Positive & Negative Rag Rolling
Faux Paint Techniques

With rag rolling faux paint techniques, you use a twisted rag in a rolling motion up and down the wall to apply or remove glaze and create a faux finish effect.

example of rag rolling faux paint finish

Rag rolling faux paint techniques are more challenging and time consuming than regular rag painting. The pattern they create is also more controlled and linear.

This faux finishing method is moderately easy to execute - the hardest part of the technique is moving the rag down the wall with an even, steady stroke.

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • base coat in desired color

  • faux glaze in desired color

  • paint roller with 3/8" nap

  • 3-4" paint brush

  • paint tray

  • bucket of water

  • ragging cloths

  • painter's tape

  • latex gloves

Additive and Subtractive Rag Rolling
Faux Paint Techniques

Follow the instructions below after you have applied the base coat in desired color, and allowed it to dry - 1 day if rag rolling on, and 2 days if rag rolling off. For the subtractive method, the base coat must have a satin or semi-gloss sheen. Also, protect the surfaces that are not going te be painted (mask off trim, ceiling, etc).

NOTE: don't start painting until you read "Tips and Tricks of Ragging Faux Painting Finishes" first.

Additive Method Instructions:

additive rag rolling faux paint technique

1) Saturate a damp ragging cloth in glaze, and squeeze out the excess.

2) Fold a rag in half and twist it lengthwise, forming a long loose cylinder. Place the rag at the bottom of the wall, aligning one end with the corner. Using your fingertips, roll the rag up the wall, working your way to the ceiling. Make sure the rag does not extend beyond the leading edge.

Reload the rag every foot or so, not to create abrupt variations in the pattern's color.

3) Once you reach the top, re-load the rag if needed and start at the bottom again. Work your way up, trying to butt up the edge of the new section with the previous one (it's better to overlap a little than to leave a gap).

Continue working in this fashion until the entire wall is completed.

Subtractive Method Instructions:

You'll get better results with this faux paint technique with two people working side by side: one to roll on the glaze with a roller, and one to roll it off with a rag. But practice first - not only will this hone your skill, but it will show you how much area the glazer can cover without getting too far ahead of the rag roller.

subtractive rag rolling faux paint technique

1) Using a brush, cut in the first corner and for 9" along the ceiling and baseboard. Roll on 1 roller width of glaze onto the wall.

2) Fold and twist the rag to form a cylindrical shape. Starting at the bottom and using both hands, steadily roll the rag up the wall, picking up the glaze as you go.

When the rag stops removing glaze, retwist it to reveal a clean area. When it becomes saturated, switch to a clean one.

negative rag rolling faux paint finish

3) Cut in another 9" section along the ceiling and baseboard adjacent to the 1st section.

Again, roll on one roller width of glaze from top to bottom, and roll your rag up through the glaze, slightly overlapping the previously rolled section.

Repeat steps 1-3 for the entire wall.

TIP: to rag roll near the vertical corner at the end of the wall where a full size rag won't fit, cut your rag to the right size and make a small cylinder out of it.

The finished surface should have a linear pattern, almost like an informal watermark. Notice that you can see where one roll ends and the next begins.

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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