How Do You Rag Paint a Wall?

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated October 23, 2017)


Faux painting is becoming more and more popular as the years go by, and one of the more popular methods is rag painting. While you can always hire someone to do the work for you, there is nothing that says you can't do the work yourself/ But how do you rag paint a wall, you might be asking. The answer is that it is really rather simple. All you need to do is gather together a few supplies, and then follow these instructions.

Items Needed:

  • At least three colors of paint
  • Lots of clean rags
  • Latex (or other disposable) gloves
  • Paint rollers
  • Paint tray
  • Drop cloth
  • Small painting brush
  • Painting tape


  1. Choose the colors. The first step in rag painting your walls is to choose the colors that you will be using. Typically, to do an effective job of you will at least two different colors, but three aer often used to create a really dramatic look. In order to make the project look as fantastic as possible, choose colors that are shades of each other. Make sure that you get enough of whatever color you have as the base to be painted on as normal.
  2. Choose your location. Chances are you have already chosen the location that you want painted prior to choosing the paint, but if not you need to choose one now. It can be either a single wall or an entire room. It all really depends on the look you are going for.
  3. Prep the area. Begin prepping the area you will be working on. This means that you need to either tape off electrical outlets, or remove the covers and tape off the plugs, tape any trim or edges that you don't want painted, and tape off window sills and around the window glass. This is all to protect anything that you don't want painted. Don't forget to lay out the drop cloth as well.
  4. Paint the base coat. Paint the wall with your initial coat of paint. Use a color that you don't mind being a strong one, since even with the rag rolling, you will see a lot of this color throughout the wall or room. Start at one side of the wall, on one side of the room, and paint as you normally would with a paint roller. To get close to the edges of doorways, corners, and around windows use one of the smaller brushes to cut in. Allow your paint to completely dry before you proceed to the second coat.
  5. Paint the second coat. Put on some disposable rubber or latex gloves to help protect your hands from the paint that they will be handling. Grab a clean dry rag, and then dip it into the color of paint you want to go on as a second coat. Wring out the rag so that it is still moist, but not dripping wet, and then bunch it up loosely in your hand. Beginning in one corner of the room or wall, dab the paint along the wall. This will create some rather interesting patterns. Continue along the wall (and around the room if you are doing that) until you have covered everything.
  6. Repeat as needed. Let the paint completely dry before you continue on. Repeat the process as many times as necessary until you have used all the colors that you wish. Typically, the most dominant color should be saved until last to help bring everything together.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is 1 - 0?

2012-06-18 16:09:53


I have seen a variation of this where a single color of thick paint (it is a special paint) is applied to the wall, over the dry base coat. Then it is covered with a sort of wrinkly saran wrap like plastic. This puts all kinds of random patterns onto the paint. The plastic is allowed on for something like 1/2 hour, then peeled off, as the paint has started to set but is not yet dry. Then the paint is allowed to dry and you can get some very nice "sculpted" patterns.