A painting sponge project or the process of using a sponge to apply paint to a surfaces is one the easiest and fastest faux finishing techniques one can try.

Sponge painting is usually the first faux finish people use. Also, do to the sponge leaving a textured look, defects from poor mudding or torn painted over wallpaper can tend to be hidden.

When done properly, a painting sponge finish, can leave your room looking well designed and elegant.

With a little help from below, other web sites, the library and book stores, you should in no time be be a sponge painting expert.


Prior to doing your painting sponge job, spray two (3' X 3' ft) pieces of cardboard with a stain blocker (primer/sealer).

When the boards are dry, brush or roll both sides of each board with your chosen base colors (light color on one board, dark on the other).

Push sewing pins or strong tooth picks threw the corners. The pins will act as legs letting air flow past the upper and lower surfaces.

Once the boards are dry, use the process below, to sponge the boards. Glaze, added to your paint helps the paint dry slower, and gives a more professional look, so, if you need the extra time and your on the picky side (like me), go ahead and buy a quart.

Otherwise, just dilute your accent base with a little water. Start with a cup of water, add a half cup of paint (2 to 1 and 4 to 1 are the usual sponging solutions).

If your using glaze, follow the directions on the can. Keep diluting and dabbing to find the effect your looking for. Apply successive dark to light or light to dark accent colors that have different dilutions.

Keep track of the shades and techniques you use. A painted piece of cardboard won't look the same as an entire room.

Even so, you'll get an idea of which combination of paints, and glaze or water, you like the best.

When painting sponge onto your walls, regularly step back a few feet, to have a look at your handy work. Having a good look at the big picture, will help in deciding how far apart your sponge painting pattern needs to be.


Choosing (color) is the most difficult part of any painting job. When dong a painting sponge project you need at least one, if not two accents layered over the base coat.

Deciding to go with more than one color would be my recommendation. Try and stick with tones, hues and shades that complement each other.

A good tip would be to choose colors that are in the room or of the same color family. Use the drapes a painting or a throw pillows for example. Try to select an item you can cart off to the paint store.

Once your at the paint store, have them help you color match to the item you brought with you.

After finding a few complementary colors you like, use one or two the tones or shades as accents for the walls your sponging.

Contrasting colors can also be used. For color selection advice use this interior color selection link , to assist you. If you've always wanted to try a darker color, a painting sponge project will give you the chance to do so.

Dark blue for example can be toned down with a medium then lighter blues sponged onto the dark blue until you get the desired effect you want.

Going from a lighter base color to darker ones will give you a different look, try and do a test board before proceeding.


EST TIME: 300 Sq Ft of painting sponge wall area per hour (2 Coats)

TOOLS: Drywall knife, caulk/gun, brush/can, roller/cage/pole, tray/liner, drop cloths, pencil, measuring tape, two 2Ft by 2Ft sheets of thick cardboard, sewing pins, sponge for walls.

PRODUCTS: Drywall mud, caulking, tray liners, tape, plastic, spray can of stain blocker, cotton rag, rubber gloves.

PAINT: Primer/sealer, complementing paint, glaze.

The amount of paint needed for your painting sponge job, depends on the size of the room being painted.

COST: $50.00 to $100.00 (not including tools) to do 80 to 100 Sq Ft wall area.


If your walls are in good shape, you can begin your sponge painting project right away. Walls that need holes filled or cracks caulked should be repaired before you apply your base coat.

Refer to the painting basics , page for those who want a little help getting your walls fixed or just putting the paint on the walls.

To save time, I suggest applying your painting sponge technique to the bottom half of a room. Use a wallpaper or chair rail border as a divider, see the borders page , if needed.

Set up and cover the room with plastic and drop cloths. If your only sponging one or two walls in a room, tape off the corner walls and ceilings (2" wide tape is best) that you don’t want to get paint on.

A sea sponge is usually used for most painting sponge techniques but a kitchen sponge will work fine if it has large enough holes in it.

The accented paint effect, is created when flatter areas of the wet sponge, touch the surface and the holes or divots in the sponge do not.

Be sure to have a tray and sponge for each accent color you will be using.

With the instructions that follow, I'm starting from dark to light, if you prefer light to dark, reverse the procedure.


Once the walls have been painted with your base color, measure and mark at the corners (pencil) three or so feet from the floor up, if your doing a border.
Using the pencil marks, place ("2 wide) painters tape line horizontally through the middle of each wall to be sponged.

Tape off any areas you do not want paint on. Use rubber gloves and dab a small damp sponge (1"to "2 sq) into your first water or glaze and color mixture.

Blot the sponge onto a rag if you need to remove excess paint from the painting sponge. Use the sponge to cut in the corners or up to a taped off area like the ceilings for example, or the lower part next to a windows and doors.

Apply a light touch, rotate then lift or touch and lift. If there are tight areas dab with an artists brush.
Not cutting in with the sponge first, will give you bare areas and a picture frame effect.

Proceed to the walls using a larger sponge. Don’t submerge the sponge in paint. By using the painting sponge finish on the test boards you will have already established a good technique.

Work in a one square yard area, spacing out your dabs randomly. The first dab has more paint than the last, try not to put a dipped sponge with the same amount of paint in the same area.

Don’t bunch dabs to close together, leave room for the next coat of accent color. If your doing the lower part of an entire room, do be sure to sponge opposite walls.

Glazed accents dry fast, so you can do the wall on the other side of the room without messing up wet corners.

Errors can be corrected, by using a clean piece of sponge and dabbing on the base coat then follow up with your accents. When each color is dry, apply the next color in the same manner.

Painting sponge projects requires applying successive layers of diluted tones, hues and shades, allowing the base coat to show threw.


As I mentioned above sponge painting is one of the fastest and easyest faux finish projects to try. For the best results, use quality tools.

Purdy and Wooster are are two of the top suppliers of painting products. Purdy makes a natural sea sponge and Wooster carries the more enviromentaly friendly synthetic sponge for those who are your looking for an excellent glaze try out "The Paint Stores" scumble.

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