Today, we’re dishing the skinny on our jeans. The ones on our walls, mind you. Denim and linen are great fabrics. Super classic, never go out of style textures. And the look can be easily transitioned to a wall! Now, when you hear “faux painting techniques” or “faux finish” it may bring a horrid distant memory of sponges to mind. Perhaps even popcorn ceilings that you stared up at from your bed in 1987. A bed that probably sat atop forest green plush wall to wall carpet. You probably laid there, in your Britches oversized rugby shirt, admiring those faux finishes while listening to Duran Duran on your walkman or boom box. Your hair was permed. Your jeans were pinchrolled. But you wore jeans, nonetheless. Sure, they may have been acid-washed…
faux painting techniques – denim.
but the point is, denim is a classic that has transcended time in our culture. And because of that, what better look to put on our walls? If you’re looking for something that won’t be out of style by next season, this is your answer.
And the best news of all, this denim faux finish is not hard a tough DIY, and it’s not expensive. Win, win, #winning. It’s a great way to add texture and depth to a space, on a small budget. *This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Please read our disclosure policy HERE.
There aren’t too many wall painting techniques, at least faux painting techniques, that I’d endorse. Linen and denim are the only two I really love and believe are pretty timeless. In another DIY blog post, we’ll talk about how to achieve a linen faux finish. But today is denim day.
Our family has moved 5 times in the past decade. And we’ve used this denim faux finish in each home. The first nursery we ever created, back in 2007 was painted denim. Here’s an oldie but goodie from my pre-blogging days…
I’m not kidding when I say EVERYONE who walks into a room we’ve painted denim thinks that it’s wallpaper on the walls. People have to touch it to believe it’s really not wallpaper. Denim wallpaper, or a navy grasscloth would set us back probably over a thousand dollars per room. This faux finish technique will run you a fraction of that cost. So let’s get into the DIY details!
supplies for denim faux technique
- Base paint, in desired color*, eggshell or semi-gloss sheen (Behr-Vermont Cream)
- Faux glaze **some are pre-mixed (Ralph Lauren) OR mix at home (Behr or clear Ralph Lauren)
- Desired top coat color, eggshell sheen. (To be mixed with glaze ONLY if not already pre-mixed). (Sherwin Williams-Indigo Batik)
- Nap and Roller
- Paint Tray
- Denim Weaver Brush (also available at Home Depot)
- Painters Tape (linked favorite size/brand)
- Paintbrush (for cutting in-linked my favorite size/type)
- Measuring Tape/Pencil
- Level (recommend 4ft)
- Clean, plastic paint pail (about 3 gallons) with lid (to save any remaining glaze/top coat mixture if you did NOT purchase a pre-mixed glaze)
- Clean rag(s) to wipe weaver brush on while weaving
*I have noted and linked the paint to the colors we used in our room in case you want those exact matches.
**Ralph Lauren faux glaze can be tinted for you at the store/pre-tinted/pre-mixed. You can also buy the clear glaze in Ralph Lauren’s brand, which will require mixing at home. Behr faux glaze will be mixed with the paint color of your choice at home. For Behr’s glaze, the proportion is 1 quart paint:1 gallon glaze.
denim faux finish how to:
1. paint base coat(s).
In our room, we chose Vermont Cream by Behr. It’s a light khaki/off-white color. We used an eggshell sheen. Ralph Lauren suggests using semi-gloss as the base coat, so choose whichever you prefer. Allow the base coat(s) to dry overnight before proceeding.
2. measure/tape off panels.
Math time. Yuck. Since this technique is achieved by painting sections of the wall individually, we need to figure out how large those panels will be. The panels are made to resemble fabric, so the width of each panel should be somewhere in the 24″-42″ range. The width of these panels may be slightly different from wall to wall, but should be the same on any given wall.
Example: In a room measuring 9′ x 10′:
9′ wall = 108″ / 36″ = 3 panels
10′ wall = 120″ / 24″ = 5 panels OR 120″ / 30″ = 4 panels
The room will look best/most cohesive if the sizes of the panels are as similar as possible, considering the overall dimensions of each wall. So in the above example, I would divide the 9′ walls into (3) 36″ panels, and divide the 10′ walls into (4) 30″ panels.
With your panel sizes calculated, it’s time to mark the panels and prepare to tape them off. For this step, you will need a measuring tape, pencil, and 4′ level.
*NOTE: Don’t forget to tape off your baseboards and crown moulding or ceiling as well around the entire perimeter of the room.
video tutorial: measuring/determining panels
Once your panels are taped off, it’s almost time to begin the glazing. A good thing to do before proceeding is to simply place some “X’s” using your painters tape, on EVERY OTHER section in your room. Because the process involves painting the sections in stages, this will help remind us to skip adjacent sections so we don’t make a mistake.
3. mix your glaze, if not pre-mixed.
If your glaze was not pre-tinted, now is the time to mix your chosen top coat (blue) color with your clear faux glaze. Different brands may have different recipes, so check the label/recommendation for the proper proportions for your brand. For Behr, which is what we used in this space, the recommended recipe was 1 quart paint : 1 gallon faux glaze. We mixed this in our clean, empty 3 gallon paint bucket with lid.
*NOTE: If your room is large, and you know it will require more than 1 gallon of paint/glaze to cover, it is best to pre-mix ALL your material at the same time to avoid any minor tint differences that would occur with multiple batches.
4. prep switches and sockets.
Remove covers to all light switches and sockets, then simply place painters tape over top of the plugs and switches. You will be glazing right over top of these, so make sure they are adequately covered with tape.
5. glaze and weave first panel.
With a standard paint roller and nap, choose your first panel, any panel. Paint the glaze onto the first panel. Do not just paint TO the tape on either side of the panel. Paint OVER the tape, in order to make sure that every millimeter of that panel is covered with glaze. DO NOT GET ANY PAINT ONTO THE ADJACENT PANELS! You will have to glaze relatively quickly because the weaving is done IMMEDIATELY after the glaze is applied.
*REPEAT: Glaze ONE and ONLY ONE panel at a time!!
A) HORIZONTAL SWIPES: Once the panel is completely covered in paint, grab your weaver. Starting at the top of that panel, do 2 side to side strokes at the top of panel. Push enough so that the bristles on the weaver brush bend slightly, and try to retain a consistent amount of pressure as you are weaving. Have your rag handy, because you will need to intermittently wipe the excess paint off your weaver brush as you go.
Continue this side to side brushing with the weaver down the entire length of the panel. Be sure to swipe ALL THE WAY TO THE TAPE ON EITHER SIDE. DO NOT END YOUR SWIPE BEFORE THE TAPE. If you do, you’ll see odd bristle marks on the panel…not good.
*NOTE: If you encounter a light switch or socket (which should now be covered in painters tape) BRUSH RIGHT OVER, DON’T STOP!!! If you stop at these obstructions, you will again have odd brush marks on your wall. Not good. Swipe right over top those suckers with your weaver brush.
B) VERTICAL SWIPES: Once the whole panel has been swiped side to side, you will continue using the weaver brush, and wipe the panel vertically. Start at the top of the panel, with weaver overlapping tape. Make one continuous swipe from top to bottom of the panel, trying to maintain as straight a line as possible. Use consistent pressure on the brush. Continue this process across the width of the panel. The last vertical swipe should overlap the tape on the other side of the panel.
video tutorial: glazing/weaving
6. SKIP one panel, and continue the glazing/weaving process.
DO NOT glaze the adjacent panel to the one you just completed. Instead, skip one panel, and continue the process above.
Now glaze and weave the 2nd panel, following the same procedure as described above in Step 5. Once the 2nd panel is complete, again skip one panel, and continue the glazing/weaving process around the room until every other panel has been glazed and wiped with the weaver. Allow 24 hours to dry. Your progress should look similar to the shot below at the end of day one.
7. remove tape, and re-tape to allow painting of the remaining panels.
Leaving baseboard/ceiling tape in place, go ahead and remove all the vertical panel taping from yesterday and discard.
Now, we’re going to re-tape those vertical panels in preparation for round 2 of painting/weaving. As we re-tape to paint the remaining panels, we are going to to pay attention to place the tape back from the edge of your painted line by about 1/8″ or so. This overlap of the fresh paint with the edge of the panels we painted yesterday is what creates the “fabric” look. You’ll just barely be able to see these “seams” or vertical lines we’re creating with the paint. If you want those seams to be more dramatic and pronounced, move your blue tape back even further to about 1/4″ or whatever your think will work best for the aesthetic you’re trying to create.
Take your time taping off the panels throughout that room, remembering to place the tape back slightly from that painted edge. It’s a bit time consuming to do it properly, but this step, done right, will really help your efforts turn out beautifully!
video tutorial: re-taping/glazing & weaving part 2
8. one panel at a time, glaze and weave remaining panels.
Round two of glazing and weaving is exactly like the first, now that we have our panels re-taped. One panel at a time, we glaze (all the way to those tape lines, and make sure you actually hit/overlap the painters tape a bit),
then weave our back and forth horizontal swipes, followed by one vertical swipe, ceiling toward floor.
Make sure to keep that rag handy again to clean off the excess paint from the weaving brush now and again. And remember to never stop a swipe until you’re atop the painters tape (for horizontal swipes) or on the baseboard/floor or ceiling (vertical swipes).
9. once paint it dry, remove remaining tape.
We’re done! Remove that tape, and take a look at your painted denim faux finish!!
We hope that you’ll enjoy this denim color paint as much as we do.
And if you’d like to check out more of Sweet Cheeks’ fishing/camping/outdoorsy adventure room, you can see it >> HERE <<
To see a similar faux finish, called “Linen”, check out these posts, from our other son’s room!
Not ready to take on this project right now? Then just pin it for later: