Change the look of your room with a faux finish.

How to Do Sponge and Ragging Effects on Walls

by Heather Montgomery

When you are tired of the plain, flat wall finish in certain areas of your home, add the pizazz of a faux finish to create a touch of elegance. Additionally, sponging and ragging add a look of texture and depth to your walls. Use glaze colors that match the fabric, finishes and accent colors of your room design and pull together the room. By mastering the basic techniques of sponging and ragging, you have learned the basics of more intricate faux finishes. For the best finish, clean your walls and apply a coat of primer before beginning the faux-finish process. Even the novice home decorator can tackle several different faux-finishing techniques in a weekend project.

1. Sponging

1 Place dropcloths over any furniture and flooring space around the wall you plan to paint. Apply painter’s tape to the edge of the walls, around the windows and along the baseboards and crown molding, to protect the areas you will not paint.

2. Sponging

2 Pick two or three paint colors that match the colors and finishes present in the room you plan to paint. Choose colors that fall on the same color spectrum for a subtle finish or colors that complement each other on the color wheel for a bold statement. The colors should range from a lighter color to a darker to provide the depth you need to help create a textured appearance.

3. Sponging

3 Paint the entire wall in two coats of the color you want to slightly show through the faux-finish sponge technique. This color will provide the blank canvas of the faux finish; allow the base color to dry completely.

4. Sponging

4 Mix one part latex paint with three parts latex glaze in a paint can using a color different from the base coat of paint on the wall. Test the mixture on a piece of scrap wood to check the color saturation and add more glaze to the mixture for a lighter glaze color and more paint for a darker glaze. The glaze mixture should have the consistency of thick syrup.

5. Sponging

5 Put on a pair of gloves and pour the glaze mixture into a paint tray.

6. Sponging

6 Dip a damp, natural sea sponge into the glaze mixture and dab off the excess onto a piece of cardboard. You want the glaze to saturate but not drip off the sponge.

7. Sponging

7 Start at the top corner of the wall and begin dabbing the sponge onto the wall, slightly overlapping each sponge mark with the one before in a circular but uneven motion. The sponge produces a dimpled effect on the wall with the base color showing through.

8. Ragging

1 Prepare the wall and paint with a base coat using the same process as if you are using a sponging technique. Mix the glaze using the same ratios as the sponging application.

9. Ragging

2 Gather a fiber-free rag or cheesecloth into a ball. Dip the rag into the glaze and dab the excess glaze off onto a piece of cardboard.

10. Ragging

3 Dab the rag onto the wall using light pressure in a circular motion starting at the top, upper corner of the wall. Slightly overlap each dab with the dab before. Ragging on gives the appearance of lines and folds in the glaze, resembling crinkled paper or leather.

11. Ragging

4 Load the rag with more glaze as needed, and slightly adjust the ball of the rag to change the shape and add a different look or texture to the wall. Continue ragging on the glaze until you cover the wall.

12. Ragging

5 Apply a second color of glaze over the first if desired.

Items you will need

  • Dropcloth
  • Painter’s tape
  • Satin or semi-gloss latex paint in two or three colors
  • Paint tray
  • Foam roller
  • Latex glaze medium
  • Paint can
  • Paint stick
  • Scrap wood painted the same color as your base coat
  • Gloves
  • Natural sea sponge
  • Fiber-free rag or cheesecloth
  • Cardboard

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images