Faux Painting and Decorative Finishing Terms

A water-based plastic polymer that acts as the binder in acrylic paints.
Acrylic paint 
A water-soluble paint with a plastic polymer (acrylic) binder.
Acrylic varnish 
A coating that contains the same medium used to make water-soluble paints and glazes.
Any technique used to make a painted surface look old; usually refers to a thin glaze that is applied to a surface, allowing the undercoat to show through.
Artist's acrylics
Paints that contain pigments suspended in acrylic resin, similar to latex paint but of much higher quality.
Artist's oils
The tube or oil-stick paint associated with fine-art paintings. They consist of pigments suspended in linseed oil, and come in a wide range of saturated colors.
Base coat 
In decorative painting this is the solid color of either gloss or semi-gloss paint that shows underneath the glaze coat pattern.
A cord that is rubbed with or drawn through chalk and stretched taut between two points, just above a surface. It is pulled up in the center and released so that it snaps down, leaving a straight line marked on the surface between the end points.
A loosely woven, coarse cotton gauze used to create different textures as well as to blend and smooth wet paint over a surface.
Clear finish 
Any of a number of wood finishes that allow the wood grain and color to be seen.
Color washing 
The technique of applying layers of heavily thinned glaze to a surface to produce a faded, transparent wash of color.
Any paint technique that involves marking narrow lines of color on a surface. Also called "strié" or "dragging." Combing techniques that specifically intend to imitate wood are called wood-graining techniques.
Decorative Paint Finish
Paint process in which a semi-transparent glaze color is manipulated to create a pattern, which highlights a solid base color underneath.
Roughing up a surface before painting so that it has "tooth," a texture that grabs paint.
A technique that involves pulling a special long-bristled brush through wet paint or glaze to create fine lines or narrow stripes.
Dry brushing
Applying paint to your brush or sponge and removing most of it by wiping or pouncing it on a piece of paper or rag before applying it to your surface. 
Drying Time 
The time that it takes for a primer-sealer to completely dry. Different types of wall conditions, adhesive viscosity and humidity levels will affect the drying period. Some conditions may cause the drying to take longer, such as high humidity and a nonporous wall surface.
Also known as wallboard or gypsum board, a paper covered panel of compressed gypsum used as the primary wall covering in almost all homes. It can be finished to look like a plaster wall or used to support other wallcoverings. 
Paint with finely ground pigments and a high binder content so that it dries to a hard gloss or semi-gloss finish. 
The French word for "false." With regard to painting finishes, it is used to describe any technique in which paint is manipulated on a surface to imitate the appearance of another substance, such as wood or stone.
Faux finish 
A decorative paint technique that imitates a pattern found in nature, such as marble or wood.
Faux painting 
Various painting techniques that mimic wood, marble and other stones.
A paint or colorant mixed with a transparent medium and possibly diluted with a thinner compatible with the medium.
A shiny finish that reflects the maximum amount of light.
Glossy finish 
The appearance of sheen after a paint or finish dries.
The direction and arrangement of wood fibers in a piece of wood. Grain reflects the growth-ring pattern in the tree. The grain will look different in different woods and as a result of different sawing techniques.
A measure of the roughness of an abrasive paper. The lower the figure given for the grit size, the coarser the paper.
Inside corners 
A corner formed when two walls join facing each other, usually at a 90-degree angle.
A clear or colored finish material that dries to a hard, glossy finish. Usually applied with a sprayer, lacquer dries too quickly for smooth application with a brush, unless it is specially formulated.
Latex Glaze or Extender
A glaze created specially for use with latex paint, which acts as the binder. The glaze changes the properties of the latex paint, making it more translucent and allowing for "open-time" while manipulating the paint/glaze mixture to create the desired effect.
Latex paint 
Paint that contains either acrylic or vinyl resins or a combination of the two. High-quality latex paints contain 100-percent acrylic resin. Latex paint is water-soluble and dries quickly.
Layout  (Snapped) lines 
Chalk guidelines places on the surface using a chalkbox. Commonly referred to as "snapping chalk lines". Can be use to assist in accurately placed stencil patterns, etc.
Lining brush 
A thin, flexible, long-bristled brush used for fine lining and detail work. 
Matte finish 
A refinement or finish on the decorative surface that has very little shine or light reflection; a dull finish.
One one-thousandth of an inch; the measurement used to gauge the thickness of stencils.
A trademarked name for a strong but thin polyester film used for stencils.
Natural bristles 
Also called "china bristles." Brush bristles from animal hair (usually hog). Use this type for oil-based paint only.
Negative stenciling 
Creating an image or a motif on a surface, often in a repeated pattern, by applying a form and then painting around it. The shape of the image remains on the surface after the form is removed.
Oil paint 
Type of paint that uses either natural oil (such as linseed oil) or a synthetic oil (called alkyd) as the spreading and adhering vehicle. Alkyd paints are the most prevalent oil paint. Oil-based paint requires mineral spirits or turpentine to clean and thin.
Open time 
The amount of time that a glaze finish remains ìopenî or workable.
Orange-peel finish 
A textured finish created by applying watered-down joint compound with an airless sprayer.
Outside corner 
A corner formed when two walls join, facing away from each other, usually at a 90-degree angle.
A pigmented opaque material that completely covers and hides the surface to which it is applied. Paint is available in oil-based and water-based formulas.
The overall effect of the aging process on wood or a finish, generally characterized by a muting of the colors and a satin finish.
Paint failure where paint falls off the surface. Peeling is caused by moisture problems and expansion of the painted surface.
The substances that give paint color. Pigments are derived from natural or synthetic materials that have been ground into fine powders.
Pouncing method 
Holding a brush, or sponge perpendicular to the item being stenciled and bouncing it against the object to apply the paint.
A painting technique that uses a crumbled piece of cloth to apply or remove small amounts of wet paint to create a pattern or texture.
Registration marks 
Small holes cut into a stencil with more than one layer, which allow you to match up the different layers.
Roller marks 
Ridges that result from excess pressure on a roller during the application of paints or adhesives.
Sanding block 
A padded wood block around which a piece of sandpaper is wrapped for hand-sanding a surface.
Sanding sealer 
A thinned shellac or other lightweight clear finish applied to wood to prevent the raising of wood grain by stain, filler or final finish material.
Sanding sponge 
Fine-grained (120-grit or finer) polyurethane block sponge used to sand drywall. Also makes a good stencil-cleaning tool.
A coated abrasive (usually flint, garnet or aluminum oxide) glued to a paper, cloth or plastic backing. It is used for smoothing or polishing woods.
Scumble Glaze
This refers to a water-based glaze medium that is completely translucent. It is tinted with the addition of colorants, acrylic paints, or universal tints. Traditionally used for true faux finishes, such as marbling and wood graining, it is now commonly used for wall finishes and antiquing and toning glazes as well. Creates a more sheer, translucent, luminous look that latex glazes.
Sea sponge 
The fibrous connective structure of a sea creature, used to apply and remove paint.
A product (for example, shellac) that seals porous surfaces by forming a durable, non-absorbent barrier that prevents them from sucking up paint.
Semi-gloss finish 
These paints have a hard, slightly gloss finish that is light reflective, somewhere between gloss and eggshell.
The degree of gloss apparent  in dried paint surface. Sheen ranges from flat to high gloss.
A natural resin secreted from the lac bug that inhabits certain trees native to India and Thailand. Shellac is the only natural resin still widely used as a finish.
The technique of creating a very thin, paint-like layer with joint compound or plaster by troweling on very thinly and tightly, using a hard pressure on the trowel.
A liquid capable of dissolving another substance (such as mineral spirits for alkyd paint and water for latex paint).
A trademarked name for joint compound.
Spackling compound 
A  powdery substance that mixes with water and is used to cover seams and nail holes in plaster and gypsum wallboard.
Spray Adhesive 
Adhesive that comes in a spray can and is used to adhere stencils to the object intended for stenciling.  Stays permanently tacky, similar to a post-it note.
The technique of applying random dots of paint over a surface by striking a saturated brush or rubbing paint through a screen.
The use of a natural sea sponge, or synthetic sponge with ripped edges, dipped in colored glaze to apply decorative finish on a solid base coat.
Any of various forms of water- or oil-based coloring agents, transparent or opaque, designed to penetrate the surface of wood.
A pattern that is cut from a semi-rigid surface, most commonly mylar, that allows you to paint the same motif over and over. Complex stencils will have several overlapping patterns, and different elements of the design are applied in layers.
A paint technique that involves pouncing a special brush straight up and down over a surface, creating myriad tiny dots that blend together when viewed from a distance. Similar to the fine-art technique known as pointillism.
Stippling brush 
A blocky, natural-bristled brush used to stipple wet paints, glazes and top coats.
A mixture of cement, lime and sand that is used to plaster exterior walls.
Also spelled Strié, this decorative finish requires dragging a tool, such as a comb, brush, cheesecloth, or steel wool, through a wet glaze finish to create a pattern of fine, parallel lines.
Taping compound 
A drying-type joint compound used for the first coat or, tape-embedding coat.
Texturing compounds 
Substances that go into paints where a rough, grained or dimensional quality is desired.
A liquid that is mixed with paint to make it less thick. Mineral spirits may be used for alkyd paints and water for latex paint.
Trompe l'oeil 
French for "fool the eye," used to describe a painted surface that convincingly mimics reality.
Universal tints 
Pigments that are combined with ethylene glycol and a small amount of water. They are usable in both water- and alkyd-based paints and glaze mediums.
The traditional top-coat used in decorative painting, consisting of an oil-based paint with a solvent and an oxidizing or evaporating binder, which leaves behind a thin, hard film.
Vertical working lines 
Marked lines based on plumb, true, verticals; used as guides for laying vertical courses of tile on a wall.
Wall preparation 
The various techniques used to prepare a wall surface for stenciling or faux finishing. Includes surface pattern removal, sanding and washing walls, spackling, removing fixtures and priming and painting.
A thinned-out latex or acrylic paint.
Wood graining 
A painting technique that seeks to resemble wood by imitating the lines found in cut lumber.
Wood stain 
A translucent combination of solvent (either water- or alkyd-based) and pigment, usually in colors imitating natural wood,  which allows some of the wood's natural color and its grain to show through. 

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.