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How to colour wash on walls

Colour wash is a painting technique that adds a thin layer of darker colour over a previously painted surface in the same colour group. Colour washing creates soft, muted tones that can dress up drab, plain walls. The technique involves mixing paint with scumble glaze; the glaze thins the paint and slows its drying time to make it easier to work with.


Wide masking tape
2 buckets
Plascon scumble glaze
Plascon Double Velvet, Wall & All satin or Polvin matt
Paint stirrer
Clean lint-free cloths or sea sponge
10cm paintbrush and softening brush






Before you start, move furniture away from the walls. You need to work quickly when applying colour wash, so move any obstacles out of the way. Cover the floor with a dropcloth. Mask off skirtings, door frames, window trim and ceiling edges with masking tape. Remove the cover plates of light switches and plug sockets.

Step 1
Paint the wall with your choice of basecoat and let this dry overnight. Typically, the basecoat is the lighter, so that this coat will be visible through the top coat without being too intense.

Step 2
Mix 5 parts scumble glaze to 1 part paint in a bucket. Combine the glaze and the paint by stirring the mixture with a paint stirrer until blended.

Step 3
For a soft, muted colourwash effect, make 'X' marks on the wall with the glaze mixture. After completing about a square metre, use a softening brush to blend and smooth the area that you have just painted.

For a more intense finish, use a sea sponge and softening brush as explained above.