Dave's Faux Finish Page


This page is intended for those interested in finishing walls using a Faux Finish techniques--and, in particular, interested in leather-look finishes.
My house is a large one-story ranch built in 1977. As was true for most 70s houses, the woodwork is simple, and painted antique white in all rooms except in the Family room and in an office. All the walls had also been painted off-white with a flat latex and I was convinced that a faux finish would add some interest and highlight the mostly white woodwork.

The Navy Dining Room

My first experiment with faux finishing techniques was with the dining room an effort to do a navy blue leather look finish while keeping the trim off-white. I purchased a Ralph Lauren leather finish kit, the main item being an expensive stippling brush that alone retails for nearly $60, along with a gallon of their Hacienda blue and a gallon of the Ralph Lauren Canterbury Blue glaze. I followed the instructions carefully, even viewing their video,but I was dissatisfied with the results. The glaze seemed to have too much of a pigment in it that was nearly black, which left ugly black streaks on the walls. Unhappy with these results, I instead developed my own technique, but still using the leather-look stippling brush from Ralph Lauren but using Benjamin Moore (BM) premium Aqua-Velvet finish in the Eggshell gloss, and mixing my own glazes using the Benjamin Moore (BM) latex glaze as a base.

the steps were as follows: First, select two (or possibly three) colors that are very close together on the color charts--generally the lighter colors are at the top of each chart with the darker colors below. Use the darker of the two colors as your base coat, painting the entire room with the eggshell finish.

I used a lot of masking tape, and even used two inch wide blue masking tape to tape the ceilings in rooms that had no crown molding. This was to keep the paint off the white ceilings when the stippling is done,

Subsequently I made a third glaze for the Dining Room using about a cup of BM HC-156 paint mixed with about 2 quarts of the BM latex glaze. This was applied to the wall unevenly using a sea sponge in a randomly shaped area about 3 feet across, and immediately stippled with the RL brush. The photo above gives an indication of how the surface now looks. It turns out that the RL Canterbury blue (the glaze from the previous unacceptable effort was an excellent undercoat for the home made hacienda blue glaze. Here's another photo that further illustrate the technique.

Here the blue faux leather-look paint treatment contrasts with the solid cherry sideboard built in the 1950s by the Consider H. Willett Furniture Company in Louisville, KY.

information on the Consider H. Willett Company of Louisville Kentucky (particularly Wildwood cherry pieces) click here

The Den/Family Room

The next room to tackle was the den or family room. This is a large room of the Kitchen with a brick fireplace on one wall, and, like most 70s family rooms, it had originally been paneled with a dark cherry colored grooved paneling. Prior to my purchase of the house, the paneling grooves had been filled with drywall compound, and the room painted an antique white. The walls were uneven in poor shape, and traces of some of the grooves were still visible in spots. I debated about the need to redo the room with new drywall, but instead tried the faux finish technique. The results came out excellent I think. The faux finish effectively hides any unevenness in the old paneled walls.

The base or undercoat here was again Benjamin Moore Aqua Velvet Eggshell in a bronzy 90s green #1511. One gallon was enough to paint the large room. I then mixed about a quart of liquid glaze with a cup of each of the two lighter green on the BM paint chart #1509 and 1510, so I had two quarts of colored glaze of different colors. I again applied the glazes at the same time, using two different sea sponge, splotching them on randomly un an unevenly shaped area about 3 foot across and down, starting at the top of the wall and working down. Then all of this was stippled with the RL brush so that the glaze coat completely covered the base coat. The results are illustrated here.

The Living Room

Filled with the success from my family room experiment, I moved on to the living room. Unlike the Family room walls, the living room walls were drywalled and in very good shape. I chose a base coat in a camel eggshell BM # 1147 and painted the walls. The top coat glaze was made with about two quarts of glaze mixed with only a very small amount of the lighter color--less than a cup of BM #1146. Interestingly, 1146 is quite a bit lighter than 1147, The one color of glaze was applied with a sea sponge and stippled. in small sections. The glaze left randomly placed lines between the sections that look as lot like marble. This seems to happen particularly when there is very little color in the glaze. The overall effect is very nice (See below).

Entry Hall/Foyer

The Entry hall or Foyer was next. The color I chose is similar to the chairs in the Living room--variously called deep coral, cinnabar, or persimmon. The two colors--BM #1299 and BM 1298--are very close together,and the darker of the two was used as the base coat. The technique is very subtle with these two colors. Again, about a cup of 1298 was used per quart of glaze and the application technique was the same.


The Kitchen has hand painted "wallpaper" (hand painted by me) using colors from the adjacent den. The leaves and flowers are stenciled with rubber sponges, using lefty over glazes from the den. The flowers repeat the glaze color of the dining room. Finally, I added stems (free-handdrawn) and highlighted them with antique white trim paint.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

The hall bath was painted a deep mauvy red,BM 1265 and 1266 employing the exact same techniques, which contrasts sharply with the almond tile and fixtures. The half bath has a gray ceramic tile floor and was painted in a very fifties style rose (remember the fifties gray and rose!) BM 052 and 053.

The master bedroom and bath are in a peachy color-- BM 107 and 108--very subtle.

The Guest bedroom (bedroom 2) is in a very subdued beige

The exercise room (bedroom 3) is in a grayed blue-green

The half bath is a '50s Rose


Got questions or comments? E-mail me

Some Tables I built

I have been building some tables using tiles for tops. Here are some pictures.

The Gazebo Table

Here is a fun table for the gazebo I built. The table consists of a 2 x 2 foot sheet of 3/4 inch plywood. The legs are made of 24 inch long poplar 3 x 3s available at Home Depot precut. The plywood is simply screwed on to each leg with 3 inch long drywall type screws. The top is made from four pieces of Mexican Saltilo tile, available at Lowes for under a dollar each. These are glued to the plywood top with a tube of liquid nails. The trim that covers the plywood and tile edge is made of 1 x 4 half-sawn poplar,available at either Lowes or Home Depot. I mitered the corners for a neat look, and attached with finish nails. I put several coats of a clear polyurethane varnish on the tiles to make them water resistant, then grouted them with peach-colored grout. The table is stained with the Evergreen Cabot stain to match the gazebo. I will use the table indoors in the winter. Total cost was under $50, with the largest expense being the poplar legs, which were about $7 each. Have Fun!!!

A Pedestal Table

The pedestal table uses as its base a plaster pedestal. (I got mine at Wal Mart in the Crafts dept. for $11.96.) I then painted the pedestal uing left-over paint from my room painting. First the Pedestal was painted a base coat of Camel from the Living Room. This was topped with a glaze made using a mixture of Benjamin Moore latex glaze colored with a little bit of the Cinnebar (BM 1299). This was allowed to dry. The third coat is a tung oil-based colored varnish put on with a rag, and allowed to collect in the grooves. Then highlights were added using a gold wax antiquing glazer, applied here and there with a fingertim. Finally a coat of spray polyurthane was used to seal everything.

The top consists of a 12 x 12 inch square piece of medium density fiberboard--although 3/4 inch plywood could also be used. A stocm molding was added around the edge (From Home Depot) and a Slate tile (Lowes) was glued to the top with liquid nails. A thin strip of stock moldding around the top completes the table. These moldings were given the same painting treatment as the pedestal base. Finally, the top was glued to the pedestal base with liquid nails. This gives a nice table for drinks at armchair length.

End Tables

Here are a couple end tables I built using slate tiles (Lowes) and stock moldings. The top the first table is made of a 2 x 2 foot square of 3/4 inch plywood, trimmed with a stock molding, The frame is made of 1 x 2 poplar, painted with black enamel. The lower shelf is simple a grid of 1 x 2 poplar. Long screws are used to hold the joinmts together, and glue. The second end tanble is made of 2 1' x2' pieces of 3/4 inch plywood. The legs are made to fit outside the plywoof pieces, so the slate tiles fit exactly with no cutting needed. The top edge is made of half-sawn poplar stained, and a wood molding on top covers all the ends and joints.
Room Paint 
Dining Top Glaze BM HC-156
RL Glaze RL Canterberry Blue
Bottom Coat RL Hacienda Blue
½ Bath Top Glaze BM 052
½ Bath Under BM 053
Master Bedroom Bath Top Glaze BM 107
M. Bedroom Under BM 108
Guest Bedroom Top Glaze BM 1107
Guest Bedroom Under BM 1108
Living Room Top Glaze BM 1146
Living Room Under BM 1147
Hall Bath Top Glaze BM 1265
Hall Bath Under BM 1266
Entry Top Glaze BM 1298
Entry Under BM 1299
Family Room Top Glaze BM 1509
Family Room Middle BM 1510
Family Room Under BM 1511
Exercise Room (Bedroom 3) Top Glaze BM 716
Exercise Room Under BM 717
Utility Room (Laundry) Top Glaze BM 372
Utility Room Under BM 373