the sponge. Don’t overdo it or you will have a solid color wall! Practice a bit first to develop your own technique. A smaller sponge will help you finish off those tight areas.

    The Sponging Off Technique

    Once the basecoat is dry, reapply the painters tape. Apply the glaze to the wall with the roller in an uneven zig zag like pattern. Do not overlap the edges of the glaze. Fill your bucket with water and rinse the sea sponge, wringing out well. Use the sponge to blot the glaze off the wall. When the sponge becomes saturated with glaze, rinse it with water and ring out. Your technique should be to work in a random pattern changing the angle of the sponge so that the blotting is uneven which will create a more interesting look.

    Keep in mind that the entire wall needs to be done before the glaze dries so you will have to work fast. It might be good to enlist the aid of a friend or family member but just make sure that your techniques are not too different as you want the glaze application to look consistent along the entire wall.


    Before you take to the walls, practice your sponge painting technique on a large piece of cardboard or poster board. Once you get your technique perfected, you can hold the board up to the actual wall to see how it will look.

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