Unique Wall Painting Techniques for the DIY Homeowner

article image
If your kitchen walls leave you feeling blah and your bedroom could use a serious decor upgrade, consider looking into funky wall painting techniques as a new DIY home design project that won't cost you a fortune. In “100+ Paint Projects,” the editors of “Do It Yourself” magazine have collected several unique painting techniques that you can adapt to your home. Whether you’re looking for some wall-painting ideas or are trying to add a fresh life to furniture, you can save money and create a one-of-a-kind look with many of the ideas in this guidebook. 

Painting walls isn’t usually at the top of homeowners’ lists of exciting weekend activities. The wall-painting techniques in this excerpt, taken from 100+ Paint Projects (John Wiley & Sons, 2011) by the experts at Do It Yourself magazine, will inspire any DIY homeowner to reconsider painting walls as a worthwhile endeavor. This excerpt is taken from Chapter 3, “Paint Projects for Walls and Floors.”

From the Fridge 

Who knew veggies could be so much fun? In this design, you learn how to treat a section of wall with flower motifs created with heads of cabbage (see a finished application in the Image Gallery). Use a range of blues and keep things interesting by working with cabbages of various sizes. The natural moisture from the cabbage will add a watercolor look to this wall-painting technique. For a crisper image, roll with paint after each impression.

You’ll Need:

Latex paint in light and medium blue

Paint roller and tray

Painter’s tape

Sharp knife


Foam roller

1. Paint the wall light blue. Let dry. Use painter’s tape to section off a 3- to 4-foot vertical strip. 

2. Use a sharp knife to cut cabbage heads in half, getting a good chop so you end up with a flat surface for better stamping. 

3. Use a foam roller to apply medium blue paint to the cabbage (see Image Gallery). Firmly press the cabbage on the wall. Repeat with random placement, loading the cabbage with paint as desired and alternating with different-size cabbages (see the Image Gallery). For the leaf shapes, roll paint onto cabbage leaves and press on the wall. Let dry. 

4. Remove the painter’s tape. 

Tip: Test the stamp on a paper towel to view the impression and remove excess paint. If the cabbage “opens up” after cutting, press I on the wall and gently rotate it to get a good impression. Take a fresh cut if needed to flatten the surface.

Go With the Grain 

One little tool can have one big impact, and will help you create this easy-to-love, tone-on-tone wall-painting technique (see a finished application in the Image Gallery). Go modern with this nature-inspired pattern by using colors like this blue or even sunshiny yellow or raspberry red. The wood-grain tool comes in different widths, so you can get the look of wide or narrow planks. Or go crazy and try alternating the tool for varying plank widths. 

You’ll Need:

Painter’s tape

Latex paint in two shades of blue

Paint roller and tray

Glaze medium

Plastic container

Wood-grain tool

1. Mask the baseboard and chair rail with painter’s tape. Paint the wall the lighter blue color. 

2. In a plastic container, mix 4 parts glaze medium with 1 part medium blue paint. Working quickly and in 3-foot sections, roll the glaze mixture on the wall. 

3. Starting at the top of the wall, pull the wood-grain tool down the wall to create a plank, rocking up and down as you go. For the next plank, slightly overlap the first (see Image Gallery). 

4. Wipe excess glaze off the tool as needed and continue until the wall is complete. Remove the tape and let dry. 

Tip: The top coat color (which is mixed with the glaze) will appear more dominant in the pattern. Glaze extends the working time to about an hour, so if you’re not happy with the results, just brush on more glaze and start over.

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from 100+ Paint Projects, published by John Wiley & Sons, 2011.