Faux Finish: Sponging

Sponging a wall adds color, interest, depth and texture to a room. It is a quick and easy project to do that is not just easy on the pocket but also takes less time than hassling with wallpapering. As always when it comes to painting walls, there is one important step: prepping your wall. Ensure that your walls are clean so that paint can adhere to it better, by washing with mild soapy solution with clean cloths. Remove mold or mildew with applying bleach on the walls at a ratio of one part bleach to 3 parts water. Protect and cover the work area with drop cloth, remove door knobs, handles and switch plates, or cover with masking tape, lay plastic on the floor to catch any drips, sand flaking paint and patch holes and repair gaps in baseboards and moldings with caulking. Fill in nail holes with spackle and allow all spackle to dry and then sand. Then, add primer to newly filled areas. Sponging hides dents, dimples, bumps, and blemishes on a wall.

Tools and Materials:

  • Primer (either oil or latex with an eggshell or satin sheen)
  • Glaze 
  • Top coats such as varnishes or stains 
  • Paint tray, brushes and rollers 
  • Sponges/feathers/rags/wood graining tools (depending on the look you want to achieve)
  • Have a bucket of water handy 
  • Clean up water with soap for water based paints and mineral spirits for glazes 
  • Rubber gloves 
  1. Apply your base colour on the wall. 
  2. On a paint pan, tap a damp sponge (wet with water and squeeze all the water out), on the secondary colour, then on a newspaper or cardboard to equally distribute the paint around the sponge.
  3. When you apply the paint from the sponge, it will be loaded with paint, so tap in different places within the three foot work area for a more uniform look.
  4. Finish the corners last when you cut the sponge to fit the corners. 
  5. Continue until the entire wall or room is covered.