Interior painting typically involves the application of solid paint color to walls and woodwork. But there’s a parallel painting universe where so-called “broken” or dappled color is used to beautify interior spaces.
Here, home improvement enters the realm of artistic expression – a place where decorative painting techniques like sponging, rag-rolling, and stippling reside. And while there are many such techniques, they have something in common: Virtually all use glazes and washes to make solid color. . .variegated!
Both glazes and washes are actually modified paints that impart a textured look to the painted surface. But they are very different in their makeup and the way they manipulate color.
Glazes, which are made of oil-based paint mixed with linseed oil, turpentine and varnish, are more transparent than washes. They are used to provide both mottling and a luxurious glow to walls and other surfaces.
Washes, which are simply latex paints that have been thinned with water, produce color that looks fresher and more delicately textured. The beauty of washes is owing to the fact that they readily show brush marks and color variation — ironically, characteristics that are most undesirable when doing ordinary interior painting.
Depending upon their hue and intensity, as well as the extent to which they are thinned, both glazes and washes can be used to soften or enrich color. What’s more, they can even be used to significantly alter the color of the base coat of paint (the standard starting point in most decorative painting).
To decide whether to use a glaze or a wash on a particular project, it’s important to consider not only the visual effect you want to achieve, but also the complexity of the application.
Glazes are especially useful where the decorative technique requires a lot of manipulation. That’s because oil-based coatings dry more slowly, so they afford more “open time” to work your artistic magic on the color.
Washes — in addition to their exquisite appearance — have many practical advantages: They are easier to make, modify, and clean up after. For these reasons, do-it-yourselfers usually favor washes over glazes when doing decorative painting.
Regardless of whether you use a glaze or a wash for your next decorative interior painting project, you’ll appreciate the beautiful effect either will have on your budget: Compared to wall-coverings that have a similar appearance, decorative painting is a relative bargain. And that’s something you can bank on!