How to Do Craft Paper Painting

example of faux wall painting finish

The faux painting technique demonstrated here involves the use of craft paper to manipulate the wet glaze. These finishes are a great alternative to wallpaper and a good choice for large wall spaces. Other materials are also used for this process like a crumpled rag or plastic sheeting. Craft paper is easier to use than these other options because it's easier to control and it can be reused over the wall.

crumpling craft paper for a  faux wall painting finish


See these instructions on surface preparation, base coating and mixing glaze if you need help with those steps. Mask the ceiling and around trim moldings like door casing and baseboards to keep the glaze off of those places. Use two strips of 1½ inch painter's tape to create a wide border around the project, this will prevent any accidental stains that could be hard to remove later and would distract from the finished effect.

Cut craft paper in sheets long enough to cover the whole wall from floor to ceiling. Crumple the paper into a ball and spread it out again, the tighter the ball the finer the finished pattern will be on the walls. If you want a lot of fine, small lines in the finish, ball the paper tightly, if you want a more open pattern, ball it lightly. Plan to do one wall at a time, so you won't have to stop in the middle, prepare all the paper you will need at once and set it aside before beginning with the glaze.

This faux finish requires that the glaze be apply first with a brush and roller and then some of it removed or "pulled-off" to create the effect. Craft paper is used and pressed into the glaze using a dry brush to sweep over it, causing it to remove some of the color. You may want to test this technique before doing it on the walls, although this finish is easy to rearrange once it's on the wall, so you could start there and "practice" as you go.

rolling faux painting glaze on a wall

Roll the Wall

Work on one, manageable section at a time and brush around the corners working out 3 or 4 feet onto the wall. Lightly fill a 3|8 nap roller and roll the wall space from ceiling to floor. Roll up and down several times to spread the glaze out leaving a thin, even coat. Along the leading edge, roll a border of extra thick glaze, about 6 inches wide. This will keep the edge wet and make it possible to blend the effect into the next wall section to continue the process.

spreading craft paper over painting glaze

Pull Off Some Glaze

Spread out one sheet of the crumpled paper and lay it over the glaze starting at the ceiling. Butt the squared edge of the paper into the ceiling and wall at the corners. Let it flow down toward the floor and hold it in place with one hand while using a dry brush to lightly sweep over it, pushing the creases into the wall. Work down the wall with the brush, letting the paper fall out and off from the top as you go. At the bottom let the paper fall to the floor.

pulling craft paper off wet painting glaze

Check the Finish

Examine the pattern on the wall, if you're happy with it, move on to finish that section using another piece of paper, or if it isn't too saturated with glaze, you can use the same piece again.

If you're not happy with the finish and you want to remove more color, or change the pattern, you can lay the paper back in place, starting at the top and sweep over it again to pickup more glaze.

If the paper removed too much color, immediately brush and roll it out again going over the whole 3-4 foot section. Try the effect again using a piece of paper that isn't as crumpled, this will leave more of the color on the wall. When you have the effect you want do the remainder of that section, but don't go into the thick glaze at the border.

blotting with craft paper to perfect the faux wall painting finish

Tweak the Finish

If you want to change the finish to create more patterns or redistribute the glaze, tear off a small piece of the paper you just used and hold it over the wall while sweeping over it with the brush to move the glaze around until you produce the pattern you want. Because this effect is so random you can manipulate it repeatedly adding more color here and removing it there to "sneak up" on the final effect.

blotting with craft paper to perfect the faux wall painting finish blended faux wall painting finish

Start a New Section

Starting at the thick border, roll out another 3 or 4 foot section of wall. Go up and down over the wall repeatedly and roll back into the thick border to blend it into this new section. At the edge of the new section, leave another thick border of glaze to blend into the next section.

Spread out a new piece of paper and lay it over the glaze, overlapping the first section by a couple of inches. Use the same techniques as with the first section to manipulate the glaze and continue the pattern. Pay extra attention to the area where the two sections meet to create a smooth transition from one to the other.

Move across the wall like this, a section at a time, to the next corner. Use the small piece of paper at the corners to blend the finish from one wall to the next and get a consistent pattern along the ceiling and baseboard edges. At the next wall crumple more paper and begin at the corner to continue the effect around the room.

After the glaze is dry you add a second, third or even forth layer using a different, complimentary or contrasting color to create a faux finish with more depth and interest. Also try adding a sponge painting process over this effect for more variety and originality in the finish.