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Resene paint effects projects, project 06

Ragging may be soft or dramatic, depending on the colours chosen and the cloths used to create the effect.

Ragging - detail of water

Paint effects - ragging
See also - stenciling

Pastel colours used together give a soft, marble or crushed velvet finish while off-whites and creams are versatile bases to start from. Stronger colours work well together as long as they are close in value. Test your colour combinations on card first to make sure they work together. The effects finish will be affected by the type of cloth you use. Old sheets will give a soft, more subtle look and crisper fabrics, a harder edge. Cheesecloth will leave imprints of the weave and chamois leather will give a velvet finish. Ragging may help to disguise imperfections in the wall, such as uneven walls, odd angles and a less than perfect plastering job.

You will need

  • 100 –125mm brush
  • Cloths for ragging
  • Container for mixing glaze
  • Low-tack masking tape
  • Paint tray and roller

Project Tips

Prepare the cloths you will need for ragging. Tear the cloths to size rather than cutting them with scissors. This avoids small pieces of cut thread coming off and sticking to the paint. Make sure the cloths are washed and lint free.

Low sheen or satin paints are easiest to work with. A gloss finish has less key for stencilling.

Step back from the wall each time you finish a section, and look at the wall as a whole. Are there any areas that need adjusting? Maybe a little more ragging off to even the colour? If rolling the paint on, leave the tray back as far as possible so you can view the whole wall each time you load the roller.

Ask (or beg!) a friend to help you if you are working on a large area. Ragging is quite physical. With two working together, one can put the paint on while the other rags off. Don’t change jobs halfway through. Each person has their own style of ragging and the difference will show.

How to rag paint your wall

Step 1

Step 2

Step 1:  Prepare the walls and basecoat with two coats of Resene Lumbersider or Resene SpaceCote tinted to Resene Zumthor, allowing it to dry between coats. Measure about one metre up from the floor, and using a spirit level and pencil, mark a line around the room. Don’t assume the floor is level and use that to measure from as this is likely to give you an uneven line.

Step 2:  Mix up the effects finish:

The paint to medium ratio may be varied depending on the depth of colour or translucency you require. Paint for the ragging: 500ml should be sufficient to cover a room 3m x 4m. Brush or roll the glaze on. Working up to the masking tape, cover an area approximately one metre square. Work into an S-shaped edge and feather off the edges so that the next section will blend in more easily. Don’t stop until you have completed one whole wall as once the edge of the paint dries it is very difficult to blend the next section into it. Resene FX Paint Effects Medium gives a translucency to the paint but retains the body, allowing it to be applied to a vertical surface surface without dripping and running.

Step 1 - ragging paint technique
Step 3

Step 2 - ragrolling paint technique
Step 4

Step 3:  Hold the scrunched up rag loosely in your hand and press it onto the wall. Start by softening the edges. Each time you lift your hand off the wall, turn it slightly so that you avoid a repetitive pattern. Use both hands, passing the cloth from hand to hand. This changes the creases in the cloth after each press and is easier on the arms. Change the cloths when necessary. This takes a bit of practice, and don’t worry about small discrepancies as they will not be noticeable when the furniture is in place and you view the room as a whole. Move onto the next section, blending the edges back into the finished area. Work your way down and along the wall. Remove the masking tape.

Step 4:  Ragrolling is a different technique. Instead of scrunching up the cloth, roll it into a sausage shape and using both hands roll it across the glaze, either in one direction, up the wall, or randomly in all directions.


Resene paint effects projects, project 06a

Stencilling is an easy and attractive way to personalise pieces of furniture, fabrics or walls.

It is ideal for rustic, folksy style pieces such as boxes, chests and kitchen items. You may be as creative as your imagination will let you. Pre – cut stencils are readily available but you can cut your own designs on blank stencils, available from craft supply stores. You can use the whole stencil pattern or just take some of the elements from it. The Resene website includes a large range of simple children’s stencil designs for you to choose from.

Stencill a sailing ship mural

Paint effects - stencilling

You will need

  • Low-tack masking tape or re-positional spray stencil adhesive
  • Paper kitchen towels
  • Plate
  • Small round artist brush

Project tips

Test the stencil on card first. Try different colour combinations. Do the colours suit the design and is the design the right size relative to the area you are painting it on?

Testing also helps gauge the correct amount of paint to load onto the brush. Always stencil with a dry brush. The secret to good stencilling is not about the amount of paint you put on the brush, but the amount you take off. Don’t thin the paint with water.

View free stencil designs for children’s rooms...

How to use a stencil

Step 1
Step 1

Step 2
Step 2

Step 3
Step 3

Step 1:  Put a little Resene Spinnaker onto a plate. Position the stencil on the wall with masking tape or adhesive. Pick up a little paint on the brush and work it into the bristles by wiping back and forth on a paper towel. This prevents seepage under the stencil. In a pouncing motion apply colour to the stencil.

If you are stencilling on a wall, measure the length of the wall, divide that by the length of the stencil. Work out where it would be best to place the first stencil. You don’t want to get to the end of the wall and find you have to place a portion of the stencil on, where by doing a little bit of measuring at the start, you could have stretched the stencil out a little or placed it differently to start with for a more pleasing look.

Clean the stencil regularly during use to prevent paint build as this may clog the fine details.

Step 2:  You can use a small artist brush to fill in the bridges left by the stencil or you can leave them, this is up to you.

Step 3:  Apply the remaining colours. With the small artist brush you may add other finishing touches if you wish, such as a white stripe to the pennant at the top of the mast and a white star to the spinnaker.

Download this project as a PDF

Project by Janet Scard. Photography by Joseph Zou.

Other paint effects you might like to try

View more projects


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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