Faux Painting Techniques

Faux painting techniques are fun. It’s like doing a magician’s trick: you create a vivid illusion, you know it’s fake, and still you love it. There are several degrees of difficulty. Some faux painting techniques are absolutely beginner proof, others require a steady hand or some art skills.

How about:

faux painting wall

How about some marble, stoneslate or antique wooden kitchen cabinets? You can have a marble hall or fireplace, a metal wall, real faux brick, or an indoor landscape. Or, how about creating a view on your favorite holiday destination.

preparations

Most faux painting techniques require a smooth surface to work on. A funny texture, a scratch, hole or stain bleeding through distorts the illusion. If you want to create the illusion of a statue or piece of furniture on the wall, the texture of underlying wallpaper can make things look very unconvincing. Also an imitation of precious stonework or painting faux metal stands or falls with the smoothness of the surface you work on. But it depends a bit on the kind of structure you have. Click here for more on painting over wallpaper.

Sometimes it helps to create a painting surface first, that will help you to create a convincing look. Thin plates of styrofoam already have the proportions of a marble slate. Glue flat paper on them, eventual break off some edges, and there is your marble slate. Drywall can be used too, for that, even damaged pieces (you do have to cut of eventual round edges, they look too much like drywall!).

We see what we know

The most important about faux painting techniques is: to communicate the IDEA of what you're imitating. If you imitate wood, you "show" people what wood looks like. The essence of faux painting technique is: to play on what an average human being expects. If you look at something, you recognize it on the basis of what you know.

A story about Amazon indians, who first contacted with people from outside the forest. Some americans arrived at their village, over the Amazon, on a yaught. The indians asked, how they came, and where from. The whites pointed at their huge white yaught. But the indians looked puzzled, and asked again. Later on, it turned out they hadn't seen the boat. They'd never seen a white yaught before, and didn't know what to look for. All they saw was an unidentified white object, blocking their sight to the forest.

Take that back to faux painting, and realise: we all have images, visual knowledge in our heads, about what things look like. That’s what you play on.

So, use the cliché’s!

Wood only looks like wood if it has a reconizeable ‘grain’. Marble needs these erratic stripes – good marble doesn’t have it, it indicates breaking lines – but it surely communicates the idea of “marble”. And if faux painted metal does not have a very smooth surface, it won’t look like metal. But if your surface is smooth, and you paint some regular positioned studs or screwheads on it, you’ll register it as metal, even if it’s just plain grey...

faux painting techniques: a castle on the wall

Castle, in my son's bedroom

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