How to give your walls a distressed look?

Having refreshed your walls or finished a colour make-over of your shelves, chairs or cabinets, you may be facing the dilemma of what to do with the leftover paint. You must not pour it down the drain, and improper storage on a shelf will shorten its usable life. Therefore, it is best to roll up your sleeves and use (up) the remaining paint in a creative way.

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For such a project you will need: paint leftovers, lots of creativity, good cheer, a work outfit you don’t mind getting dirty, enough time and a good idea how to use small amounts of paint. It could be painting a wall mural with a brush, painting the walls or furniture with stencils, decorating flowerpots, enhancing furniture or the walls with small patterns, and so on.


Applying paint in layers

Another very simple and easy technique is painting the walls with a synthetic sponge (for washing the car). Instead of a sponge, you can also use a car-washing mitten. In both cases, paint is applied to the wall in the same way – in layers. The result is a finish that looks beautiful, dynamic and dramatic. This technique offers many possibilities, depending on the number of the colours used. 


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It is also suitable for beginners to wall decoration, because it is very forgiving of mistakes. If a section of the wall seems to be too light these is no need to start applying paint all over again. Instead, simply add a layer of slightly darker colour to the wall until it looks just right.

Before starting the job, prepare everything you need. There are many different sponges on the market, but the described technique works best with a simple car-washing sponge. First prepare the space or room for painting by moving large furniture away from the walls so that it is not in your way while painting. Protect all the furniture and floor as necessary with protective sheets, and use masking tape for the edges of walls, windows, doors, sockets and switches.


Base coat

For the best application and bonding with the wall, first clean the walls of any dirt with sandpaper to make the surface as smooth as possible. After sanding, smoothen and wipe the wall with a cloth, removing all dust particles. Now everything is ready for the first layer of paint, which should be applied to the wall with a roller.

Before you start painting, it is important to picture in your mind the final effect that you want to achieve. Select the colours to be used according to your preferences. Sponging works well with a variety of hues, which can be produced by tinting the paint. To lighten or darken paint leftovers, you can also use simple tempera paints, used in schools. The important thing is that all the products being mixed are water based. For example, if you have several leftover SPEKTRA interior wall paints, they can be freely mixed with each other.

If you want a darker hue for a subsequent layer of paint to be applied with a sponge, darken the paint gradually. Otherwise, you may end up with too much paint (you would need to add a great deal of white paint to lighten it). When you have mixed the right hue, apply a liberal amount with a paintbrush to a small area of the wall. Spread the paint with rough, long strokes using a sponge to spread it across the surface. This technique is not to be used to apply the second layer of paint over the entire surface; it should be applied to a few sections only to give the wall a “stained” look. This type of wall decoration is striking, so you should ask yourself: will I get the desired final effect by painting one wall or can the room handle this decorative element on all the walls? 


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Decoration technique using a NATURAL SPONGE

A method similar to the technique of applying paint with a synthetic sponge is SPEKTRA decoration with a NATURAL SPONGE. It is particularly suitable for well-lit and large surfaces, because its understated elegant look is inconspicuous, and its full splendour is only revealed in the play of light.

If you are satisfied with the wall colour, skip the first step (applying the base coat of paint) and paint over the wall as it is with the second coat of paint with a natural sea sponge. Otherwise, apply the base coat such as SPEKTRA Latex matt, SPEKTRA Premium or SPEKTRA Extra to the surface with a paint roller. Wait for the paint to dry and then use the natural sea sponge to apply SPEKTRA DOMFLOK VARNISH (SEMI-MATT or GLOSS) or SPEKTRA DOMFLOK VARNISH PEARL tinted with 10% SPEKTRA Latex matt and 25% diluted with water. When tinting make sure that the paint is not too thin to prevent any dripping from the sponge when pressed to the wall.


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To make a pattern with the sponge you will also need a tray for dipping the decorative sponge. It is important to wash the sponge in water before use and wring it out firmly, so that it is moist and soft. Start making the pattern in a corner by pressing the sponge evenly and rotate the sponge with each press by a quarter to the left or right for a finish without visible shapes of the sponge or visible contours of the work process. As drying does not play a very important role in this decorative technique, it can be used for numerous surfaces and in all imaginable shades. When you are happy with the effect on the wall and the job is finished, wash the tools with water immediately after use.